This rant is the 6th installment of the Rant On... series, which will be featured regularly - by which I mean whenever I feel like ranting. Post any suggestions for future rants in the comments.This rant is inspired by 2 domains I have been interested in for some time now. Anyone that's been looking for a domain (something like www.mywebsite.com) knows how painful it can be if the name you want is already taken. And unless you're going for some totally bizzare name like www.kdlsjfsdak.com, odds are good the site you want is already taken. Why are so many sites taken? It's not actually all just website owners. Major domain registrars hold on to thousands of domains and try to sell them to you. Until someone buys them, they sit unused. But if you want one, you could have to pay hundreds of dollars to get it. Basically the whole thing is a free market where the domain is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. And the domain registrars are going to hold out to get the best price for the domain.
For the 2 domains I have been interested in, one expired recently. It would seem that since it expired, I should be able to get it, but it's not that simple. There's first a grace period (30 days) where the original owner can renew the domain. Then there's an additional 45 days that the registrar is allowed to hold on to the domain, allowing them to try to auction it to the highest bidder. If the domain you're eyeing survives all of this, it finally gets released to the public.
So you can finally get it, right? Ok, that was rhetorical. The answer is no, or I wouldn't be ranting about this because that would have been logical and meant that I just had to be patient for 75 days. But it gets better. The big registrars are constantly looking for dropped domain names, so they can buy them the second they become available to add to their domain portfolio and hold onto until they get a huge asking price for it. The more popular the domain, the more companies that are fighting to get the domain the second it expires. And these large companies have more resources than you or I, so we're SOL. Unless you pay a company that engages in this desparate grabbing. But since they're not the only ones doing it, there's no guarantee they can get what you want. Sweet. The second domain I want it one which is owned by one of these large companies, and they're asking for hundreds of dollars, so I get to watch it sit there unused.
I suppose if you have a boatload of cash or are trying to get a lucrative domain for a business this whole thing won't really bother you much, but for the individuals trying to grab domains, it's a huge pain in the ass. On top of which the procedures change frequently...the 45 days of holding by a registrar was a recent change.