Chances are that you’re reading this post because you or someone you know has somehow lost their domain name and trying to exhaust all options to reclaim it in an expeditious manner.

Not easy, huh?

Reclaiming stolen or lost domain namesWhether a premium domain name, exact match domain, or brandable domain, it goes without saying that domain names are a crucial and mission-critical asset to any business or person and must be valued as such.

That’s why it’s extremely important no business owner or person can ever afford to allow their domain names to be lost, stolen, or expire under any circumstance.

It’s like losing oceanfront property or prime real estate in Times Square.

And once domains are lost, reclaiming lost domain names can be a very costly experience and nearly impossible.

But not to despair, you do have a few options and steps you can take to try to reclaim lost domain names.

I say try only because there is no guarantee that lost domain names can ever be reclaimed.

Identify, locate, and contact the new domain owner.

First things first, try contacting the lost domain’s new owner using DomainTools or WHOIS services.  These services can help to identify, locate, and contact the owner.

Seeing the domain owner has not purchased domain privacy services, either service will provide you with the new domain owner’s contact information (i.e., first and last name, email address, and phone number.

If the domain owner has enabled domain privacy services, trying to communicate with them to reclaim lost domain names will be a challenge. But hey, there’s no harm in trying, right?

Be ready to prove previous and recent ownership of the lost domain.

I’ve been contacted by individuals about reclaiming lost domain names.  They were able to prove the legitimacy of previous ownership without a shadow of a doubt.  In return, I transfer the domain at cost or no cost if under a certain amount.

But I’ve also had people try to get over on me with a sob story of how they lost a domain that was never theirs. In short, they are essentially trying to steal the domain from me.

Nevertheless, contact the new domain owner to explain your situation of how the domain was lost. But don’t count the new owner rolling over and just handing over the domain because of your story.  Always make a reasonable, market-driven offer when contacting a domain owner. Understand their asking price may not be cheap at all.

Most honest domainers aim to work a reasonably priced deal of some sort with you.  You may have to legitimately prove previous ownership of the lost domain name(s) that are in question. In some cases, domainers gladly return lost domain names to you at no cost but don’t count on it.

See, if the new owner of the lost domain has paid money using either a backorder service or bought the domain name via an expired domain auction, then you may very well have to pay the new domain owner the amount that they paid for the lost or expired domain name.

This reason alone makes reclaiming lost domain names a very costly experience.

Contact the domain registrar or participate in an expired domain auction.

Most domain registrars offer a 20-30 day period for domains that are expired before placing them into an auction. Note that the rules between domain name registrars may vary when it comes to reclaiming lost domain names.

If less than 20 days after the domain’s expiration date, try contacting the domain registrar.  They often offer assistance to reclaim and renew the lost domain name.

However, the cost of reclaiming the lost domain will not be at the annual renewal rate, so expect to pay roughly around $100 or so to reclaim the lost domain name.

If the domain has gone to auction, you’ll have to participate in the expired domain auction. Get ready to hope and pray to outbid others at a reasonable price, not outside your budget.

Here are a couple of tips to lessen the opportunity of losing domain names.

If the domain registrar you’ve chosen offers domain auto-renewal services, please take full advantage of the service.  That way, when domains don’t auto-renew for a reason outside of your control, then you’ll have a leg to stand on when contacting the domain registrar.

If you have email notifications enabled on your account, then you’ll also receive multiple domain expiration emails. So, be sure to check your inbox and spam folder.

Personally speaking, if a domain expires because of disabled notifications, then you definitely don’t deserve the domain name. You don’t have to agree with me.

Another situation for contacting the domain registrar is reclaiming lost domain names that are stolen. I’ve never experienced this, nor do I care too.  Stolen domain retrieval can be quite costly.  In some cases, domain names are never reclaimed and are lost forever.

However, I will add and highly suggest that you perform the following to keep safe:

Try a broker or back-ordering services to reclaim lost domain names.

Domain registrars often offer a paid service called back-ordering.  This service notifies individuals when a lost domain or any domain becomes available for registration. Backordering services are not cheap at all.  They also don’t guarantee the reclaiming of ownership of lost domain names.

In some cases, the current registrant might renew the domain name.  In others, domain registrars are unsuccessful in registering and reclaiming the lost domain name on your behalf. Back-ordering is a good method to retrieve an expired domain name.

Another method of trying to reclaim lost domain names is using domain broker services offered by GoDaddy, Sedo, Afternic, and Media Options, to name a few.

Hiring a broker to reclaim a lost domain name can be quite expensive, too, because you will typically pay a commission to the broker as well as a premium rate for the domain name.

Hiring brokers are not a slam dunk guarantee either because your hope will lie in their ability to charm the socks of the new domain owner to reclaim the lost domain name at a price you can afford.

Both services are an option, and are possible to deliver your lost domain name, but again, there are no guarantees.

In closing, these are just a few steps to take in hopes of reclaiming lost or stolen domain names.

The best approach is not to lose the domain name, to begin with.  However, that’s always 20/20 when looking back after the fact.

Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.