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?
Whether 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 ocean front 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
One of first actions to take when reclaiming lost domain names is to try to contact the new 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, it’ll be a challenge to try to communicate with them to reclaim lost domain names.
But hey, there’s no harm in trying, right?
When I’ve been contacted by individuals trying to reclaim lost domain names and able to prove the legitimacy of previous ownership without a shadow of doubt, I typically give them the domain at cost or no cost if under a certain amount.
But I’ve also had people try to get over on me to with a sob story of how they lost a domain that was never theirs to begin with.
In short, they are essentially trying to steal the domain from me.
I do recommend that you contact the new owner of the domain and explain your situation of how you lost the domain and are trying to reclaim it.
But don’t count the new owner rolling over and just handing over domain because of your story.
Do make an offer when you contact the new domain owner, and understand their asking price may not be cheap at all.
But most honest domainers will work a reasonably priced deal of some sort with you if you can prove the previous ownership of the lost domain names.
In some cases, they’ll 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 is why reclaiming lost domain names can be 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 it is less than 20 days after the expiration date, I suggest you contact the company you registered the domain with to reclaim and renew your 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, hoping and praying that you outbid others at a reasonable price not outside your budget.
Here’s a couple of tips to lessen the opportunity of losing domain names.
If the company you registered the domain name offers auto renewals, I suggest that you take full advantage of the service.
Should you do so, then 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 should definitely receive multiple domain expiration emails, so check your inbox and spam folder.
Personally speaking, if you don’t recognize that a domain has expired in 30-45 days after the fact, 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 to do I care too, but it too can be costly and you may never reclaim lost domain names, ever.
However, I will add and highly suggest that you perform the following to keep safe:
- enable security questions
- frequently change passwords
- make use of security pins
- enable two-step and any other authorization/authentication services
- Read how domains and accounts are stolen
Try a broker or backordering services to reclaim lost domain names
Often domain registrars offer a paid service that allows individuals an opportunity to register and be notified when a lost domain or any domain becomes available for registration.
Backordering services are not cheap nor are they guaranteed to reclaim lost domain names.
The current registrant might renew the domain name, or domain registrars might be unsuccessful in their attempt to register and reclaim the lost domain name for you.
Nevertheless, backordering is still considered to be one of the best ways of getting back the domain name which registration has already lapsed.
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 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 possible to deliver your lost domain name, but again, there are no guarantees.