Domain Expiration Date
So what, exactly, goes into acquiring an expiring domain name? There's no doubt that acquiring a good domain name that's on its way out the door can be a brilliant entrepreneurial maneuver, but is it really as simple as just finding a domain that will be expiring soon and picking it up for a price? Unfortunately, things aren't quite that simple, but luckily they aren't really much more complicated than that.
See, a domain's expiration date is really more of a guideline for when the domain will expire as opposed to a hard fact. Generally, whoever the domain is registered to has a grace period to renew their domain name, even after the expiration date. So what action can you, as an intrigued consumer, do to make sure that you have a chance at the domain? Well, if the original owner picks the domain up during the grace period, absolutely nothing. However, all is not lost.
When a domain becomes "expired" it enters a limbo of sorts. The original owner has a chance to pick up the domain, but what if the original owner doesn't exercise this right? Well, during the grace period in which the original owner can renew, other interested parties have the option to back order the domain. This is basically just a way for an interested party to let the party hosting the domain know that they are interested in making a purchase. This, however, is not actually a purchase and is completely non-exclusive; other parties interested in the domain name also have the right to make a back order. If more than one party makes a back order the domain goes to auction if the parties are still interested.
So what does this mean? Basically, if you see a domain that will be expiring soon and you are interested in acquiring it, wait until the expiration date and make a back order. If the original owner of the domain does not renew the domain, you, having placed a back order, will most likely have some sort of purchase option. There may be a bit of competition for the domain name, but if the domain is attached to some desirable features (such as page rank) then there is definitely an advantage to purchasing a previously registered domain name. Do your research about the domain name before you proceed too far, but under some circumstances it can be significantly cheaper to invest in an expired domain than to build one from scratch.