A Primer on .CO Renewals, Expirations and Drops

As we hit our 1-year anniversary for .CO, many people have been asking about the renewal process and what happens to their .CO domains after expiration.  The first thing to know is that every registrar handles renewals and expirations a little bit differently – so it is critical to consult with your registrar of choice to understand the ins and outs of the policies and procedures that may apply to you.

When you register a .CO domain name, it is for a term of anywhere between one and five years.  If it is a domain name you are committed to building a business, brand or blog on – or a long term investment – do yourself a big favor — renew your domain names before they expire.  You will save yourself a good deal of time, hassle and expense with just a little advance planning.  The best thing you can do is to use your registrar’s auto-renew function to be sure your domain names are renewed before they expire.

Now let’s assume you didn’t take my advice, and you get a notice from your registrar that your favorite .CO domain name has “expired.”  Does that mean you lost the name forever?  Or is there still some way you can change your mind and get the name back if you want it?

Currently, once a domain “expires” it goes into what we call a “Suspension status” and registrars have up to 45 days to either renew or delete the domain.  During this Suspension status, registrars will make various attempts with the domains, depending on their services and policies, in order to either keep the domain registered with the current party or sell it to a new person or company to use. 

Typically, all registrars will allow the domain names to be renewed, some will try to get other people to buy them, and some may even auction the domain to a highest bidder.   If a registrar cannot get the current customer to renew their domain or has not re-sold the domain; the registrar will officially delete the domain. 

Deletions & Drops
Basically, a .CO domain will drop from the registry anywhere from 20 to 65 days after its expiration (expiration dates can be checked at www.whois.co).  The reason for this large date range is that the domain’s drop depends on when the domain is deleted by the Registrar during the 45 day Suspension status. 

A common misunderstanding is the thought that a deleted domain is immediately available again for registration.  Once a domain is deleted, it will enter a Redemption Grace Period (RGP) which lasts 20 days.  For the first 15 days, a domain can still be renewed (restorable) and then the final 5 days the domain cannot be renewed (non-restorable).

Your registrar might offer the option to renew domains for a fee during that first 15 days, but some may not – you should check with your registrar directly for their policies.  After the 5 day non-restorable RGP phase, a domain is fully expired or “dropped” from the registry and now available for re-registration.

Drop-Catching & The .CO Reservation System
As part of our ongoing effort to make the domain market more dynamic, we recently introduced a set of new features that will allow .CO Accredited Registrars to reserve an expiring .CO domain name 5 days prior to its official drop from the Registry.  The purpose of these new features is to allow an active .CO domain drop market and to provide more choices for people to buy .CO web addresses through a reservation system. The reservation system is available as of yesterday — August 3, 2011.

With other Top-Level Domains (.com, .net, .org, etc.), many people and companies will place a “backorder” on a domain that is about to drop so that they can be the next person to register the domain.  Registrars then attempt to “catch” a domain in the initial milliseconds of its expiration drop from a registry in order to secure it for their customers.  Some registrars take multiple “backorders” and then auction the domain while other registrars take one order per name – but there are potentially many registrars taking an order for the same name.  This is the “Drop-Catch Domain Market” and can be a way to secure highly desired soon to be expiring domains.  The .CO Registry formalized its own process to help potential customers acquire expiring .CO domains.

Now, the registry is offering a feature to .CO Accredited Registrars to allow a Reservation to be placed on a .CO domain during the last 5 days of the RGP.  Unlike other TLDs that have only one option to acquire a dropped domain, registrars now have 2 options for .CO domains – 1) Reserve a domain in the final 5 days of RGP or 2) Wait until the drop like other TLDs.

The Reservation process and technical mechanics work the same as with other drop-catch TLD processes, and domains are still awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.  If you want to acquire expiring .CO domain names, make sure your registrar has implemented the .CO Reservation System to reserve a name in the 5 Day RGP window or you may not get the name you desire. 

If you want to acquire expiring .CO domain names, check to see if your registrar has implemented the .CO reservation system.  Since the system is both new — and completely voluntary for registrars — it is very possible that your registrar has not yet done so. 

As of right now, the following registrars are implementing the system:  Name.com, DomainMonster.com, eNom, HEXONET, Pool.

If your registrar’s name is not on this list, please reach out to them and let them know you are interested in acquiring expiring .CO domain names, and you wish them to implement the .CO Reservation System.

We want you to have every advantage to get the names you desire.  We are constantly trying to make the .CO domain more responsive to your needs so please feel free to send us other suggestions or ideas.  If you still have questions about the .CO Reservation System, please contact customer support at your registrar of choice for additional help and support. (cointernet.co)

CoWin.co  http://www.cowin.co/?p=3777

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