An important lesson in pre-ordering new top level domain names
Hint: don’t count on just one registrar.
Registering domain names under new TLDs when they hit the market is similar to dropcatching expired domain names. From the registrar’s perspective, it involves prioritizing domains and hitting pinging the registry as quickly as possible.
Some registrars are better than others at this. There’s some general know-how involved, plus a lot of technology. Registrars will also perform differently with different registries based on their systems and where they are located. Results will also depend on how many domains they’re doing after.
So with that caveat, I’m going to show a little bit of data from .xyz.
I pre-ordered 15 .xyz domain names at GoDaddy. I’m not going to expose the actual domain names, but they’re all keywords that would sell for at least six figures if they were under .com.
Here’s who “caught” the domain names:
Host Europe 1
Network Solutions 1
United Domains 1
Let me start by pointing out that I have no idea if there was competition for the five domain names GoDaddy caught. I also don’t know how many of these domains were pre-ordered at other registrars. A heads on comparison would require pre-ordering them at all registrars. You can’t look at this data and say eNom (for example) sucks. It’s possible it caught the only domain of the 15 that was pre-ordered there.
Now add up all of the domains and you’ll notice there are just 13. That’s where things get strange.
About 90 minutes after the initial launch I noticed that Uniregistry was offering .xyz domains for $8.88 each. That’s a lot less than the $13-$15 other registrars were charging. So I went to Uniregistry to try to register some of the domains that I didn’t pre-order at GoDaddy. I plugged my entire list into the bulk search (Uniregistry has great bulk search, by the way) and noticed that two domains showing as available were ones I pre-ordered at GoDaddy.
I figured this was an error. After all, I had just tried to register a few “available” .xyz domains at Uniregistry only to find they were registered by the time I checked out.
But I checked out, the domains showed up in my account, and I verified my ownership in whois.
Let me be clear: 90 minutes after .xyz general availability opened, I was able to go to a registrar and hand register two domains I had pre-ordered elsewhere.
This suggests to me that something went horribly awry with the pre-orders at GoDaddy.
Whatever happened, there’s a lesson in this: Pre-order at more than one registrar.