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:

GoDaddy 5
Hexonet 4
eNom 1
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.


  1. says

    same thing here, had a pre-order at, got the name at free reg 15 minutes after registry opened..

    just got the notice that the pre-reg failed.

    page howe

    • says

      The great quality domain names is already taken. Perhaps there are still some, but hailed, you must actually try your luck in the pre-reg on different registrar

  2. Philip says

    If the registry linked to a particular donain actually operates a registrar service too, go with them.

  3. Bul says

    Why then do they send out pre-reg guarantee emails? Calling the pre-reg “binding” and if I may ask…does that just bind me to paying but not them delivering? I thought United domains and others really coordinated this. Ironic

      • onlinedomain says

        It’s possible that your orders were not processed. I know that if your backorder pending delete domains at Go Daddy pretty close to the drop time, they won’t even attempt to get the domains. Maybe it’s the same with New gTLDs.
        Try backordering at least 24 hours before GA.

  4. William says

    I had 3 names with Godaddy that I hand registered that showed up in my account and then were later removed. I wonder if they took the names away from me to give to someone whose pre-reg was screwed up by their system.

  5. says

    After having two of my best names taken after 3 weeks with Godaddy i decided not to use them anymore for my gTLDs.
    I went to a different registrar and pre-order 70 .vacations.
    After the general availability i find out that 3 names were still available at name and Godaddy.
    3 hours later i picked up my names.

  6. Bul says

    Is godaddy that bad? They hold 90% of my portfolio and i cant say an evil about them. When 1and1 screwed me…I moved on and I am happy except that the discount club membership is a scam if I still end up paying $9.99 and coupon codes are all over the place cheaper so non discount members are buying cheaper than members. Who do you guys trust?

      • onlinedomain says

        Very bad. Hidden charges, taking hand registered domains when backorders fail. And this is just from the past week…
        I had to go through all my invoices to see that they had kept thousands from me from EAP fees.
        Everybody gets screwed there eventually.

  7. says

    I ordered a domain at godaddy years ago, it was, everything went through find and it showed in my account. A few weeks later is was gone from my account. I contacted godaddy and they said there had been a mistake and the domain wasn’t available. Something very fishy about that if you ask me..

Leave a Reply