If you still believe that all of the ‘good‘ .com domain names are taken, I’ll let you in on a little secret: think again.

Plenty of desirable .com domain names are now becoming available for registration when their owners decide not to renew them. Their loss can be your opportunity.

Why are so many good domains being dropped these days? The reason is simple: their owners, many of whom built up large portfolios of domain names, simply can’t afford to keep renewing them all in these tough economic times. Not only is it expensive, but with widespread declines in parking revenue and fewer big dollar sales of generic domains taking place today, many ‘domainers‘ are conceivably sitting on portfolios that are worth less than they were several years ago.

That means they have to let some go; inevitably some of the domains that don’t make the cut are gems.

Since many domainers never intended to develop their domains, a domain that isn’t worth a renewal fee to them may be let go even though it could have substantial value to someone who can put it to good use. Perhaps your business would do well to have a shorter or more descriptive domain name. There is some evidence that generic domains improve PPC campaign performance. And many believe that domain names are an important SEO factor. In my personal experience I’ve seen much better performance from generic, keyword-relevant domains in both areas.

In the past, almost all of the good domains that weren’t renewed by their owners were immediately snatched up by other domainers. But that isn’t the case today; plenty of good domains are being dropped on a daily basis without any mad dash to register them. I know; I’ve personally registered a handful in recent months.

So how do you take advantage of the flood of dropping domain names? You have two options:

  • Use a drop service. Companies like Pool.com, SnapNames and Namejet will try to register dropping domain names on your behalf the moment they become available. You pay a premium for these services (fees are typically in $60 to $70 range, paid only if the domain is acquired) and most of these companies have an auction format so if more than one person wants a domain that they are able to acquire, an auction is held to determine the winner.
  • Do it yourself. If you have the time and patience, you can use a service like Pool.com to see which domains are dropping and then try to secure them yourself. At some point on the listed drop date, the domain will become available. If the domain isn’t immediately registered at the time of the drop (eg. by a drop service) you may get lucky and find that the domain is now available for registration at the registrar of your choice.

The trend of dropping domains is likely to continue and many domains that belong to domainers with large portfolios are still yet to come up for renewal so there’s plenty of opportunity that awaits those who are diligent and patient.

Photo credit: borman818 via Flickr.