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Verisign patent suggests a new model for expired domains

Patent contemplates selling pools of access to each registrar.

Picture of expired parking meter.

Someone looking in from the outside would consider the current model for drop catching expired domain names to be inefficient.

Each registrar has a connection to the registry, which it uses to try to snap up domains the moment they expire. Drop catching services increase their connections to the registrar by getting more registrar accreditations. This is an expensive process: each registrar has to be accredited by ICANN and sign a registrar agreement with Verisign.

In the case of, the company has registered over 1,000 limited liability companies, gotten each one accredited through ICANN, and then signed agreements with Verisign.

Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) has another idea: why not just let each registrar buy more pools of access to process transactions?

It’s sure to be a controversial idea given the company’s tenuous relationship with domain name registrars. But it could actually be a win-win for drop catchers and Verisign.

Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 10,659,426 (pdf) to Verisign for System and method for domain name system using a pool management service. The patent describes a system of offering additional pools of access to registrars. These could be an alternative way to get more firepower for drop catching.

It’s an interesting concept. Verisign has filed other patents related to expired domains, including selling backorders.


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