The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the implementation of a policy to assist in the recovery of expired generic top-level domain names (gTLDS). Examples of gTLDs are non-country specific domains like .com, .org, .net and .info.

The Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP) will require registrars to provide at least two notifications of a domain’s pending expiry at various dates leading up to it. In the event that a domain does expire, there will be a 30 day grace period prior to the domain’s deletion during which re-registration is allowed. The regulations will also require greater promotion of registrar’s renewal and redemption fees to promote choice and awareness.

All accredited registrars will have to comply with the ERRP by 31 August 2013 at the latest.

The expiry of registered domains can present major problems for businesses which fail to keep a sufficiently close eye on their domain name portfolio. There is a practice known as ‘domain sniping’ or ‘domain drop catching’ which describes the third-party acquisition of domain names that have been allowed to lapse, in order that they might either acquire the site’s traffic and/or re-sell the domain name. Sufficiently valuable domains may attract interest from multiple parties, in which case the domain can be obtained via the use of automated services sold to the highest bidder. These services are able to acquire an expired domain name within seconds of it becoming available.