How to get the new gTLD domain names you want

With new gTLDs (generic top-level domains) launching every week this year and the next, there’s quite a feeding frenzy for potentially popular domain names. There are domain investors (aka domainers or cybersquatters, cf. domain name speculation) as well as individuals and organizations that want to get certain domain names.

The thing is: only one entity can register a domain name in this first-come first-serve process. This means keeping an eye on the public launch date (aka general availability) of a new TLD and trying to be first-in-line right at 12:00am, or whatever the actual start time is on that date, to click-thru and register. But you won’t be the only one if the domain name is a popular one or possibly valuable one; the competition may be fierce in certain situations.

Some registrars (and registries) have a pre-launch process to collect domain names that people & organizations are interested in. These may be called: pre-register, watch listpre-reserve, or pre-reservation. But, you have to read the fine print carefully to know the terms and conditions. The terminology used have no consistent definition. #readthefineprint

One useful feature to look for is getting a notification alert to let you know when launch dates are announced. And here’s a word of caution from ICANN (the official organization governing the Internet) – Pre-Reserve a Domain Name, or Not? ICANN Answers the Question:

Many of the advertisements are touting “pre-registration” as a means of securing your desired domain name, and some Registrars are reporting a high volume of pre-registrations… However, we feel it is our responsibility to convey a note of caution for anyone pre-registering a domain.

… As responsible Registrars are advising, successful pre-registration of a domain cannot be guaranteed. ICANN seconds that advice, cautioning that registrants should be wary of anyone who claims to be able to guarantee a domain registration on a new gTLD. There are several situations that can impact the availability of a domain name and some domain names may never be available for purchase. 

preregisterThere may be a few registrars that have an option to pre-pay for domain name registrations and they would attempt to register those domain names on the public launch date (or an earlier “landrush” date) . This “domain name reservation” process might be called “Pre-Registration” or “Pre-Order”, similar to how you could pre-order a book at

Generally speaking, here’s what would occur: when you pre-order domain names, if their automated script (and, it beats the other bots) is able to successfully register your domain on your behalf, then they’ll use your deposit and the domain name is registered to you. If they are unsuccessful in registering your domain name(s), for all kinds of reasons, your deposit is refunded (in part or in whole– read the fine print). And, depending on registrar, if there are multiple pre-orders for the same domain name, an auction would be held.

Where can you pre-order new gTLD domain names? This is a list of registrars (that I’ve found, so far) that offer a pre-order service:

  • – calls it both “Paid Pre-Order” and “Paid Pre-Registration”
  • – calls it “Pre-registration order”
  • – calls it “Priority Pre-Registration” and “Pre-Registration”, cf. FAQs
  • – calls it Preorder “Priority Pre-Registration” and “Pre-Registration”
  • + (are both companies) -calls it “Pre-Registration”
  • calls it “Binding Pre-Order”

Depending on the particular new gTLD you’re wanting to register, you have to find a registrar that is selling registrations for that specific top-level domain, since not every registrar carries every gTLD. And, different registrars may have different prices – some list their prices clearly up front, some don’t.

If you found this post helpful, share it + like it + add a comment. Got a question, add a comment. Know of another registrar with pre-order domains, add a comment.

[update 7/15/14] // a word of caution via Quora: If you want a domain with one of the new gTLDs, can you pre-reserve it with different domain registrars? Should you? + Let’s say I pay $50 to preregister a new gTLD. What is to stop my registrar from bidding against me themselves, although it may be unethical, just to collect my money? What safeguards are in place to protect me from an ethics regulation standpoint?


This is part of thblog series about new gTLDs. Pastors & church leaders, also see:


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