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Drop Catching Script

Michael Sumner • Feb 6, 2009 • 39 Comments

Yesterday I showed you how to create a bulk availability checker using the power of WHOIS.  Today I’d like to follow that up with another interesting use of your new found WHOIS knowledge: catching drops.  Before you get too excited, no… this script will not allow you to compete with NameJet, SnapNames, or Pool.  But yes, it will allow you to stomp all over people who try to register domain names by hand during the drop.

The way it works is simple, it loops through checking the domains in your list until it finds one that has dropped.  When one of the domain names expires, it logs you in to Dynadot and adds the domain to your shopping cart.  Then it quickly checks you out and completes the purchase, and then removes it from the list of domains it is checking.  It keeps going until all the domains have dropped.  It checks the domains sequentially, so the more you add to the list the less frequently it checks each one.  Depending on how good your server is, it should be able to check a domain every 1/5th of a second.  That means if you have one domain in your list it will check it five times per second.  If you have five domains in your list it will check each domain once per second.

One neat thing about this script is that it does not require you to qualify for Dynadot’s bulk pricing and have access to their API.  All you need is a Dynadot user name and password, and the script does the rest for you.  However, it is not able to buy domains using the credit card you have on file.  You must add account credits for this to work.

Instructions

  1. Sign up for an account at Dynadot and add some account credits.
  2. Go to http://dnmedia.com/drop_catch.php and copy/paste the code into your favorite text editor.
  3. Edit the Dynadot user name and password at the top (leave the quotes though).
  4. Save the file locally as “drop_catch.php”.
  5. Open up a new Notepad file, and enter in the domains you want to catch, one on each line.
  6. Save the file locally as “drops.txt”.
  7. Upload both files to your server in the same directory.

Now here is where the instructions could go one of two ways.  If you have access to set up Cron jobs on your server, set one up to run this script at 2pm EST (GMT -5).  If not, you’re going to have to run the script manually at the designated time by visiting it in your browser.  As with the bulk availability checker, you need to make sure the max execution time for scripts on your server is set to 0 (zero) so the script doesn’t time out.  If you set it up as a Cron job, most servers ignore the max execution time so don’t worry about that.

Each day you want to try and catch an expiring domain, you have to create a new “drops.txt” file and upload it.

TIP: Check NameJet and SnapNames to see if each domain you chose already has bids.  If it does, don’t bother adding it to the list because you won’t get it anyway, and the script will waste valuable time checking something you have no chance at.

Why am I giving you such a valuable tool for free?

Because I have a faster one so you having success isn’t going to affect me 🙂

As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.  Enjoy!

39 Responses to Drop Catching Script

  1. belshass says:

    nice.

    But how can you have a faster one?
    you did not insert a delay in the script you are sharing? lol 😉
    (I have not had a good look at it yet)

    Anyway,
    TFS (thanks for sharing)

    Ritz

  2. Michael Sumner says:

    Correct, I didn’t insert any delays. The one we have is written in C# .net, is multi-threaded, and we have access to a number of registrar APIs. The one I provided here is about as fast as you can get without having to spend money.

  3. Domain uses says:

    Finally someone to share this info. Thank you very much. I’ll become follower of your feed if you continue to share so valuable information.

    Thanks again!

  4. Charley says:

    Would you be able to set this up for me ? I have a dynadot account. But I’m a noob setting it up.

  5. MD says:

    Nice, but is the domain of any value if there is no bids on it on the snapauctions? 🙂

  6. Michael Sumner says:

    @MD – Something like this is perfect for domains worth $70 and under in the wholesale market. Because the drop auction sites have minimum bids at 8-10 times reg fee, their customers will often not bid on decent drops. I’ll buy something for $8 that is worth $50 in the reseller market all day long, do that six or seven times a day and you’re making a decent living for yourself.

    @Charley – Don’t be intimidated by it being a script. Read over the directions, it is very simple. You click a link, copy/paste, enter your user name and password, create another text file, and upload them. That said, if you still need some help setting it up, shoot me an email and we’ll talk.

    @DNUse – My pleasure, glad you found it useful.

  7. Cathy says:

    I thought Dynadot only allows 1 thread, anything over and they ban you for 10 minutes?

  8. Michael Sumner says:

    I’m not sure about the single log in thing, but I know they ban you temporarily if you log in and out too many times in a short period. Either way, I wrote the script to log you in only once and maintain that session as the script progresses. If you’re already logged in it won’t make another attempt. If you think they don’t let you log in twice, I guess I would stay away from your Dynadot account while the script is running. Or you could create a second Dynadot account just for the script, and when it catches domains just push them to your main account. Then you could still feel comfortable working with your main account while the script is running.

  9. Charley says:

    Thanks for the message Michael.

    Do I need to have a hosting provider to do this ?

  10. Domain uses says:

    Yeah the script is slower because it do all the thing through the dynadot.com it doesn’t ping the Verisign servers directly.

    Can you share you faster script for some profit?! Mail me if you are interested.

    Thanks

  11. Michael Sumner says:

    @Charley – Yes, you need a host that can run PHP, which usually means it’ll be a Linux server, not a Windows one. I recommend using HostGator. I use them for my hosting, and their servers are affordable and fast.

    @DNUses – Well, just about everyone doing drop catching uses their registrar’s reseller account API. However, most of them require that you spend at least $500 a year to give you access to it, including Dynadot. It would be faster if it used an API, like our private one does, but that requires more money. I wanted this script to be as accessible as possible. Regarding directly pinging the registry, only accredited registrars can do that, and it is extremely fast. However, to become an accredited registrar is extremely, extremely expensive and only the upper echelon of the domaining community can afford that.

    If anyone has access to an API andt wants me to re-write the script to use it, shoot me an email. I’ll be happy to oblige (for a fee).

  12. Charley says:

    Does this mean if I can get permission from registrars to provide me access to the registry, I can grab .com, .net, .info, etc ?

  13. Michael Sumner says:

    Registrars can’t let you use their direct access to the registry, you have to go through the registrar either using their web site or their API.

  14. Charley says:

    So your tool is to access the Dynadot API ?

  15. Michael Sumner says:

    No, I wrote my own code that mimics the process of buying a domain at Dynadot through your browser. It logs you in, searches for the domain, and if it finds that it is available it buys it. The Dynadot API is limited to customers who spend $500/year, which is why I didn’t want to write this script using their API.

  16. Charley says:

    Thanks Michael.

    Will it work on a dynamic IP ?

  17. Michael Sumner says:

    Yes, it’ll work fine with a dynamic IP address.

  18. fh08 says:

    did you say this will only work on computers equipped with Linux?

    Also, I’m kind of confused, how exactly do you upload files to a directory?? Thanks!

  19. Michael Sumner says:

    It works on computers equipped with PHP that have CURL installed and support for SSL, PHP can run on several different operating systems though. If you have no idea what I just said, I would recommend getting a hosting account at HostGator. It is really cheap, and the script will work out of the box. I can even give you step-by-step instructions to set it up, because it is what I use for hosting.

    To upload files to a directory you should use an FTP program (assuming you aren’t trying to run this on your home computer). HostGator also has a web-based file manager that allows you to easily upload the script without installing any software on your computer.

  20. fh08 says:

    thanks for the help; I’m going to try and use this script.

  21. Xcyte says:

    Just wondering about the cron commands to enter and how long to set the minutes for? seems as though 59 is max?? thanks michael

  22. George says:

    How does your script compare to desktop drop catchers that use enoms API?

  23. loki says:

    Is it possible to do this using eNom instead of dynadot??

  24. Michael Sumner says:

    Sure, it’s possible, but a lot of the code would need to be re-written.

  25. Ibrahim says:

    Hi

    I have tried the script . but unfortunately it’s not working during the two hours of drubbing 🙂

    why is this ?

    and is there any other scripts can I use it with name.com ?

  26. Thank you very much to participate

    i have created a script like that for my own use based on another Registrar site

    But i have big problem with availability checker

    my script Depends on internic.net database for availability check
    And update of the database be a few seconds too late

    I mean, whan domain become available for registration
    Database delayed a few seconds to display that

    Can you help me to solve this problem

    I need domain availability checker work in real time

  27. loki says:

    i need a script that will work with my registrars API. Could you do one for me ( ofcourse for a fee) ?
    let me know.

  28. white says:

    i need a script that will work with my registrars dynadot API. Could you do one for me ( of course for a fee) ?
    let me know.

  29. Don says:

    this does not work. does it need an update?

  30. shane says:

    Any ideas how to get this working for uk domains? I just get loads of FSock errors??

  31. Fortedev says:

    “this script will not allow you to compete with NameJet, SnapNames, or Pool. ”
    Is there any tools to compete with them? I’m sure there’s always a way and of course for a fee, i don’t mind investing.. any guidance help will be much appreciated

  32. Phil says:

    I followed the instructions but when I tried to run it in my browser I got a bunch of errors. Does it still work or did I do something wrong?

  33. drop cather says:

    is it still working?

  34. TopShelf says:

    must have been a termporary error with whois-servers.net, may have been down the other day. it is no longer displaying the above errors. though, after trying to run the script today, I am now getting the message:

    failed to register ExampleDomain.com

    where the domain in question has dropped, and if i whois or check at the registrar it shows as available.

  35. Dan says:

    Michael,

    Many thanx for your above referenced script for catching dropped domains.

    I have followed all your above instructions by creating an account with Dynadot and created both the ‘drop_catch.php’ and ‘drop.txt’ files and located them in same directory on server. This is were I get abit confused…. how does one activate the script….? As you state above — ‘If you have access to set up Cron jobs on your server, set one up to run this script at 2pm EST (GMT -5). If not, ‘you’re going to have to run the script manually at the designated time by visiting it in your browser’ — as I do not have access to set up Cron jobs on my server I am not quite sure I understand how to activate the script on a daily basis. Any further guideance.
    Also, is it possible to use this script or any others that may be out there as a stand alone on my desktop?
    Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter. I look forward to your response back.

  36. james says:

    Hi Michael,

    Is this drop catching script still works?

  37. Channing says:

    Does this script still work? Do you have one for Enom or could you provide a custom script at a price? Thanks.

  38. Louis says:

    Hi michael,

    As u said in one of your comments, would you please change this script for me to my own registrar api?

    I hope to hear from u asap..

  39. Jackson says:

    Bought credit on DynaDot and using GoDaddy (I know…not ideal) hosting and Cron Job Manager. I have it enabled but really have no clue on how to ensure it is running at specified time. GoDaddy only offers a log for errors…any thoughts?

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