Thanks, Michael. I cannot find the auction site house of this registrar. It IS up for auction, but it’s NOT fully expired nor dropped – so it appears as though using an automated domain name backorder service may not be the best course of action. The URL still renews every year and is not set to expire until June 2016. The registrar is DOMREG LTD and seems to be tied in to LIBRIS.com. Any suggestions? I just need to ensure my $ is going to the actual entity that’ll grant me the URL. I’m unclear how to avoid paying $ for the URL to a company/service that can’t actually do anything for me (i.e., getting ripped off). Thanks for any direction you can offer.

* “Thousands of domain names that reach expired status never make it to any auction service and are released by the registry.” I think this is only if the registrar a) has an auction partner and b) nobody places a bid at the auction house. In that case, it drops normally and is deleted from the registry and available for anyone to hand register — including backorder services like SnapNames.com or Pool.com. I’m not sure why a registrar wouldn’t list an expiring domain name at the auction house as it could lead to extra revenue for them. Can you, Jamie?
Regarding my statement above, “Any domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be auctioned by an auction service.”–it did overstretch. I’ve modified it to be: “A domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be listed at an auction service (see FAQ for exception to this rule).” Then I added a FAQ to clarify. Please check my thinking:
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