I've previously described a couple of domain-selling schemes on WhiteNoise, so I thought that I'd add one more. A month or so ago, most likely because I've looked to see if it was available several times, my registrar contacted me to tell me that a name had lapsed and was listed by them for auction.
I looked. It's a name I've wanted for a site I'll probably get around to launching in Spring '17. The name itself makes sense, but it's mostly valuable to me because it matches a scheme I have already purchased for related URLs. Though I'm sure others would come up with the same name if they were looking to market a similar site, it's not anything as obvious as books.com.
As had been the plan I outlined in a previous post for a different URL, my chosen method to avoid a bid war was to wait until the end, then actively bid until it was mine. Because the domain had been listed by the registrar, the starting price wasn't going to change and because the name wasn't super-obvious, I figured that if there was to be any competition, it'd be only one or two people as long as the domain stayed off the most-active list.
Over the course of the almost two weeks I waited, I received several emails appearing to be from a couple of different people, all offering to sell me the name. There was no mention of an auction, instead they acted as if they owned it and because I had the similarly-named related URLs and a couple of variations, their system had "identified me as a potential buyer".
This was kind of like the deal last year where someone offered to sell me a name that wasn't owned by anyone — it could be like a retailer drop-shipping from the manufacturer as I said in the comments — but what became different this time, after I had won the auction and had completed the transfer, I still got a few more offers for the next couple of weeks.
Though it hadn't been the case when they started and all but one stopped when the auction ended, the one remaining sent me multiple emails offering to sell me a domain I owned.