How to Buy a Domain (6 Insider Tips)

As we’ve touched on many times on this blog, the importance of a great domain name cannot be stressed enough. Premium .com domains that are short, memorable, and easy to pronounce are the gateway to near limitless potential for your business. That said, acquiring an affordable name that checks all of those boxes is not the easiest task. There are many considerations and potential pitfalls you can get yourself into when trying to buy a domain name.
To help you along the way, here are some insider tips that our team has amassed through years of experience.

1. Create a list of potential names

The first thing you’ll want to do is build a list of potential names for your business. Your list will depend on your industry, and ultimately, your business goals. For example, if you’re a local business, you may include your city or region in your domain name. On the other hand, if you’re national or even international, you’d want to go for a more universal name so as to not box yourself into a particular locality.

Regardless of your business goals, you should include both keyword domains and brandable domains and a mix of both in your list. This will keep your options open in case some names are unavailable or too expensive for your budget.

See below for an example list of domains for a hypothetical national sparkling water brand (note that since this is a preliminary list, some of the names may be registered to existing businesses).


2. Check availability of names

Once you have your list, visit a domain registrar to check the availability of the domain names. If any are available that you like, that’s great news. You can simply choose from the available names, register the domain, and build your website.
However, if none are available, the purchasing process just got a bit more complicated.

3. Visit the websites

Visit all of the websites from your list of names that are unavailable for registration. This will give you a better understanding of how the domain is currently being used. The websites will either be:

  • Active websites for existing businesses. If this is the case, it will be near impossible to purchase the name. It’s probably not worth your time or budget to go after these names.
  • “Under construction” pages. These are hit or miss. The owner might not want to sell.
  • Dead pages. These are also hit or miss. The owner might not want to sell.
  • “For sale” pages. Usually, these will include links that forward to a registrar or brokerage trying to sell the name. These are the best option – the owner is actually trying to sell.

If you’ve found a name you like on a “for sale” page, that’s great news! You can easily purchase the name as it’s already for sale.

4. Contact the owner

If none of the names are actively “for sale,” you will need to find the owner’s contact information so that you can make an offer for the name. This is where things get a bit tricky.

The first thing you can do is look around on the website (if it’s active) and see if there is any contact information. If not, you’ll need to go to the WHOIS directory and search for the name. The WHOIS provides some information about the domain owner. The problem that arises here though, is that many domain owners use privacy service that hides their personal information on the WHOIS directory.

This is when it helps to hire a domain broker service such as For these types of acquisitions, uses additional research methods and our wide network of buyers and sellers to find the owner of the domain name.

5. Make an offer/negotiate

Once you’re in contact with the owner, the negotiation process begins. To best prepare yourself for negotiations, you’ll want to get a good understanding of the value of the domain. This is no simple task. The domain industry, unlike other industries, is quite nebulous and you can’t really count on comparable sales and the domain is usually just worth what the owner thinks it’s worth. That said, there are some tested valuation metrics that are fairly common in the industry, including:

  • Length
  • Age
  • Traffic
  • Memorability
  • Trends
  • Etc.

Typically, .com names that are short and memorable are more expensive. However, if you’re looking for an accurate appraisal, consider hiring a professional. With appraisal services, you can be assured you won’t pay any more than the domain you are acquiring is worth.

6. Make the Purchase

Once a price has been agreed upon, you’ll pay the owner and the domain will be transferred to you. Make sure to use an escrow service so that the transaction goes as smoothly as possible.
As touched on in this article, the domain purchasing process is quite straightforward if the domains are available or listed for sale. However, once you get into the territory of names that are taken with reluctant owners, things start to get a little hairy. In these situations, you may not ever be able to reach the seller. And if you do get into contact with the seller, they can take advantage of you or try to scam you.
With domain broker service, you can rest assured that your dream domain will be acquired at the best possible price. From start to finish, we handle everything so you can focus on the things that matter to you.

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