You’re starting a business or undergoing a rebrand, and you’ve come up with the perfect domain name. Only problem? The domain is already registered. In this case, you have one of two options – you can either choose an alternative domain name, or you can fork up the cash to the current owner. If your heart is set on your first choice, this article will explain how you can go about buying the domain.
Step 0 – Beware of Buying the Same Domain with a Different TLDone unfortunate occurrence I see all too often is when buyers decide to go with a different TLD of their first-choice domain. At first glance, this strategy makes sense. After all, it’s the same name and it’s much cheaper! Registrars will often suggest this option when you search for a .com domain that is already taken. Let’s talk about why this is not a great option. First, if you simply use the same exact domain name with a different TLD, the owner of the .com may have legal grounds to sue for copyright infringement. Legal trouble is the last thing you want when starting out your business. Second, Internet users typically enter .com at the end of the domain name when they type into the URL bar. This means if you decide to go with a .net or a .biz, users will end up at the .com and have a much harder time finding you. All in all, it’s just a better decision to pay up for your first-choice domain, and if that doesn’t fit your budget, go with a different name altogether.
Step 1 – Visit the Domain to See How It’s Being UsedVisit the domain and check, first of all, if there is a website. Second, check to see whether it’s active or not. If it’s an active website, it’s going to be much harder to purchase the domain (if the owner is even willing to sell at all). If it’s just a placeholder that’s not being used as a website, you’re in luck. The owner will likely be willing to sell, and it probably won’t be as expensive.
Step 2 – Find the Owner of the DomainAs touched on previously on our website, finding the owner of a domain can sometimes be a tricky process. The first step is to perform a WHOIS search, which provides some information about the domain, including:
- Registration date
- Who registered the domain
- When the domain expires
Step 3 – Come Up with a BudgetBefore contacting the owner and getting into a negotiation, you should first determine your budget. Specifically, come up with a number for the absolute highest offer you’d be willing to give. To make an informed decision on your budget, consider using an domain broker service. This way, you know you won’t be paying too much. Nevertheless, it’s important to know the main metrics that contribute to the price of a domain:
- Length – Three and four-letter domains are typically the most expensive.
- Memorability and Spelling – Domains that are memorable and are easy to spell are typically worth more as they are more brandable.
- Age – Generally, the longer a domain has been registered, the more it will cost.
- Industry – Domains with popular-industry keywords are more valuable as they tend to rank higher on search engines.
- Universality – A domain name that could be applied to many businesses in many places than industry or region-specific names.
- Similar domains – Look at names in the same industry with other similar metrics, and see how much they have sold for.