Are you trying to launch a new website, only to find your desired domain name taken already? It happens often.
Many business owners and entrepreneurs face this problem while establishing their online presence. It doesn’t mean you have to come up with another idea immediately. The first thing you can do is buy it. If that’s not going to work, we have 4 other alternatives.
We’ll cover everything you need about availability and what to do when your ideal domain name is taken. We’ll discuss alternative strategies such as brainstorming a new domain name, making an offer to the current owner, or waiting for the domain name to expire.
You can find something that works for your brand even if you don’t walk away with your first choice.
Understanding Domain Name Availability
If a domain is available, it isn’t currently registered to anyone. If it’s an aged domain, it belonged to someone in the past but wasn’t renewed.
If your preferred domain name is already taken, you cannot use it for your website or online business.
It’s frustrating, but you have options.
All that matters is your domain is easy to remember and spell and relevant to your industry or niche.
What Does it Mean when a Domain is “Taken?”
Finding out that your desired domain name is already taken can be frustrating. When a domain name is considered taken, someone else has registered it for their website.
This can happen due to the popularity of certain words or phrases or because someone is squatting on the domain, hoping to sell it for a profit. However, with some creativity and perseverance, there are still options available to secure a quality domain name.
If your desired domain name is taken, you have a few different options to consider. Try different extensions such as .net, .org, or .co instead of .com. Another option is to add words related to your brand or business in the domain name, which may make it more unique and memorable.
Additionally, you can negotiate with the current owner or use a domain brokerage service to purchase the domain from them. With some effort and flexibility, getting a great alternative that aligns with your brand goals and vision is possible.
Different Types of Domain Names
There are three main categories of extensions:
- Top-level domains (TLDs) are the most common. They include .com, .org, and .net.
- Country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) are extensions that are specific to a particular country, such as .uk for the United Kingdom or .ca for Canada.
- Generic TLDs (gTLDs) are more specific and include extensions like .app and .shop.
The price will vary based on your TLD and domain registrar. ICANN rules state that you can register your domain for anywhere from one to 10 years at a time.
Many registrars offer a discount for the first year. If you don’t want to risk losing it, turn on auto-renew so you’ll automatically pay for renewal before your registration expires.
Knowing the differences between TLDs makes choosing the right domain name easier. By selecting an appropriate domain extension, you can distinguish your brand name from others while still maintaining a strong online presence.
Alternative Strategies for Acquiring a Taken Domain Name
If the exact domain name for your business is already registered to someone else, you don’t always have to go back to the drawing board.
Making an Offer to the Current Owner of the Domain
Acquiring a taken domain name can be achieved through successful negotiation with the current owner. You may need a domain name appraiser to evaluate the domain’s value and help determine a fair price.
Use WHOIS lookup to find out the owner’s contact information, including their email address or phone number. Taking these steps will also help to confirm the domain’s ownership and help avoid fraudulent sellers or resellers.
Keep in mind owners can use registrar contacts to protect their personal information, so you may not be able to contact them directly. Even still, you have options.
Before making your offer, check to be sure the domain doesn’t have a spammy past. If Google has blacklisted it in the past, you’ll need a new name. No matter what you do with the existing desired name, you won’t be able to gain any ground with search engines, which defeats the purpose.
Researching the history of the domain and offering a fair price can increase the chances of success. Once you have the current owner’s contact information, reach out to them and start negotiating a price. Find out what their asking price is and make a reasonable offer.
Be prepared to negotiate and provide counter-offers if necessary. It’s important to approach the negotiation respectfully and professionally to establish a positive relationship with the current owner. Sometimes, the domain will be listed on marketplaces for sale, making it easier to negotiate. Other times, the owner may not have any interest in selling at all.
Using a domain broker and escrow service can ensure both parties’ security during the transaction, making it a smooth process. If negotiation does not work, you can try a few other things.
Waiting for the Domain Name Registration to Expire
When dealing with a taken domain name, waiting for it to expire may seem like a tempting option. After all, if the current owner fails to renew the domain within a certain period after the expiration date, it will become available for registration again.
But, this strategy can be risky. Domain names can be renewed at any time, and monitoring their expiration dates can be time-consuming. Often, owners will renew at the last minute.
Moreover, even if a domain name does expire, there may be others interested in acquiring it as well. To increase your chances of securing the domain you want, it’s best to explore other strategies for acquiring a taken domain name.
You can also look to see if there are expired domains similar to the one you want. They can offer some search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. But you’ll want to research the history to make sure the domain has a positive standing with Google.
Do You Own the Trademark?
If you own the trademark or other intellectual property for a brand name, you might think you have the legal right to take ownership of the domain, but that might not guarantee your outcome. Before you go in guns blazing and threaten the domain name owner that you have a trademark, and they have to give you the domain name, or else you should read up on the subject. This article might be helpful in understanding what you can do and if you can do it.
If a legal dispute is what you believe is the only way to resolve this issue, then these are the three things a trademark owner would need to prove in a UDRP to gain control of the ownership of the domain:
- The domain is identical or confusingly similar to your trademark.
- The opposing party has no legitimate rights to the domain they have registered.
- The domain name has been used and registered in bad faith.
If you have recently filed for a trademark and founded a company, and the domain owner has owned the domain for years prior to the founding of your business, we are sorry to say that unless the current registrant is a time traveler, you are most likely out of luck. Please read the article where it shows relevant cases, then make a decision about what you want to do next.
Modify with Abbreviations or a Hyphen
If you can’t take ownership of the original domain, you can modify it slightly and create your own new registration. Try these ideas to help you come up with a similar domain:
- Adding a new word
- Adding a hyphen
- Using well-known abbreviations
- Using a different domain extension (.net, .co, etc.) If you’re a localized business, you may want to use geography-specific TLDs like co.uk or .ca. Avoid using these if they don’t make sense for your brand.
Be aware that adding a hyphen or using a different TLD may lead to customer confusion. You may inadvertently send traffic to the original website.
Brainstorming a New Domain Name
When faced with the challenge of finding a new domain name, brainstorming can be an effective strategy. Start by considering your website’s niche and target audience. Use a thesaurus to come up with synonyms for keywords related to your website’s content.
Keyword tools and domain name generators are additional resources that can help you develop ideas. It is important to choose a memorable and easy-to-remember name that is also easy to spell and pronounce.
Be creative and think outside the box while keeping in mind possible trademark infringement issues. With some effort, you can create a catchy and unique domain name that fits your website perfectly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get a domain name if it’s taken?
To purchase the exact domain you want, you’ll need to negotiate a sale with the current owner or wait for it to become available again upon expiration. Otherwise, you’ll need to modify the domain name slightly and register the new version or come up with something new based on synonyms.
What to do if a domain name is taken but not used?
First, try to reach the current owner to negotiate the sale. If that fails, check the expiration date and set a reminder, or use a domain backorder service.
Can a domain name be taken away?
Yes, there are a few instances where this is possible, including non-payment, trademark infringement, legal or regulatory requirements, or cybersquatting.
What to use if .com is taken?
Try a different extension, add another relevant keyword, or use an abbreviation. Alternatively, use a synonym to convey the same meaning as the original.
What to Do if Your Domain Name is Taken
There are several alternative strategies you can use to acquire the perfect domain name for your business or brand. Brainstorming new domain names or making an offer to the current owner are some of the options. You can also wait for the domain name to expire and snatch it up once it becomes available again.
Remember that patience and persistence are key when dealing with a taken domain name. Don’t give up on finding the perfect domain name just yet!
After exploring alternative strategies for acquiring a taken domain name, it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes the best course of action is to move on. While it’s understandable to want the perfect domain name, obsessing over a taken one can waste valuable time and resources.
Want help securing your ideal domain? The experts at Saw.com can contact the owner and negotiate on your behalf.