You have started on a new venture, building a business or rebranding. Now it is time to buy a domain that will help you reach your business goals. 

There is only one problem. The domain you want is taken and registered by someone else. What do you do? You have two options. Either choose an alternative domain for your business or figure out a way to purchase the domain that is taken. If you are determined to acquire this domain, you have come to the right place. 

Today we will discuss step by step how to acquire an already registered domain. Additionally, why it is important to acquire the first choice .com domain. Here is the guide to purchasing a domain name that is already taken. 

Purchasing a Domain That is Already Taken

Here is our step by step process:

1. See How the Domain is Being Used

The first step is to visit the domain. How is it being used? Is it a real website? Has it been updated in the past couple of  years?

If it is just a placeholder that is not being used as a website, you will most likely be able to acquire the domain. The owner will likely be willing to sell, and possibly at a lower price.

2. Find the Domain Owner

This can sometimes be a difficult part of the process. The first step is to conduct a “WHOIS” search. This will provide some information about the domain, such as:

  • When the domain was registered
  • Who registered the domain
  • When the domain expires

However, a WHOIS search does not always work. Some domain owners purchase privacy protection, which means their names and information will not come up when searched. In this case, you have to do more work to find the domain owner.

3. Come Up with a Budget

Before contacting the owner, you must determine a budget. Specifically, the highest offer you are willing to make. If you are unsure about your budget, use a domain appraisal service. Additionally, understand the factors that go into the price of a domain:

  • Length: 3-4 letter domains are usually the most expensive. 
  • Memorability: Easy to spell and memorable domains are usually more expensive. 
  • Brandability: Easily brandable to a business. 
  • Age: Generally, the longer a domain has been registered, the more it will cost.
  • Industry: Domains with popular industry keywords are more valuable because they tend to rank higher on search engines.

Once you have educated yourself on domain appraisal and have set a budget, you are ready to negotiate.

4. Contact the Owner

If your WHOIS search was successful, you have two options when contacting the domain owner. Either reaching out directly via email, or using a domain brokerage service to reach out to the owner on your behalf. 

If you reach out directly, send a polite email offering to purchase the domain name. Keep it brief with an introduction to who you are and maybe an initial offer. If you use a domain brokerage service like, a broker will reach out to the owner and handle all communication and negotiation for you.

5. Negotiate

It is time to negotiate the best deal with the domain owner. This step includes more than the cost of the domain. It also includes terms of purchase, how the domain will be transferred, escrow and any other laws that apply to the sale. 

This can be complicated to do alone. We suggest hiring an attorney to make the process smoother, and ensure you are protected.

Do Not Purchase a Different TLD Domain

Sometimes, when businesses can not acquire their first choice .com domain, they choose a different top-level domain (TLD). Why? It is the same domain root, with a cheaper TLD than a .com. The strategy seems to make sense! But, it can hurt you in the future. 

When customers conduct a Google search to find a business, the default is .com. Going with a different TLD, like .net, .biz, .org etc. can make it harder for these customers to find you. Especially if there is the same exact domain registered with a .com already.

Additionally, this could cause legal trouble with the domain owner of the .com. We suggest investing up front in your first choice domain to get the .com you want. If that does not fit your budget, choose a new domain name. 

Ready to Acquire a Domain Name?

Interested in acquiring a premium domain name for your business? Do you want guidance while building your business? Contact our domain brokerage for a free consultation!

Our team at specialize in the acquisition of digital assets, and have over twenty years of experience in the industry. Our domain brokers are experts in domain acquisition, appraisal, branding, brand protection, portfolio management services and more. We pride ourselves in our transparency and passion to help you reach your goals. 

At, our mission is to help you be seen online. If you are interested in speaking with an expert from our domain brokerage service about buying a domain, contact us! Our domain brokers would love to speak with you!