You have come up with a great name for a domain name. This idea is going to create you millions with a sudden number of internet businesses coming your way. Immediately you decide to visit a domain name register to verify the viability of the name and after the register does their search, they end up finding the name is already taken. You start to get worried but there is no need to get worried. You still have several choices to choose from.
- Related: Some rules for choosing right domain names
- Related: 10 Best tips to choose a good domain name
- Related: 6 must read tips before registering a domain name
1. Choose .net, .org, .biz, .info
Most businesses are always interested with the .com ending of the domain name but due to the main advantage of its popularity, it is mostly unavailable. Fortunately, you may settle for other suffixes such as .net or .org which might available for the same domain name. However, always read the caution to understand well the dangers of having a domain name using a different suffix but already has a .com name.
2. Slightly adjust the name
A domain name is only declared unavailable if the exact name is already taken. A good example is madprophet.com can be declared that it is already taken when you carry out an availability search but you might find that “mad-prophet.com” or “madprophetes.com is still available. However still you will have to understand the dangers of using slightly adjusted names from the real names.
Slight changes to a name can be dangerous
The fact that a, .com option is not available and a .net or .org option for the same domain name is not a direct ticket for you to use it. Remember using a domain name that is slightly close to an already existing domain name can result to a trademark infringement. This is the violation of an individual’s trademark rights. When you violate an individual trademark rights, you are likely to be ordered to pay them money for damages.
Therefore, avoid trademark infringement when you are choosing a domain name.
3. Buy the name
Just like other properties, domain names are often bought, sold and even auctioned. Remember if the domain name you want is being used by another successful business, you can be guaranteed the chances are very slim for the business owner to sell you the domain name but if the name is already bought but is just reserved by the owner, you are likely to be lucky to buy it from the owner at a very reasonable price. There are several ways to buy a domain name. One, you can make an offer to the domain name owner directly, secondly, you can bid on an auction website such as ebay.com or similarly, you can go through an online domain name broker such as GreatDomains.com.
4. Confirm you rights if you already own a trademark
If you already have a business running and you want to use the business name as the domain name then you are likely to have an upper hand in the dispute than the other person operating the domain online ( Not all the businesses are protected by trademark law, See Avoid Trademark Infringement When Choosing a Domain Name for more information). Thanks to the trademark law which states that the first person to use a trademark in commerce is the legitimate owner of the name. Therefore, if you had already started to operate before the other person launched their domain name online, you are the legitimate owner of the domain name (In order to learn more about what makes up a trademark infringement, se Enforcing Your Trademark Rights in The Trademark Area of Nolo’s Website.)
If you are the owner of a trademark and you want to challenge the use of the domain name, first you will need to come up with a strategy of approaching the registrant. There are three options for this approach.
First of all, you can decide to use the dispute resolution procedure often offered by ICANN which is an international nonprofit organization in charge of domain name registrations across the globe. ICANN recently implemented a process called Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. This mostly works for cybersquatting disputes in the sense that someone has registered their name with their primary intention of profiting from your trademark. Compared to opening up a legal dispute, ICANN dispute resolution procedure can be potentially less expensive probably $1,000 to $2,500 in fees and also take a shorter period of about 57 resolution dates.
Secondly, you can file a legal suit for trademark infringement. Remember that a lawsuit is always an option whether you make us of ICANN’s dispute resolution process or not. If you take the domain name registrant to court and win, the domain name will be transferred to you and similarly, you will be awarded money for damages. (For More See Enforcing Your Trademark Rights in The Trademark Area of Nolo’s Website)
You can also file a cybersquattng lawsuit. If you take a cybersquatter to court and win the case, you are not only going to get the domain name but you are also likely to get compensated for damages. (For more information check on Cybersquatting, What it is and What Can be Done About it).
In order to verify the name of the domain owner, you can make use of “WHOIS Lookup” service at www.whois.net. The result you will obtain will contain the phone number, the contact name, and the address and the email address of the domain name owner.
Even though we have offered a number of solutions here, the greatest resource will be your own imagination. For instance, instead of deciding to file a lawsuit, you may decide to write a simple letter demonstrating your ownership of the trademark to the other person with a simple request for compensation or any other arrangement. You may also reach an eccentric agreement with the holder of domain name that you desire instead of even coming up with a stated price. Similarly, you may decide to give up on the domain name and go back to the drawing board and make another list of names to choose from. Remember that your creativity is the one that is going to give you the best breakthrough.
How to buy a domain name that’s already taken?
For one, it’s important to ensure that the domain name you’re thinking of, is one-of-a-kind and hasn’t been taken yet.
Unfortunately, most of the usual choices for domain names have been brought up long ago, and the ability of acquiring the one you really like is almost impossible. The demand for .com names continues to increase, that’s why they’re very difficult to obtain. Not just that, even real words aren’t that easy to acquire.
So, is it still possible to get a hold of your chosen domain name?
1. Consider using “Whois”
In an event that your domain is already taken, you could check its registration status using whois. Just run a query in whois.com and you’ll discover when the domain is going to expire and when you take it. Aside from that, the details you can get from this site will also give you the owner’s name together with the email address– that’s if they haven’t purchased a privacy protection for their chosen domain.
After finding out the status of your chosen domain, you’ll have an idea if negotiations are possible, or there’s a possibility that you’ll be able to acquire it once it hits the expiration date.
If you’re lucky enough to obtain the details of the person owning the domain, you could try emailing him and ask if he’s interested in selling the domain. If the owner isn’t really using the domain and it’s not going to expire soon, he might be interested in transferring the ownership to you.
Be ready to negotiate, and you should be willing to pay a little more just in case the owner is selling it for a higher price.
Another option would be, you can hire a broker who will negotiate for you. A lot of domain name hosts offer brokering services together with regular registrations.
Although this isn’t the cheapest way to get the domain you want, it’s definitely one of the best ways to get the domain name that you really want.
3. Consider Going on Auction and Marketplaces
Upon checking the domain, were you redirected to a parking page? What are parking pages? These are pages that are filled with ads, and that’s why they’re very easy to locate. Usually, those who have their domain listed at auction utilize parking pages. Thus, it’s ideal to check this.
Some of the most popular domains include the following:
Related: GoDaddy: Domain Auctions
*Note: In case that your desired name is not available, there’s always the chance that you’ll find a good option.
Also, you ought to know that even the least attractive domains can really be a good choice if you’ll consider how engaging they can be.
4. Backorder the Domain
It doesn’t matter if the domain is active or not, it’ll will eventually expire and this could be your opportunity to purchase the domain name. If the domain you’re planning to acquire seems to be inactive, it’s ideal to wait for its expiration date.
- Related: GoDaddy domain backorder
Upon placing your back order request, the domain registrar will try to make the domain name available for you the moment it expires and becomes available– that’s if the current owner wouldn’t renew it anymore.
* Note: For those who are not aware, backordering doesn’t happen as soon as the domain expires, the original owner has a given grace period that will allow him to decide if he’ll still renew the domain or not.
That in mind, you can’t fully rely on back ordering, but there’s still a chance that you’ll be able to get your domain through this.
Furthermore, some registrars aren’t really punctual and don’t really want to get involved. Thus, a lot considers this to be a risky move, but one of the affordable solutions.
Safety Tips When Purchasing a Domain
Even though a lot of people consider buying domains to be risk free and safe, you should be aware that there are still some security issues that you might encounter. Here are some of the safety tips that you should pay attention to.
- Never buy a penalized domain.
- It’s never advisable to send your payment via bank or wire transfer.
- Try to determine the true value of the name before making an offer.
- There’s no need to buy a domain if it’s not really needed.