A client came to us recently with an inquiry about the design and development of a new e-commerce website for a new product line they were launching. There was a problem, however: they requested a specific website domain name, and it was already taken. Someone else owned the domain!
Maybe you have been in the same situation. You’ve settled on the perfect domain name for your new business or website, but as you start the process of building it you realize that the domain is already taken. It can be a discouraging setback after all the strategy and brainstorming that went into choosing that domain in the first place!
So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?
For this particular client, we followed our proven process for how to buy a domain name that someone else already owns. But if you are wondering how to do the same thing for yourself, you’re reading the right blog post.
Let’s look at steps to purchasing a website domain someone else owns if you should use a domain broker service or not, and what the steps would be if you choose to go with a domain broker service.
How to purchase the domain
1. Find out who owns the domain
The first step to purchasing a domain that someone else owns is to find out who currently owns it. You can use the WHOIS domain lookup link: https://lookup.icann.org/.
Try to find the contact information for the owner. The contact information typically will be private, but email addresses like [email protected] or [email protected] often forward to the correct owner. Give it a try!
Most web admins won’t reply back to you, but just one small piece of information can help you dig a little deeper and find out who can actually help you.
2. Negotiate a price
Most domains available for purchase cost anywhere from $2–$200. If someone already owns the domain, they will charge more—anywhere from $250–$25,000. Communicate with them to determine what the price will be.
3. Pay for and transfer domain ownership
If the domain is going to cost you over $200, you need to be sure you get an agreement in writing, signed by both you and the individual selling the domain. That way, if anything gets weird or goes wrong, you can point back to the agreement and get the domain you paid for in court.
You should then create an account where the domain owner’s domain is registered for easy transfer. Pay the owner for the domain with the payment method they request, and then you should see the domain in your own account within one to two business days from the transfer start.
What about domain broker services?
Should you use a domain broker service?
A domain broker service can be an ideal option for you if you are hoping to purchase that domain that someone else already owns. They typically are “white glove” services, so they take care of the whole process for you and you can just sit back and wait for it to happen.
The service process
The process is typically pretty simple. First, you submit a request for the domain and pay the initial fee (usually $100-$125). After that, you have a short consultation call with your broker, and then they handle it from there. The broker will reach out to the domain owner, negotiate a price, purchase the domain, and then transfer the domain for you.
Broker service fees
A domain broker service will usually have an upfront fee of around $99, or 20% of the negotiated price.
Benefits of hiring a domain broker
There are several benefits to hiring a domain broker. One of the biggest ones is that it is sometimes just less awkward for everyone involved to have a third party handle the negotiation. It can help both parties feel more comfortable.
The domain broker also has more access to information then you probably do as an independent business owner. They can access the necessary exclusive information needed to more quickly and easily contact the domain owner.
A domain broker can also save you time by taking care of the headache of the process for you. They’re experienced, and can just get it done more quickly.
Where can I hire a domain broker?
We’re happy to help you track down your perfect domain as part of a website design project as well. We’ve helped our clients track down and buy premium domains like bookworthy.com, budega.com, hushrooms.com, and others.
What if you can’t buy the domain?
So, what happens if the domain owner won’t sell the domain to you? Rest assured, it isn’t the end of the world. There are other options for things you can do to keep your name and have a domain that goes with it seamlessly.
One option for you is to use a different version of the domain. Instead of.com, you could try a TLD like .net, .biz, .org, or .co.
Another option if to add a word or two to the beginning of your company name. For example, Proof, a sales conversion booster tool, has the domain called useproof.com instead of just the basic proof.com. Other words such as try, hire, or meet could be used in the same way. It can act as a small advertisement along with being your domain name.
Here at Structure, we had to use this technique as the web domain structure.com wasn’t available. So instead, we went with wearestructure.com.
It’s time for a premium website that brings you customers
Most websites don’t create sales. That’s because most people think you need a beautiful website to impress browsers, when instead what you actually need is a website that’s designed for buyers.
Make a website that makes money for your business. Watch our free website training 5 Reasons Why Your Website Doesn’t Create Sales and you’ll know how to create fans of your business, and stop losing to the competition.