A domain name is an identification string that locates an organization or any other entity in the internet. For example,
www.arsenal.com locates an address for arsenal.com at internet point
199.0.02 and a host server named “www”. The “com” part of the domain usually shows the purpose of the organization. For example, commercial in the above domain name. This is a top-level domain name.
One of the key aspects of establishing yourself online is choosing the right name for your website. The domain must be eye catching and easy to recall for anyone who sees it. However, there might be a glitch in that after picking your perfect domain name and selecting a hosting provider you find that the name is already registered by someone else.
If you are fixated to this name then you will have to enter the world of after=market domains. Speculators have been known to purchase registered domains with no website associated to them and banking on making a profit by selling them later on to future buyers.
This makes buying an already registered domain name a tricky process. However, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost. It requires you to go about it in the right way to increase your chances of getting the name. I have come up with a step by step guideline that will help you increase your chances of getting a domain name already registered.
1. Brainstorm various names
This can be done by typing a list of the names. Names that are better are probably expensive. You can use Dot-o-mator.com to look for word combinations. After finishing up the list, you can go to GoDaddy and upload it via the bulk upload feature on the menu. This will help you see the domain names from your list that are not taken.
2. Hit the Auction.
If none of the available names please you, then it’s time to hit the auction. There are various sites for this. For example, Namecheap and Godaddy. Godaddy Auctions is a good place where you can search key words. Domain tools also have a good search that aggregates most auctions. In that auctions site, you could be lucky and find great names for only a few hundred dollars.
3. Shrinking the list
In this step, you will be required to go to each domain, for ABC go to abc.com. In shrinking the list you will be able to break it down into four categories. These include;
I. Investors pages
These pages are just links to other sites. They are used to monetize the location and hence are easy to figure out. They are almost always up for sale.
II. Real Business Pages.
These pages are nearly impossible to get. They should go to the bottom of your list. These names are pricier and a lot harder to purchase.
III. Construction pages.
These pages are either owned by an amateur who registered the page and forgot about it or is holding it or the page is owned by someone about to put up a business at the site. These names can be bought though sometimes they may be unavailable for sale. This depends mainly on your negotiation skills and luck.
4. Contacting the owner
This is an important step. You need to ask yourself a few questions before considering to approach the person with the domain name you want to purchase. These questions include;
I. How important is the specific domain name to your new venture.
The importance of the domain name should be the very first question in your mind. If the domain name is for a service or product that you are to launch then a name of the product as a domain name may be very important. This is because it will be the primary and most intuitive domain name for the venture. For example, if you are to launch a new product called tasty it may be important to buy a domain name matching this name. That is tasty.com. This will help increase the traffic to your site.
II. How much money are you willing to spend on this domain name.
This depends mainly on the budget of the entrepreneur or business. For some, purchasing a $1000 domain name will lead to a great hit on its marketing budget. For a larger company a $10000 domain name maybe a bargain. On Godaddy, a one word .com is probably expensive. Costing between $5000 and $200000. For two-word.com domain names the price is much less. Invented names, on the other hand, may cost even less than $1000.
III. How urgent is it to have this specific domain name
It is important to note that being in a better negotiation position when trying to buy a domain name is very essential. This can be achieved by ensuring that you have more time to source and buy a specific domain name. Waiting till the last minute to buy your domain after you have already made a public announcement on the product you want to provide will squeeze you to a corner. This is because you will have put yourself in a situation that drives the domain’s price up.
IV. Can another domain name work for you?(Plan B)
Having a plan B helps you save time and money. This is essential, especially where the domain name you want is not available for sale.
After considering the above questions and analyzing them fully then you can contact the owner. To contact the owner you may need to do the following things. These will help you locate and communicate with them.
a. Check if their contact details are listed on the site.
Most sites have a Contact US link. You can use this to contact the owner of the site. You may also use Internet archive to look at contact details and old pages on the owner.
b. Use “Who is” directory if there is no Contact US link
You can use domain tools for this. About 30%-505 of the time, the information of the real owner of the domain will come up. Other times, the info is either dead or private. For private info you can send an email to the address provided will probably reach the owner. If the standard “Who is” doesn’t work you may attempt the historical “Who is”.
5. Approach the owner and ask if the name is available for sale.
It is important not to make an offer at this stage. You may consider to use the following approach methods:
I. Contact the owner directly
You should contact the owner directly only if you have no documented success. This means, if one googles up your name then they will find no google results. For people with documented success, contacting the seller directly will raise the prices incredibly.
II. Hiding your info
This can be done in two ways. They are;
- The pricy way- This can be done using a service that will allow you to mask yourself when contacting the owner. You can use Godaddy or Namecheap to do this. Using this means will help the owner not to jack up the price as they see they are being contacted by a real entity.
- Cheap way- This will involve you registering a new Gmail or yahoo address. You should ensure you don’t give up any personal information. However, this lowers the chance of getting a reply from the owner as they may view you as a scammer.
6. Valuation and figuring what to spend
Valuation is difficult as there are no comparable to go by. This means that the seller determines what they want to sell the domain for. As I mentioned above, the number of letters in a name will determine the worth of the name. Three to four letter names are the most expensive. If the name is easy to spell then it may cost more.
It is also important to check if the domain names go naturally together. The more naturally they go then the higher their valuation will be. It may be important to note that domain names with “my” and “the” in front of it are worth less.
These are some of the responses that you may get when you contact the owner.
I. “I don’t know, what do you think”
When you get such a response it means that the owner is willing to sell. For this type of response, you may consider going in at 20-30% below your budget’s bottom range.
II. “I am willing to sell it for $600000”
When the owner gives a ridiculous offer, you should typically go back with the amount you were willing to offer in the first place. For example $100000. If the owner declines the offer then you should probably move on.
III. “$1000” When you think it is worth over $20000.
This means you have a price already. However, it is necessary to be cautious since you may spook the seller to thinking they underpriced their domain. Therefore, you shouldn’t say a direct yes to their offer.
IV. “$15000” When you think its worth around the same amount.
For this type of response, there is no need for being cautious as your range matches with the owner’s amount.
8. Get the owner to agree.
If the seller says yes, to your price then you are already in a contract which is enforceable in a court of law. Therefore, you should make sure to get a yes in writing and after that open an escrow account. Funding the account fast will give you a better chance of completing the purchase.
Purchasing a domain name maybe challenging. However, its success will depend on how you will do your homework on the above steps. It is essential you give yourself as much time as possible. Buying an already registered name is a great investment which will bring you loads of benefits in the long run. Following these steps will help you in purchasing the domain name that you believe will boost your new venture.