The domain name I want is already registered
I am set to launch my company online, but the domain name I want, which is a “.com” is already taken. I am a UK business, and although I have already secured the “.co.uk” name I really want my main website to be on the .com as this is the most popular domain extension. What can I do?
There is no doubt that the .com extension is the most popular and recognised domain extension on the World Wide Web. But more often than not, the domain name you desire will have already been registered by someone else. Why is this though? Well, it’s a combination of reasons. Essentially, cheap domain names or even free domain names are regularly offered by a lot of registration companies. Every single day, literally thousands of people are looking to buy domains, and consequently, hundreds of thousands of domain names are registered every day. Together with the fact that the .com extension is the original extension which has no geographical boundaries or other restrictions, making it the most desirable extension for someone looking to buy domain names.
The first thing to do is to find out who has registered the domain name you want. If there is no website linked to the domain name, you can perform a simple ‘whois’ domain name search. The whois search will list the contact’s (registrant) name and email address.
It’s easier to negotiate directly with the registrant of the domain name if the name doesn’t link to a website or email address. When negotiating, don’t sound too desperate or pushy, it’ll only raise the asking price!
If the domain name is not being used and is close to expiry, it may be prudent not to contact the current registrant, as this may arouse the registrant’s interest in an otherwise dormant domain name. In this case, you can do one of two things.
- Let the domain name expire and wait for about 45 days after the expiry, which is when the domain should become available to register again.
- Place a back order with the domain name’s registrar (the domain name registration company).
Option 1 is risky as you don’t know who else is interested in the domain name and may register it before you. Option 2, at least lets you bid for the domain name, even if others have placed back orders on the same domain name.
If you are successful in obtaining the domain name, it’ll be a good idea to register it for multiple years, up to 5 or even 10 years. This way, you won’t be at risk in losing the name because you forgot to renew. Domain names are pretty cheap to register, so it’s always a good idea to buy a domain name for multiple years.
If for whatever reason you’re not successful in obtaining your desired domain name, all is not lost. You could try variations of your company name with either the name of a main product or service you offer, or include the name of the industry you are in. In fact, doing this will improve your search rankings on the search engines because your domain name is more specific. You could also try hyphenating a domain name to give it more clarity and at the same time get a domain name close to the one you originally wanted.
Finally, if you are a UK business, it may be better if you hosted your main site on the .co.uk extension, as this shows your visitors/customers that you are a UK based company.