Buying Domain Names From Others

Domain names have strategic and symbolic value to companies. With the digital savvy age upon us, having the right domain name to represent your startup is relevant for public relations.

If your desired domain name is taken, do not despair as domain names can be bought from other people in what is called the domain aftermarket. There are entities that buy good domain names and sit on them until a buyer comes knocking to make a purchase. This is known as domain squatting.

Follow these steps to secure your desired domain name.

Finding the registrant

To find the registrant of the desired domain name, you need to do a WHOIS lookup. This utility is used to find or check information on any domain name. It is easily done by going on their site and typing out the domain name of desired website. This utility provides the registrant’s details, domain expiration date and date of registration. If the registrant details are incomplete, you can contact the registrar to make an update. Certain registrants may want to keep their information private and may not make them available. In such a case, you may visit the registrar’s website for the information.

Making an offer

Once you’ve found out who the registrant is you need to correspond with him and negotiate a purchase. Aftermarket buying of domain names can be done directly and there is no intervention from domain registrars. Make sure the registrant is not making active use of his domain name. If it is being put to use then it will be difficult to persuade him to sell his domain name. However, if not, chances are he is a domain squatter.

Bargaining with a domain squatter is delicate process. Buyers must realize that these people essentially buy domains to make a sale in the future and their pricing might be high. Revealing how important his domain name is to you might not be a good idea. Here are a few tips that might help you buy your desired domain name.

  • Domain names have an expiry date and needs to be renewed after a period of time. An offer at such a time will provide the registrant with an ‘out’ and encourage him to close the deal quickly.
  • Domain names can be bought after the lease on them expires, and isn’t renewed. However you must be willing to wait that long.
  • Be courteous and negotiate in good faith with the squatter. Remember, he is not obligated to deal with you.

The city of Hamilton in Ontario purchased the domain name for $700, for their website about the Dundurn national historic site. Generic domain name prices may go up to a million dollars or more.

Buying domain names is a painstaking process and costs you a ton of money. Be sure it’s worth the effort. If the registrant of the desired domain name is a corporation then you should hire a lawyer, for their expertise in negotiation.