How to Buy a Domain Name That Is Taken

Consider the following: You’ve finally come up with the perfect name for your LLC, but there’s just one problem. That domain name is already spoken for, leaving you to find out how to buy a domain name that is taken or even question whether such a feat is possible.

Fortunately, it is! Below, you’ll learn how to buy a domain name that is taken and gain an understanding of some factors you need to consider before you drop your hard-earned cash on someone else’s domain. 

Can You Buy a Domain Name That Is Already Registered by Someone Else?

Yes, you can buy a domain name that someone else has already registered. The process usually involves some negotiation and potentially working with a domain marketplace or broker, but it is still entirely plausible. You can look at it like buying a house that’s not for sale; it’s all about making the right offer to the current owner.

Nevertheless, the primary thing you need to know about how to buy a domain that is taken is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. If the current owner isn’t using the domain, they may part with it for a pretty low price, whereas if the domain belongs to a company that has already built a strong brand around its current website name, they might not be willing to part with it at all. 

Is It Legal to Buy a Domain Name That Is Taken?

Once again, the answer is “Absolutely!” Buying a taken domain name is perfectly legal, provided you do so legitimately. It’s crucial that you respect copyright and trademark laws, ensuring you’re not infringing on someone else’s intellectual property. Otherwise, you set yourself up for a legal battle you don’t want.

With that in mind, once you’ve got your sight set on a domain name, do some research. Find out whether any other brands have a claim to that name or trademark. If the domain name is contested, you might want to pass on the purchase, no matter how badly you want the name. 

5 Steps to Buy a Domain Name That Is Taken

With the questions out of the way, here’s how to buy a domain that is taken:

Research Domain Availability Using a Domain Registration Website

As an initial step, conducting research can provide you with valuable insights. Begin your quest by checking the availability of the domain name. Use a reliable domain registration website to see if it is currently in use or listed for sale. 

In the same vein, give the domain a quick Google search. Just because it doesn’t appear on Google doesn’t mean it’s available, and either way, it’s a wise move to see what kind of visibility a domain has at the moment.

Contact The Current Owner to Inquire About Purchasing the Domain

Tracking down the owner of a domain name might sound tricky, but it’s actually pretty simple. Use a database like WHOIS to identify the owner and reach out to them. 

Drop them a friendly and professional email expressing your interest in purchasing the domain. Be clear but courteous; don’t bring up the price in your initial email, as doing so can kill the negotiations before things get going. Your initial contact is merely about expressing interest and introducing yourself. 

Typically, the domain owner will present a figure in their reply or tell you that they simply aren’t interested. You can use these insights to determine whether a deal is possible or if the two of you are simply too far apart regarding price. 

Work With a Domain Broker to Negotiate With the Current Owner on Your Behalf

If directly contacting the domain owner seems daunting, or if you can’t track down their information, consider working with a domain broker. These professionals work specifically in negotiating domain sales and can, therefore, be instrumental in navigating complex discussions, especially for high-value domains. 

Consider Alternative Domain Extensions or Variations of the Desired Domain Name

If the current owner won’t budge, or if they are asking too much for the rights to the domain, consider an alternative. Our list of LLC name ideas can serve as inspiration for your domain name, and while you’re at it, make sure you consider and explore alternative domain extensions like “.net.”

Wait for the Domain to Expire and Attempt to Register It Once It Becomes Available

One last strategy is to simply play the waiting game. Monitor the domain to see if it expires and becomes available for registration. Of course, such a strategy requires patience and a bit of luck, but it can be a viable option, especially for less active domains. That said, if a domain is inactive, you can probably purchase it relatively cheaply. 

What Factors Should You Consider Before Buying a Domain Name That Is Taken?

Before you buy a domain, consider the following factors:

Search Engine Optimization Potential

Consider the search engine optimization (SEO) potential of the domain. Keywords in the domain name can boost your search engine rankings, making it easier for your target audience to find you. For instance, if you sell flowers, buying a domain name that includes the word “flowers” can help with your SEO efforts.

That said, you’ll still need to put in the work to achieve and maintain a high SEO ranking. Every bit helps, and having a keyword built into your domain name will give you a slight edge in the fight for customer attention. 

The Domain’s Age

The age of a domain can also impact its SEO value. Older domains are often viewed more favorably by search engines, so if the domain has a history, it might be worth the investment. 

That isn’t to say that newer domains aren’t valuable, of course; it’s all about your business model and what you are trying to achieve. If a domain perfectly matches your legal business name, investing in the domain can be a great investment!

Relevance to Your Business or Website

Ensure the domain name aligns with your brand, product, or service. A relevant domain name can enhance brand recognition and credibility. 

If you haven’t already formed an LLC or other legal business entity, do that first. You don’t want to purchase a domain only to find that the business name you wanted to pair it with is already taken. Additionally, remember that your legal business name and domain don’t have to be an exact match; you can also make your trade name or your slogan your domain name.

Market Value

Determine the market value of the domain. High-demand domains can be expensive, so weigh the costs against your potential return on investment. Doing so is especially important when launching a new venture. You don’t want to drop thousands on a domain name before you’ve proven your business model.

On the other hand, don’t assume that a domain name is out of your budget, either. Reach out to the owner and find out whether they are willing to sell the domain and what they are asking for it. 

Potential Costs

Be prepared for potential costs, which can range from reasonable to quite steep, depending on the domain’s desirability and the level of sentimental value attached to the domain. Set a budget, but be moderately flexible if you’re certain the domain is a perfect fit for your brand. 

If you aren’t confident in your negotiation skills, you can enlist the services of a broker, as mentioned earlier. However, keep in mind that they charge a service fee, which will drive up the cost of the purchase. 

Should You Buy a Domain Name?

Now that you know how to buy a domain name that is taken, you may still have a question on your mind: “Should you?” 

While you can have the same business name as someone else, you can’t have an identical domain. What that means is, in some cases, buying a new domain for your business can be a great option. Your decision will boil down to what you are willing to pay and what the other party is asking.

Whether you’ve already got the ideal domain name in mind or are in the early stages of planning your venture, it’s important to legitimize your entity by forming a limited liability company. At doola, we provide LLC formation services designed to take the hassle out of starting your business. Check out our solutions and business resources today. 

FAQs

How do I find out who owns a domain name?

You can research a domain name on an online database. Generally, the owner’s information will be publicly available, so you can reach out to them yourself. 

How long does it take to buy a domain name from someone else?

The answer depends on how interested the person is in selling. You may be able to complete the transaction in as little as a few days to as long as several months. 

Can I use a trademarked name in a domain name?

Using a trademarked name in a domain without permission can lead to legal issues. 

Is it possible to acquire a domain name through legal means if the owner is not using it?

If a domain is not in use, you can attempt to buy it from the owner, but you’d still have to claim it. 

Can I buy a domain name through an auction? 

Yes, high-demand or expired domains are often sold through online auctions. 

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