It’s late at night, you are sitting lost in thought and thinking about the best domain name for your business or project. And then it happens: you finally have it. You hastily open up your browser yearning to have it registered in your name only to have your hopes crushed because the domain is already taken.
So, what should you do when that happens? In this article, we are taking a look at three different methods how you can painlessly get a great domain name even if your number one choice is not available.
Alter the Name
The simplest way how to get over the hurdle of domain name availability is to slightly alter the name. You can use dashes, letters, and numbers to produce countless different variations of the same thing until you find something that both available and looks good. Good examples include using “the” before the name (that’s how facebook.com started before they purchased their current domain name), adding “hq” at the end (basecamp.com used to be basecamphq.com), or using “try” and “get” for products and services.
Just be careful and don’t make it too similar to an existing domain name. The owners could sue you for trademark infringement, and chances are that your young domain wouldn’t stand a chance in the dispute, especially against a large corporation.
Use Alternative Domain Name Extension
These days, there domain name extensions are so numerous that listing them all here would be very difficult and time-consuming. Just look at Wikipedia’s list and see for yourself. You either use one of the original top-level domains (.com, .net, .org, and other) or go with something that feels a bit fresher and descriptive. The generic top-level domain (gTLD), such as .museum, .travel, .food, .club, can help you stand out from the crowd and be remembered.
Don’t be afraid that these new domains won’t be respected: Google and other big search engines don’t count them as a deciding factor, unless they are associated with a certain locality (.de, .cz, .sk).
Purchase or Acquire the Domain
If you decide that you really need to have the domain name you’ve came up with, you have to options: you can either purchase the domain or try to acquire it using the dispute resolution procedure offered by ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
Domain names are sold and bought just like any other commodity, and you can either contact the owner directly and make an offer or use an online broker to act as a middle man. Be prepared that some owners will expect outrageous money and may not be willing to negotiate.
In case you already have a business with the same name as the domain you want to acquire, you might have a good chance of winning a dispute. This is especially true if the domain is not actually used and the owner is just holding to it for the possibility of future monetary gain.
Domain name may seem like a critically important part of your online identity, but it rarely is. Successful companies and businesses make certain domain names sound great; not the other way around. What’s much more important is to have a consistent online presence. Finally, it’s great idea to check whether your name is available on social media sites, before you go ahead and register it.