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Owned Doesn’t Mean Unavailable – Get the Domain Name You Want

account_circle Network Solutions Team
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Key Takeaways:

  • When looking into an owned domain, it’s important to understand the owner’s position.
  • Search for relevant information using WHOIS.
  • Paying a high price for the domain you really want is often worth it. is taken. You took the time to come up with the name, and you even imagined telling your friends, family and customers to go to your new website at that URL. Worse yet, you may have already invested in trademarking or marketing material or you might have had a business and social media presence using that name for years. But someone else owns it. Oh well.

Oh well? You can’t give up just like that. After all, if you drove by your perfect dream house, one that matched everything you wanted in a home, would you give up on the idea of buying it just because it was owned by someone else?

Well, you might, especially if there’s no ‘for sale’ in the yard. You don’t know what kind of person owns the home, or if they are even interested in selling it to you. That feeling of uncertainty applies to domains in the same way as real estate. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can go about looking into an owned domain. But before you get started, it’s important to know the common types of domain owners and sellers to be aware of when you’re looking to purchase one.

Common Types of Domain Owners

The first type of domain owner is one who has not even considered selling their domain. As Director of Product Management Anna Piatyszek says, “If they’re like your average American homeowner, they’ve probably never thought of putting it up for sale, and they’re probably using it, enjoying it and loving it. To get in contact with them will be tough, right? Because they’re not advertising the name is for sale. And then once you get in contact with them, you have to convince them to give up their home.”

As another example, you have your average first-time domain seller, who, like a first-time home seller, probably lacks selling experience. They may have purchased their domain name for a marketing campaign that didn’t succeed and might now be looking to put it up for sale without knowing how or where to sell it. There might not be any indication that their domain is for sale to begin with.

There is also the possibility that your preferred domain is owned by a domain investor. Like home investors, who often purchase homes to flip them for a profit, these investors buy domain names and put up parking pages to advertise them. In cases where they aren’t advertising your preferred domain name, they may be sitting on it because they see potential in the name and are speculating that one day they can sell it for a high price.

Securing Domain

What to Do Next

You know that your preferred domain name is likely owned by someone who falls into one of the above categories. So what’s the next step? First, search for your preferred domain name, to see if it’s available for sale. If it isn’t, that’s OK – you can still search for the owner’s contact information using our WHOIS search tool.

In addition to enabling you to contact the domain owner, the WHOIS record will also tell you if the domain is about to expire, which is valuable information when you’re trying to acquire it.

One other factor to consider is the privacy afforded by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While GDPR hides the owner’s contact details, the information listed for privacy purposes will likely forward to their actual email.

So, even if the domain owner’s information is hidden by GDPR, there is a good chance you will still be able to contact them to inquire about purchasing the domain. This is also the case if the information is masked by a privacy service. If this option doesn’t work, you should also try looking for contact info on the website itself.

Don’t Give Up

When it comes to acquiring your preferred domain name, always remember that owned doesn’t mean unavailable. The person who owns the domain may be willing to sell, whether they are advertising it for sale or not. In many cases, a domain may have fallen into disuse. If so, the owner likely hasn’t thought of selling their domain name and would probably love to get some monetary value out of it. In that scenario, your purchase offer will be well received.

In cases where the domain is listed for sale but the price seems to high, remember that the seller’s price for the domain is a one-time fee. The ongoing renewal cost will be at the lower standard rate offered by whatever company you choose to manage it with — typically less than $40. A $3,000 investment in the perfect domain is probably less expensive than many other marketing avenues, which means paying that initial price for your preferred domain is likely a wise investment.

If you exhaust all possibilities and avenues for purchase and still can’t acquire the domain you want, remember that there are professionals who can help, including brokers, who operate in the domain aftermarket. Above all, remain focused on the positive aspects of the domain hunt and be patient. You wouldn’t expect to purchase the home of your dreams in an instant, so why should your preferred domain name be any different?