Sometimes, as a brand and business, you might just have to buy a domain name from a domain owner. This, in fact is the present reality as most good domain names have already been registered.
Choosing the right domain name for your business isn’t something that should be taken lightly as a good domain name may be the one thing that you need to transverse the murky waters of e-commerce. READ 7 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A DOMAIN NAME.
According to Verisign, there are 332.4 million registered domain names. Of that number, only 172 million are active sites. This number usually fluctuates between a value of 10-15% of all the websites in the world, which currently stands at over a billion. How about the rest? Well, this is where I officially welcome you to the world of the domain name aftermarket where deals are made every day.
So, even though your domain name may have been registered by someone else, do not worry as many people flip domain names for profit. This guide is here to give you steps and tips to follow if you want to buy a domain name from a domain owner.
1. Search for the name at a domain registrar
Chances are this is the point where you first discovered that your ideal name was already registered. When searching through a domain registrar like Godaddy or a marketplace like Afternic, if the owner of the domain you want has listed the name for sale, you’ll see a premium price next to the name.
This premium is only paid once. Once you gain ownership, the domain name can now be renewed at a normal price.
If this is the case and the price is within your means, you can easily click on the buy now button and fill out the necessary information to initiate the transaction.
After the deal has been completed with the seller fully paid and the name transferred to you, congratulations, you are now the official owner of that domain name. This is usually the easiest route to follow when trying to buy a domain name from a domain owner.
However, if you got the infamous, “This name is unavailable” and you’ve searched the different marketplaces and you couldn’t find a listing of the domain name you are interested in, then it’s time you girded up, as this is where the real work starts.
2. Go to your address bar and type in the domain name
Maybe, you searched for a domain name at a domain registrar and you can’t quite tell if the name is for sale. In this case, you’ll have to type the domain name into your browser and go directly to the address. Here are several outcomes to expect
- The domain name is on a developed site: If this is the case, try to contact the website owner via the contact page indicating your interest in acquiring his/her domain name. If there’s no For Sale banner on the website, chances of you getting a positive response might be slim.
- The domain name goes to a parked page: Parked pages are one-page, no-content websites, filled with ads and a For Sale banner on the site. Clicking on the banner will either show you a Buy It Now (BIN) price or a contact form where you can send in an offer to buy the domain name from the domain owner.
- The domain name does not resolve: What this means is that nothing comes up when you type the name. Mostly, this is as a result of the domain not pointing to any nameserver. If this is the case, it’s time to find the domain owner’s contact details.
3. Do a WHOIS search
If the domain isn’t listed for sale on a registrar or domain marketplace and there’s no link to contact the owner through the site or the name simply doesn’t resolve, it’s time to do a WHOIS search to find out who owns the domain.
WHOIS is a domain name directory that contains relevant information about any registered domain name. Here is how to do a WHOIS search
- Go to WHOIS.com
- Type in the full domain name into the WHOIS search bar. Make sure to include the extension without any space. For instance: example.com
- Click on search
A search through WHOIS and will result in the display of the owner’s name, email address, phone number and home address. Other information may include the domain name registrar where the name is registered, date of registration and expiry.
But, some people may have their info protected by a privacy protection service either by choice or by the recently passed GDPR by the EU. For instance, here is the privacy protection on Folio365.com when you do a WHOIS search on it.
You can see that instead of our contact information being displayed, you only see that of the privacy protection service, in this case, the contact email is a long string of chararcters ending with @folio365.com.whoisproxy.org
So, to contact a domain owner who is using a privacy service to protect his/her details, you will have to go through the registrar by sending an email through the email listed on the privacy service. Once received, the mail will be forwarded to the domain owner.
4. Make contact and make an offer
So, you’ve finally gotten the contact information of the domain owner, or the registrar contacted him/her for you. Now is the time to make an offer to buy the name.
Sending an email to the owner, asking how much he wants for the name, without including your offer in the email, will probably get you nowhere.
This is because some domain name owners get inquiries every day and won’t respond to no-offer emails. In such cases, either the owner ignores you completely thinking you aren’t serious, or he sends you a ridiculously high price to get you off his back.
Also, making a low ball offer of $10 or even $50 for a name well worth at least $5000 won’t work either.
Prepare to make a fair offer. For a domain name worth at least $5000, you can start negotiating from at least $1500 to $2000. Maybe, you and the owner may finally agree at a price point of $3000 to $4000.
So, be ready to negotiate if you really want that domain name especially if it’s a common phrase, name or word as those run into really high premiums ranging from some hundreds of thousands to well over several millions.
Shop our portfolio for a creative domain name for your brand
5. Use a brokerage service
Like I just mentioned, some names come at really high premium prices. For instance, Slots.com sold for $5.5million while Carinsurance.com sold for as high as $49.7 million.
So, if you find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with such high priced names, it is advisable to hire a broker. Ideally, a broker will help you negotiate better with the domain owner. Some brokers charge a fixed price while others may insist on a commission.
While you may incur some additional cost going with a broker, the benefits are totally worth it. You will save both time and energy. And what more, you are more likely to get a better deal with a broker than without.
6. Always use an escrow service for payment
Never ever pay for a domain name via a wire or bank transfer especially for high value domain names. There are several escrow services around like Payoneer Escrow, Escrow.com. Even domain name market places like Undeveloped, Sedo, Afternic all offer escrow services.
With an escrow service, you pay a third party to oversee the transaction. The simple mechanics of how an escrow service works is
- You and the domain owner reach an agreement
- You pay into the escrow account. The escrow service notifies the domain owner of payment.
- Domain owner transfers the domain name to you and notifies the escrow service of the transfer.
- You notify the escrow service once you receive the domain. The escrow service releases payment to the domain owner.
Well, like all things in life, nothing is ever sure. We are all victims of time and chance. Maybe after trying all these steps to buy a domain name from a domain owner, you still met a dead end. Don’t give up. It’s time to consider some alternatives.
1. Wait for the name to expire and place a backorder
Fact of life: Domain names expire every day. Another fact of life: Not all of them are great. This is simply because people safeguard the great domain names they have with auto-renewals. But once in a while, some gems make it through the crack. And this is where backorders come in.
A backorder is a way to put in a request for a domain name, should it ever expire. There are several backorder services like Namejet, Dropcatch etc. who can help you backorder a domain name (for a small fee).
It’s important that you understand that backordering a domain name doesn’t necessarily mean instant success. This is because domains don’t just drop the day they expire. There are several days of a grace period given to the owner to renew the name before it becomes open to the public. And more often than not, the name gets renewed (especially if it’s a great name).
So waiting for a name to expire and backordering it is what I call the wait and see approach. And the chances of successfully getting a name this way is slim to nothing as people rarely allow good domain names go.
2. Go for an alternate domain name extension
I am a proponent of .com. I strongly believe that it’s the king of the domains. But, if you really must use a specific domain name because it fits your brand or business and you can’t get your hands on the .com, you can register the name with a different extension.
For example, rather than homeloans.com, consider registering home.loans (those examples are already taken by the way). HERE IS HOW TO REGISTER A DOMAIN NAME
Buying a domain name from a domain owner can be done. The question is, “What’s a good name worth to you?”
We are a team dedicated to ensure that you have an all-round great experience on our website. From helping you pick a great domain name from our portfolio, to guiding you through the payment and domain transfer processes, we will be with you every step of the way.