Everybody is after domain names these days whether its for a website or just an email address to demonstrate credibility. A domain name shows ownership, helping to prove that you are independent of any free web hosting or email service. If you have a domain name in mind for your business, it would be a wise move to secure it before someone else does.
So what can you do if someone already registered the domain name you want? You generally have two options: come up with another name or try to purchase the domain from the owner. The results you get with the latter largely depends on why the domain name was registered. Domain speculators, more commonly known as cyber squatters, often purchase domains for the sole purpose of selling them off to the highest bidder. Believe it or not, some have made a lucrative business out of this practice. Companies have paid hundreds to millions of dollars for hot domain names. One example is Pizza.com which sold for $2.6 million this past April.
In some cases, domain names are purchased because a company or individual wants to establish a legitimate online business. The cold hard facts are that if someone has registered your ideal domain name, you may have no other choice but to go with something else. There are however, instances where a third option can be exercised. United States courts have mandated that trademark holders are able to claim specific domains even if someone else registered the name first. Assuming Toys R Us has their name trademarked for instance, if they run across a site using this for a domain name, they would be able to take legal action and seize control of it. If you experience something similar, you may be able to claim your domain which will also depend on what type of name it is and how its is being used by current owner.
Because .com reigns supreme on the internet, there is a good chance that your preferred name may not be available with this extension. In this instance, you might want to consider another top-level domain such as .org or .net. While these extensions don’t have the familiarity of .com, they still make solid alternatives. You also have other options as several alternative TLDs have been approved over the last few years. If you have to choose another TLD, be sure to read the accompanying explanations so you know just who qualifies for what extension.
Another option you have for registering your domain is to use an extension that associates with your country. Two of the most popular extensions are .de in Germany and .ca in Canada. The country of Montserrat sells its .ms domain for around $50 per year while domains in the United States can be registered with the .us extension at no cost. These domains are more likely to be available yet are not well known. Furthermore, domains with a us. extension are also required to include city and state extensions such as mycompany.detroit.michigan.us. If you are looking for a catchy name that is easy to remember, this obviously wouldn’t be the way to go.
To find out if your domain has already been purchased, visit whois.com or a major registrar and perform a search. If its still available, don’t hesitate to secure it.