There are almost 2 billion websites on the World Wide Web today. However, only about 650 million of those sites are currently active.
So, what happens when you come up with a brilliant domain name, and it’s already taken? What happens if you’re already operating under a business name and the domain belongs to someone else?
Let’s get into how to buy a domain name when it has another owner.
Identify the Domain Name’s Worth
What’s in a good domain name? A lot of money, actually. Premium domains can command anywhere from a couple hundred thousand dollars to several million.
Think of it like real estate. Instead of owning a tangible home, you own a piece of property online. And if that online property generates enough traffic or interest, it’s going to be a considerable investment.
However, unlike real estate, each property is exactly one-of-a-kind. You can purchase a yellow home with 2000 square feet and a white picket fence all around the world. But you can’t buy duplicate domain names.
Since domain names are inherently unique, you need to approach their valuation as such. While the market arbitrarily may set the value, the buyer and seller also play a role in purchasing power.
Most domain names with single words (like furniture.com) or popular, short phrases will fall under the high-value category.
These can easily cost six to seven figures. Buying a domain name at this price tag only makes sense if you’re sure this ownership will guarantee you a lucrative ROI.
Less-common words or phrases fall under this mid-range category. The words are typically easy to remember and spell. The average cost for ownership could range from a thousand to up to $100,000.
Today, more and more businesses are transitioning away from the standard .com into more creative domains, like .net, .io, .co, .me. This is largely due to the competitive nature of securing a viable .com domain.
Sites that don’t use .com inherently have disadvantages. It’s harder to remember, and companies may have to use more marketing efforts to promote their site awareness.
Other low-value names may include particular niche names that have a smaller audience appeal.
Do Your Research
There’s a possibility other owners have bought-and-sold the domain name before. You should examine the history and the prices to determine it’s worth.
Your research can be both quantitative and qualitative. For example, how much traffic do you anticipate generating? What’s the highest price you’re financially comfortable paying?
Finally, how appealing is the particular domain name? Do you tend to gravitate towards a smaller, niche audience? Or, are you aiming to attract customers all around the world?
Contact the Owner
First, you’ll need to find out who owns your desired domain. Several online databases list the owner, email, and contact number behind the site. Browse through these to find the information you need.
However, you should know that this information isn’t always accurate. Some owners use privacy services or don’t update their information on a regular basis. They may be using old, outdated websites or contact numbers.
That said, it’s typically worth it to try reaching out. Most people use forwarding services, so you may still wind up in their primary inbox.
You may have to spend some time digging to find the domain owner. Keep in mind that it’s always best to reach the owner directly. If it’s a company’s website administrator or a marketing rep, you’ll probably be ignored.
Negotiate and Collaborate
First, check to determine if the owner is interested in selling the domain. Find out if he or she has a general asking price.
Then, the negotiation process begins. At this point, you should have already done your research. You know the ballpark range this site would typically cost.
Negotiation may feel scary, but it doesn’t need to be. You already know what you want. Now you just need to demonstrate confidence and assurance to obtain it.
For a lower-value domain name, you might try with an initial, low-bid offer like $1000 and see what happens. The owner may be eager to get the domain name off his hands. Or, they may be willing to throw you a higher offer to see how serious you are.
Either way, keep in mind that this is a low bid. It should be significantly lower than the price you intend to pay. However, it should not be so low that it potentially insults the owner.
For a higher-value domain name, on the other hand, this approach won’t likely work. Chances are, the owner receives multiple requests on a routine basis. You’ll need to ask the owner for the initial pricing and then move into the negotiation strategy.
Pay and Transfer
Did you reach an agreement? Congrats! Now it’s time to pay the owner and facilitate the ownership transfer.
Ideally, you’ll want to use a third party to help with this process. This provides you with natural protection, as domain transfer scams can and do happen often.
Many marketplaces offer platforms for providing domain name sales. You can also use services that temporarily hold the money until the name is accepted and approved. This provides a peace of mind for both the buyer and seller.
Final Thoughts On How To Buy A Domain From Someone Else
Learning how to buy a domain is essential if you have your heart set on a particular name. That said, you’ll need to devote your time to research and strategizing to garner the best results. You’ll need to practice your communication, negotiation, and collaboration skills.
Stuck on coming up with a domain name for your business? We’re here to help! Check out our beginner’s guide today.