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How To Buy A Domain That’s Already Registered In 2019

Moeez — November 14, 2019 7 Minutes Read

Your domain name is important.

Not only is it a crucial component of your brand, it serves many practical reasons and it also makes it easy for people to find and share your website with others. As such, you want your domain to be easy-to-remember.

However, with over 1.7 billion websites in existence, there is a good chance that your dream domain name has been registered by someone else.

Learn How To Choose The Perfect Domain Name and Hosting for Your Blog

Does that mean that you should move on and pick another domain? Not yet.

In this article, we will take a look at how you can buy a domain name that is already registered with someone else.

Aftermarket Domain Names

A domain name that has been registered by someone is called an aftermarket domain name or a secondary domain name. If someone has already registered a domain name, there are two ways for you to purchase it:

  • You can buy it once the current registration expires.
  • You can purchase it from the owner.

Why It’s Worthwhile to Seek Out Aftermarket Domain Names

When you set up a website, your web hosting provider will likely offer you a free domain name with the purchase of a web hosting package. So, why go through the trouble of seeking out aftermarket or secondary domain names? And, why wouldn’t you take the easier route of opting for another easy-to-remember domain name, but with an alternative extension (e.g., .tech or .space)?

Well, the right domain can be hard to find.

Because there are so many websites in existence, a memorable domain name that reflects your brand is likely taken. Furthermore, you might have seen alternative domain name extensions, such as .tech, .space, or .me. But, the assumed extension for most sites is .com, which (again) limits your options considerably.

Remember, a domain name should be memorable and brandable.

It might take a bit of work for you to purchase exampleCo.com, but if that means you don’t have to settle for exampleCompanyUSA.com, it’s worth it. The first option is shorter (and therefore easier for visitors to remember and use) while still retaining your brand’s name fully.

(Imagine if you had to use AmazonTheEverythingStore.com instead of Amazon.com!)

How Much Are Domain Names Worth?

When it comes to domain names, its price depends on how much it is valued on the internet marketplace. Per Sedo, a marketplace where you can purchase secondary domains, the average cost of a secondary domain name is $1839.

However, if this sounds steep to you, know that most sales (47%) cost less than $500, which tells us the average cost is driven up by several (very expensive) outliers.

So what are the factors that influence how much a domain name is worth? In general, the higher its commercial value, the more you’ll have to pay to take possession of it. Things increasing a domain’s commercial value include:

  • Its use of valuable search engines keywords
  • It’s ranking in search engines
  • The amount of traffic the domain gets

However, don’t just take the word of the seller regarding a domain name’s retail value. Before you commit to purchasing a domain name for a high price (or any price, really), we recommend that you check its historical sale prices using tools like NameBio.

Moreover, you should know about possible discounts or coupons some hosting providers offer along with their hosting services so that you don’t miss a chance to buy a domain name for as little as $0.99, for example.

In general, we expect growth and the price of a domain name to increase over time, but you should be wary of any spikes in price that cannot be explained.

Price Gouging and Other Nefarious Behaviors

In the past, there were a lot of malicious folks who squatted on names, driving up prices, and then making a hefty sum since the supply of high-quality domain names were diminishing.

Sometimes, the malicious parties purchased domain names they speculate will increase in value in the future. They might also engage in typosquatting, which is where they purchase domain names that are mistyped versions of commonly-used domains (e.g., amaazon.com or amzon.com).

Bigger brands sometimes purchase these domain names to help “catch” traffic that would otherwise fall through or prevent malicious parties from using these URLs to help spread malware. Because these actions are important for preserving the company’s public image, the owners of the mistyped URLs will sometimes try to gouge the company during the buying/selling process.

Luckily, those days (for the most part) are over, and online marketplaces where you can bid against others for domains tend not to be opportunities for others to price gouge. They are also much more secure and trustworthy than in the past.

Buying Aftermarket Domain Names

Buying an aftermarket domain name is not a complicated process. But you might have to invest time and effort into tracking the domain name and working with the current owner if it isn’t currently listed for auction or isn’t expiring soon.

The following sections will walk you through some precautionary steps you should take before purchasing a domain name, as well as how you can obtain your desired domain name.

Test the Domain Name

Before you buy a taken domain name, we recommend doing some testing and research into its past to see what prior owners have done with it, whether Google (or other search engines) have levied penalties against the domain name due to abuse perpetrated by prior owners, and so on.

Some of the things we recommend you do include:

  • Review its ownership history: You can review historical Whois records to identify who has owned the domain name in the past (assuming the owner did not opt for domain name privacy to mask their personal information)
  • Check its internet history: Using the Wayback Machine, review the site’s history. What type of content did the website contain? What industry or business was it affiliated with?
  • Check if there are any Google penalties involved with your domain name: Google penalties are the search engine’s way of punishing sites whose marketing practices are not liked by Google. Using the penalty-checking tool of your choice, you can see if the prior owners of your domain name have engaged in questionable practices that caught Google’s attention.
  • Conduct brand-related inquiries: Check to see if there are any brand-related issues with the domain name. For example, was the domain name used by a questionable business? If so, the presence of this history might be problematic for you in the future.

Find a Marketplace or Middleman to Facilitate Your Purchase

There are many different places from which you can purchase your desired domain name.

Marketplaces and Auctions

Owners whose domain names do not expire in the near future can sell their domain names on marketplace sites like Sedo, GoDaddy Auctions, or NameJet. More specifically, these options are auction sites — you can think of them as the eBay of domain names.

Sedo.com Auction Board

sedo website

Generally, you can search for a domain name which you are interested in. If available, you can place a bid, and if yours is the highest when the auction ends, you become the domain name’s newest owner.

Escrow.com

escrow website

Escrow.com offers buyers and sellers a safe way to conduct domain name transfers. Escrow.com holds onto the funds until the transaction is complete, protecting both the buyer and the seller against fraud.

JustDropped

justdropped website

If you are interested only in domain names that are expiring (which can mean that you do not have to pay a premium to purchase them from the prior owner) JustDropped allows you to:

  • Watch for domain names that will be expiring in the near future.
  • Search for domain names that have expired in the past:
  1. 1 hour
  2. 4 hours
  3. 24 hours
  4. 1 week
  5. 30 days
  6. 60 days
  7. 90 days
  • Search for domain names that expired on a specific date (this is useful if you’ve had your eye on a domain name for a while and you know when its registration expires)

SnapNames

snapnames website

Finally, there’s SnapNames, which offers multiple aftermarket domain name services to its customers. Their domain backorders process allows you to order a domain name (regardless of whether it’s available, registered, or about to be auctioned), and SnapNames will attempt to acquire the domain on your behalf.

SnapNames also offers traditional auctions, though it’s not free-for-all since SnapNames’ staff hand-pick the domain names available for purchase. Rather than forcing you to wade through a sea of available but not great domain names, SnapNames only gives you high-quality options.

The domain brokerage option helps you gain rare or premium domain names. SnapNames asks you what you want (and how much you are willing to spend) and attempts to negotiate a deal with the current owner that will be acceptable to both them and you.

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Summary

Domain names are a key component of your branding — it’s one of the first things a visitor interacts with when visiting your site. It should be easy-to-remember and easy to type as well, but because there are so many websites in existence, there’s a good chance that the domain name you want has been registered already. This article, though, showed you how you can buy a taken domain name of your dreams — even if someone else has already registered it.

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Moeez is ‘The’ blogger in charge of WPblog. He loves to interact and learn about WordPress with people in the WordPress community. Outside his work life, Moeez spends time hanging out with his friends, playing Xbox and watching football on the weekends. You can get in touch with him at moeez[at]wpblog.com.

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