How To Buy A Domain Name From Someone In October 2020

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 8:28 PM ET Thu, October 15th 2020

Shopping cart for buying a domain name from someone.

When you have the perfect domain for your website in mind, it can be heartbreaking to see that someone else has already taken it. There are several options for a domain buyer in this case, such as back ordering the domain or choosing a different top-level domain. However, each of these options comes with its own drawbacks. It’s often best to attempt to buy the ideal domain name from the person who currently holds it. That raises the question of how to buy a domain name from someone.

Four Steps To Buying A Domain From Someone Who Already Owns It

The process for how to buy a domain name from someone depends on the purposes of the owner. In theory, it’s as simple as making an offer the owner will accept. However, there are several steps to take before reaching the owner and settling on a reasonable value. The first step is identifying the current use of the domain.

Identify The Purpose Of The Domain

Generally speaking, there are two ways that someone will hold a domain that they own. The first is that it will hold a website that’s in active use when you visit it. On the other hand, you may see an empty page, a placeholder, or a redirection to a domain auction site.

Active Use

When your desired domain name already holds an established website, that may be a dead-end. A domain owner who’s invested time and effort into a website will be much less likely to sell, or they’ll value the domain at a much higher price, particularly if it’s a high-value domain to start with. While the saying goes that everyone has their price, the price for a domain that’s in use will likely be too high.

If your heart is set on the occupied domain name, you have a few other options as to how to buy an already-owned domain name. However, they’re not guaranteed to work and you may be well advised to choose a different domain.

Inactive Domain

If the domain is inactive, then you have good prospects for being able to buy the domain. If someone else bought the domain for their own use but hasn’t built the website yet, they may part with it at a reasonable price.

However, it’s more likely that the owner bought the domain with the intent of reselling it. In this case, you might be able to search an auction site and find that the domain is up for grabs.

Find The Owner

Before you can buy a domain name, you’ll need to find the owner or a for sale listing. It’s possible to find the information of the current domain registrant, the person who owns the name, by using a WHOIS service. These services access the registry to seek out the personal information of domain owners, such as name and email.

While the listings contain other information, the email is all that you truly need. However, many domain name owners use an add-on to hide their information on these registries. While this may be an indication that they’re unwilling to sell, it’s also likely that they prefer selling domain names through more formal channels. Even when it’s impossible to find the contact information of the owner, explore the auction sites and see if you can find the domain listed.

Many registrars such as GoDaddy operate their own auction sites, which offer added transactional security. Other independent auction sites such as Sedo and Namecheap hold a large following with millions of registered domain names, as well.

Assess The Value Of The Domain

After finding the owner, it’s important to set a limit on what you’re willing to spend. However, you can’t set a limit for your negotiations without being able to assess the value of the domain. There are a few key metrics for assessing the value of a domain:

  • Conciseness
  • Presence of Popular Keywords
  • Age
  • TDL
  • Generic Status
  • Brandability

Conciseness refers to how short a domain is. The shorter a domain is, the more valuable. Keywords are important for search engine optimization, which makes keyword-rich domains more valuable. Older domain names are more valuable than newer names as a rule, and some top-level domains, the word string at the end of a domain, are more valuable than others.

For instance, a .com is more valuable than a .org or .net domain. A generic name is one with universal applicability over an entire industry, such as ‘internetsecurity.extension’. Finally, brandability refers to how short and easy to remember a domain name is, which makes it easier to build a brand around. There are no hard and fast rules on the value of a domain, so you’ll have to see what similar domains are going for on auction sites.

Make Your Offer

The final step in how to buy a domain name from someone who already owns it is making the offer and closing the deal. Now that you’ve found the owner and you have an idea of the value of your desired domain, you can make an offer. Negotiation will often be necessary, and the owner may request a price above what you’re willing to spend.

How to Buy a Domain Name From Someone: Alternative Options

When it proves impossible to buy your ideal domain, there are other ways to get it.

Backordering A Domain

Many registrars offer back-ordering services wherein you can automatically purchase a domain as soon as it expires. However, this is contingent on the owner allowing it to expire and is not reliable.

Dealing With Cybersquatters And Typosquatters

When you have an established brand and someone registers a domain in bad faith to profit off of or damage it, you can seek restitution legally. ICANN offers the UDRP process, while the ACPA allows injured parties to go after cybersquatters and typosquatters in a court of law.

Buying A Different TLD

Even when your preferred domain isn’t available, you can choose a similar one. While .com top-level domains are highly trusted and recognizable, .org is also reputable.

How To Buy A .org Domain Name

Buying a .org domain name is as simple as choosing a registrar that offers them and searching for your domain name under the .org extension.

VPN.com Premium Domain Brokers Can Help

Instead of hunting down a domain and fighting to get a fair price, you can turn to our expert domain brokerage team. Here at VPN.com, we have years of experience assessing domain names and negotiating, as well as deep connections that grant you access to millions of aftermarket domains. Give us a call, and we’ll help you find your perfect domain.

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