Choosing the right domain name is one of the most important things you can do to insure your success on the internet. But sometimes you just can’t get the exact domain name that you want. Early in internet history, forward thinking individuals saw the potential in the domain name market and bought up huge blocks of domain names to resell later at a profit. Some of those names have sold for thousands of dollars! However, with all the alternatives available today you’re sure to find the right combination to make your domain memorable and recognizable.
As of 2006 there were 50 million .com domains registered. 100% of 2 and 3 letter combinations were taken as well as 80% of 4 letter but only 8% of 5 letter combinations. This bodes well for your domain name if you would like to name it after your business or the product or service you sell.
You can use alternative extensions like.net or.biz but if you are working out of Canada you really should go for the.ca extension. Creativity is the key to getting the name you really want. Let’s say that your business is called Jeff’s Bakery but jeffsbakery.ca is already taken. You can try jbakery, jeffbakes, jeffs-bakery, or another variation.
If all of those are taken you can always try using your logo or company slogan. Jeff’s Bakery might have the slogan “we bake the sun up” so you could go for bakewiththesunrise.ca, jeffbakeswiththesunrise.ca or even bakewithjeff.ca. Be creative but keep it as short and memorable as possible. You could try jeffscookies.ca, jeffscustomcakes.ca or even jeffstreats.ca.
You could also backorder your name. Backordering is like reserving a book at the library; when the patron is done with it-or if they fail to renew the domain-you’ll be first in line to claim that domain. Even if you are tenth in line, you’ll have a good chance of getting the domain name you want. Backordering is often successful because internet businesses fail, people lose interest in their domains, they no longer make that product or offer that particular service or maybe they just can’t afford a renewal fee. When they lose the domain, you’ll be ready to snap it up!
You can also check the domain auctions that operate like any other auction. You can see which names are available, choose the variations you would like to have and try to win the auction with a high bid.
If the exact domain name you want doesn’t appear to be available there are several ways you can get a domain name that is descriptive, recognizable and memorable. It just takes a little creativity and some patience.
Buying Expired Domain Names and How to Ensure You Get the Domain Names You Want
Of course as the web got more popular and more people began to see the value of good domain names things began to get a little harder.
Expired Domain name Companies
In this discussion I will be mainly concentrating on the .com TLD as this is the biggest and by far the most valuable extension available. As we speak the total number of registered .coms has crossed the 70m mark and so you can imagine, finding a good quality generic domain name can be a slow and painful process.
All 3 and 4 letter combinations (that includes numbers) have gone and the majority of English dictionary words to. This is why you should consider the world of drop catching expired domain names.
I still believe that there is hope and if you are armed with the right knowledge and time you can still pick up expired domain names that in my opinion are grossly undervalued.
The allocation of .com domains are controlled by a body called ICCAN, (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization with contributing members from all over the world. The duty of organizing the release of the domain names was handed to Verisign, a company that has become very rich on the back of its contract with ICANN.
The process of domain name registration changed dramatically with the introduction of drop catching companies that help you acquire expired domain names but more about that later.
Lets look at the basic process involved with registering a domain name.
Registering a domain name
A person as the right to register a domain name for a time period ranging from 1 -10 years. If the domain name is not renewed by the required date it then enters the position known as the grace period. The original owner still has the chance to re-register the domain but must do so within a set time period. During this time the domain name is still unavailable to register.
If the domain name is not re-registered in the allotted time it is made available to the general public and becomes one of the many expired domain names in a process now known as the drop.
It is very unlikely that even if you knew when a expired domain was about to drop that you would get it by simply trying to register it. There are several companies that specialize in this field and can afford to implement sophistication drop catching software to help in the process, they even have contracts with registrars such as Network Solutions to allow first choice of all available expired domain names.
The most popular companies in the field are: Pool, Snapnames and eNom and I would advise you to set up an account with all three of them to ensure you have a better chance of getting the domain you desire. All the above companies allow you to backorder any and as many of the currently registered domain names and this service is totally free.
You will find that they can supply you with a list of pre-release and pending delete names and this can run into the thousands.
This is where the money is, consider this expired domain names list like a gold mine, all you have to do is dig out the nuggets and hope nobody else has spotted them. Of course you will find that you are not the only one to have spotted these little gems and so the domain is often placed into a closed auction and sold to the highest bidder.
These are closed auctions so you must do your homework and get your bid in before the drop or you will not get the chance to bid in the auction for that domain.
You should find that the price you pay in these auctions is significantly cheaper than dedicated auction sites such as Sedo and Afternic. The art of course is knowing the worth of expiring domain names before the auction starts and stick to your target. Many people get carried away in this situation and let the process become personal, this is a big mistake and only leads to over inflated prices. Set your budget and stick to it.
So remember, if you have your heart set on a particular domain name or want to get into the domain name acquisition business you must involve the big expired domain names drop catchers in your plan or you could be watching your dream name disappear for another 1-10 years. Trying to manually capture good quality domain names is near on impossible these days so be warned.
Also if you are interested in a particular expiring domain name it might pay to check which registrar the domain is with as they may have their own agreements with different companies in terms of expired domain names, drop catching, for instance, Network Solutions has an agreement with Snapnames for all its domains and Godaddy has setup its own drop service.
Isn’t it a pain when you cannot find the domain name you really want? It’s likely that you can find it; it’s just that someone else has already been there. All is not lost though, and even if you can’t quite get the exact one you’d like, there are a couple of options to consider.
1. First, if you’re really desperate to get the exact one you want, try and find out who the current owner is by doing a search at whois.com. Your chances may not be 100%, but nonetheless, it’s worth a try. The domain owner may not have registered a whois “guard”, and will therefore have their contact details displayed for the public at large to see. Often times it is wise to use the guard for privacy matters, but not everyone does. If you can see who owns the name, you may be able to get them to sell it to you. But beware; depending upon the domain’s popularity, there could be a very high price tag on it.
2. Can you settle for something close? For whatever reasons, if it’s a no-go for you to get the exact name you’d like, if it’s more that one word, consider hyphenating the name, or possibly trying a dot biz, org, net, or similar. This may not be as efficient as the original domain name, but it may be the only option you have.
3. Choose and register a domain that’s more in the generic format of what you want, what you niche is. Then you can simply add an extension to it to look like closestdomain.com/domain. I would strongly recommend that you try and contact the site owner of the original domain name, with your intentions, as it may be that they’ve spent a lot of money running campaigns for page ranking and traffic for the exact domain you had in mind. If this is the case, then again, you’ll have to modify it slightly