How to Buy a Domain Name That’s Already Registered
Selecting the right domain name for your website is one of the most critical aspects of establishing yourself online. Your domain name has to be engaging enough to catch the eye, evoke your business in the mind’s eye of anyone who sees it, and memorable (and pithy) enough for easy recall.
What do you do when you’ve picked out a name and selected a hosting provider, but your perfect domain name’s already been registered by someone else? Sure, you may have access to other domain suffixes like “.biz” or “.net” or even “.tv”, but if you’ve got your heart and mind set on getting YourSite.com when someone else already owns it, you’ll need to enter the world of aftermarket domains.
Registered domains that don’t have a website associated with them have often been purchased by speculators who are banking on making a profit from buying a name they hope will be irresistible to a future purchaser. In the early days of the Web, speculative purchases gave rise to such shenanigans as URL (uniform resource locator) hijacking and “typosquatting.” These terms refer to the purchase of a domain name in order to strong-arming a company or person into purchasing a site with their name (or the name of one of their properties), as well as the (slightly) less nefarious practice of purchasing domains with spellings that are very close to, or deliberate misspellings of, well-known domain names in order to collect information, install malware, or—yet again—force a business owner into purchasing the domain. Thankfully, these and other cybercrimes have become the target of serious prosecution.
Today, domain names have reached a level of commoditization that means most folks who buy up a bevy of names are more likely seeking a modest profit than malicious mayhem. Domain brokers and auction sites are as easy to access and use as eBay, and using one is, for most, much more attractive than trying to track down the individual owner of a domain on their own and work out a deal. These sites add some much-needed security and accountability to the process, protecting both you as a customer and the domain vendor from fraud or other chicanery. You may also be able to access after-market domains through your hosting provider, depending on the features they offer.
If your chosen domain name is an essential part of your brand and company, then it’s worth the time and effort to investigate these services in order to obtain it.
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