When you look up your favorite idea for a domain name, it’s often disappointing to discover that it’s already been registered. Sometimes it was picked up years ago, has been dropped, purchased again, and subsequently left to expire by several previous owners. Other times, it’s had one careful owner throughout its registered life.
There are different ways to handle a domain name when it’s already registered and you still want it. Let’s explore the options available to snatch it up.
GoDaddy has taken it upon themselves to create a situation where domains that were registered using their registrar services become their property after the domain hasn’t been renewed. It’s a highly controversial situation that remains unresolved, but GoDaddy now auctions off domains that weren’t renewed in time.
Not every domain owner lets a domain lapse on purpose; sometimes they do not see the email reminders, they’re away on vacation at the time, their payment card information is out of date, or they didn’t update their contact information on the domain when they changed email accounts.
To learn more about how you can use GoDaddy auctions to pick up a domain that’s still registered technically, but can be purchased at a premium to make it your own, check out Hosting Kingdom for more information.
The second method is to look up the WHOIS information for the domain. Some of them have their owner information made public while others are private and hidden behind proxy ownership. Even with proxy ownership, there’s an admin email contact that can be tried.
In many cases, for older websites, the contact information could be out of date. Even trying to use the contact form on the website (if it’s still live) may not send an email correctly if the technology has been updated and this invalidated the form. Reaching the owner using their snail mail or telephone number on public records is usually the most effective, but also more time-consuming to do.
There are several name-dropping services that monitor domains until they’re expired and available to register again. At that point, the service attempts to automatically register the domain on your behalf before anyone else can do so. This is a touch-and-go situation because there are several such services all competing to register the domain first.
There’s no guarantee that the current owner will let the desired domain expire anyway, but it provides a type of insurance policy that should it become available down the line, you may get lucky. Just be aware that the domains you’ve listed with this kind of service could end up being grabbed several years later when you no longer want them – and you’ll still get the bill.
Obtaining a domain that’s already been registered takes time and some perseverance. A generous offer to the current owner may be enough to secure it, but you never know. Also, be aware of any registered trademarks or patents relating to the name before buying it.