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What to Do If Your Domain Name Isn’t Available

Congratulations, you have finally decided to get a website for your brand. You have taken perhaps the best and biggest step toward creating a digital footprint for your business or personal brand. You have a domain name in mind that’s short, accurate, and memorable. And so, you go online to purchase your perfect domain… only to find out that it is already taken.

To be fair, it happens to a lot of people nowadays. That’s because it’s a known fact that:

  • 100% of domains with two or three characters are taken
  • 100% of the top 10,000 family names are taken

Yet you need a domain that best represents your brand and rightfully so. It’s the gateway to your website, which is your most important digital asset.

So, here’s what you can do if your domain name isn’t available.

Consider a Different TLD or Extension

Ask marketing consultants and they’ll tell you to get a .com domain. The main reason is familiarity. As of the last quarter of 2017, over 131 million .com domains have been registered. People know that the .com represents a website domain. But in the event that it’s not available, you may also consider other top-level domains (TLDs) or the extensions.

  • .net – While it was intended to signify network, it’s been used by many people as an immediate alternative to the .com. It might work for you if your business is network-related.
  • .org – If you’re building a website for an organization, this is a great option.
  • .ph – Need a website for your local business? Consider a .ph (Philippines). These extensions are known as country code TLD (ccTLD) and are typically used for websites intended for a local audience. You can also try the .com.ph extension.
  • .co – According to research, most people associate .co with the word corporation or company. Essentially, it’s a shorter version of the .com and is being used by younger brands.
  • Others – You can also consider newer TLDs that convey something about your brand, such as .club, .site, and .me.

Be Creative and Go Beyond the Brand Name

In the event that your brand’s name is taken even with other extensions, you might want to consider using a different domain in combination with a .com. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Brand Tagline – Let’s take Nike as an example. The shoe and apparel giant may opt to use their famous tag line “just do it” and turn it into justdoit.com (it actually exists and redirects people to their official Nike.com website).
  • Verb + Brand Name – If the .com for Pumpkin Cakes is taken, maybe BuyPumpkinCakes.com and TastePumpkinCakes.com are still available.
  • Location + Product / Service – Using the business location and product / service as a domain is a common strategy for businesses whose official registered name may not properly convey their products or services. For example, if a fictional XYZ Marketing company sells desktop computer parts in New York, it might make more sense to use NewYorkComputerParts.com than the brand name.

Try to Buy or Reclaim the Reserved Domain

You can purchase domains that are registered but are obviously not being used by the owner. You can search their contact information on Whois.net and start from there.

In the event that you think the registered domain is a violation of your copyright, it is also possible to file a dispute. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, processes such disputes. If that doesn’t work, you can take the route of traditional court systems and file a case.

Best Option: Prevention, Being Proactive

Trying to buy or reclaim already reserved domains can be arduous, but being creative with the domain name and the considering other TLDs are better options. So what’s best option in this case?

Be proactive.

If you have a business in mind but you’re not sure if you’ll push through with it, the best thing to do is to buy the domain today. Securing your web domain starts with being proactive. It’s a small price for the insurance of having the domain when the time comes.

Jason Bartoli
Jason Bartoli

"Jason is the best person you'll ever meet here. He's just a ray of sunshine. An adventurer, businessman, and has a 4.9 Uber rating. Lovely person inside and out. I say, go message him" - My Mom

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