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How to Buy an Unavailable Domain Name (step by step)

If you try to register a short domain or one with good keywords today then usually this domain name is already taken. When that happens you are frustrated that someone else was faster and ruined your idea.

But can you still buy an unavailable domain name? In many cases, you can still buy an unavailable domain since many of them are owned by investors that seek profit from their resale. Even if there is a site online using the domain name, you have chances of buying it when the main use of it is rare blogging or a pretty empty of content website.

Let’s see what steps you should follow when a domain is unavailable and also what to do if you don’t manage to buy it after all.

1.) Visit The Domain Name

The first thing you need to do is actually visit the domain name you want. If you see ads, errors or banners that the domain is for sale (ok that is obvious) then these are very good signs that you can actually get what you want.

As I said previously there are many people that buy domains with the intention to resell them. In the meanwhile, they usually put some ads so they can get some revenue.

If you see that there is an existing site then the chances of getting the domain are less but still, you can try contacting the owner to the details you will find on contact us or about us page.

2.) Use a Whois Site to Find Details of The Owner.

If the domain has ads or it is unresponsive and you don’t see any contact details or a form to submit then you should use a whois site (ex With the recent changes with online privacy by the European Union, you will probably not see the contact details there every time.

In that case, you will see a link like that in Registrant Contact details: “” and you can put the domain name here to search for details.

On the other hand, if you see “Registration Private” in contact details then the owner of the domain has paid to hide his details and most likely he is not interested in selling his asset.

Another trick that might reveal the owner’s details is checking and see if there was a live site in the past. You might be lucky and find the contact details in some previous version of the site since has snapshots of websites even 20 years back!

3.) Contact the Owner to Find his Intentions.

If you were lucky enough you have the email of the domain owner, the next thing is to compose the email to send. You should be polite and ask if the domain name is for sale and what is the price. If you don’t get a response within one week it is a good idea to resend the email since there is a chance that it went in the spam folder of the owner’s inbox.

This how your email might look like:

Hi {Owner’s name},

I saw that you own the {domain name}. I am {your full name} and I am interested in buying it.

I would like to know if the domain is for sale and what is the price.


{Name, title whatever adds up in reputation}

Since domain name owners receive many emails from spammers it should be very clear that a real person sends it or else there is the fear that the owner will never respond.

If the other person responds with a price probably it will look too high in your eyes. If you have the patience then you can for sure achieve a very good price comparing with the starting point. Keep in mind that some domains cost thousands of dollars when they contain dictionary words, they are short or have keywords that users type a lot on google with strong commercial intent.

Here is a list of the characteristics that define a domain name value:

1.) Length – The shorter domains have a higher value than longer ones.

2.) Traffic – This is one of the most crucial factors. If the domain gets a lot of traffic you can have more ad revenue and attract more customers.

3.) Keywords – Along with traffic, this is one of the most important factors. If the domain has keywords that people type on Google or dictionary words that you can brand easily then the value can be many thousands. Keep in mind that for example, has much less value than

4.) Commercial intent – Some keywords worth more than others. Some hot industries/related keywords are finance,insurance, education, health and legal services. The profits in those industries are larger, the money they spend online for advertising on google are more too so the domains with related keywords cost more too.

5.) Domain extension – .com is by far the king here. The value for .com domains is at least 10x for the same keywords in different extensions. In my personal opinion, if you are going to spend big on a domain, you will do it for a .com one.

6.) Language – English words are always more valuable than the rest languages since you have a global reach with this kind of domain.

7.) Brandability – This one is really hard to judge but if a domain can be pronounced nicely or contains some catchy phrase even if people don’t search for it on google then it can cost a decent amount of money.

You can check here the biggest sales of all time to see what I am talking about : .

4.) Watch out when the Domain Expires and backorder the Domain When it is Close to That Date.

This trick doesn’t always work but sometimes people for different reasons forget to renew their domain name. Maybe their business was bankrupted and renewing the domain name was the last thing in their mind. Check the expiration date in any whois related site and if it is close to this date then you can try it.

There are many sites online that you pay a fee to get a domain name that is about to expire. If it really expires then they try immediately to register it for you. Be prepared that if there is a lot of demand for the domain you will end up competing with other potential buyers on an auction. Some sites that offer this kind of service (backorder) are namejet and snapnames.

5.) Check any Potential Trademark Issues that Might Help you to Get the Domain name.

If the domain name is identical with your brand name and you have actually trademarked then you can try the legal way of getting the domain name. You can’t do that with generic terms like,, etc but only with very specific words or phrases. Please consult a lawyer, in that case, to get the best advice possible.

What to Do if The Domain Name is Taken and You Can’t Buy it.

If the owner, after all, doesn’t want to sell his domain name then you need to be more creative and search for alternative names. The first thing you can do is to add some other word in front of the name you want or after that.

Some words that can be used at the beginning of the domain name are: “go”, “join”, “get”, “my” ,”the”,”at”, “try”, “choose” , “best” , “buy” . Here are some words that can be used at the end: “company” ,”usa”,”world”, “hq”, “planet”, “genius”, “online” .

The other option is to choose a different extension if .com is taken. Many sites are successful with different domain extensions like .net but the bad thing is that internet users connect a domain always with a .com extension. The things are better with local extensions (.uk .fr .in etc) so you can use those if your business targets specific areas or countries.

There are over 1000+ domain extensions but the majority of them are not successful and the normal internet user is not familiar with them. Although there are some exceptions and some sites are well-known even if they use those alternative domain extensions. For example, a lot of startups use these domain extensions: .io .me or .co.

If you have a budget to spend it is not so bad idea to hire a domain broker to find the ideal name for you. This process will cost you enough money but you will have an experienced person to show you a lot of available domain names and guide you on the full process.

What NOT to Do if the Domain Name is Taken

Do not use a free subdomain of a site like or . You don’t really own the site in that case. It doesn’t seem professional when you are trying this kind of solution.

Don’t get too discouraged since the main driver of success for your online business is the effort you put, the content in the site and the overall user experience you provide to the end-user.