How to buy a domain name from someone else

It can be a little frustrating when you formulate an ideal name for your business only to realize that the corresponding domain name is already taken. It’s even worse if your search shows that the current owner doesn’t seem to be using it.

Don’t give up yet. It could be possible to get that coveted domain for yourself still.

Here are some of the key tips on how to buy a domain name from someone.

1. Do your Research

Researching helps you understand the state of the domain and the website behind it. First, try to visit the website to see what’s contained in it. There are four probable outcomes you might get via this search:

  1. You might find that the domain has an already established website for a small business, a large corporation, or a trademark. In this case, it is very unlikely to get that domain.
  2. Your might get directed to a blank page that gives you an error message. This is an indication that the owner is yet to set up a site for that domain. We still have hope
  3. Next probability is finding a parked site that’s hosted by a registrar. The site could also have a banner indicating its domain is on sale.
  4. Lastly, you could bump on a site that has only a little content or an unmaintained website. You may get indications of old posts and design. It is an idication that the owner of the website lost his/her interest. This would be a good indication that the owner will be open to any purchase offers.
domain readily available for sale

domain readily available for sale

parked domain likely available

Parked domain likely available

If the site at hand has no content or is parked, there’s a high probability that the owner doesn’t bother much about developing it. In such a case, the owner might be willing to sell the domain if given a reasonable price. However, if the site is already established or is a trademark, chances of convincing the owner to sell the domain to you could be significantly lower.

Trademark research

This one step is important for any domain you are trying to register. If you register a domain name with a trademarked term, the trademark owner can pull you into legal battles. So, search here for any related trademarks:
Trademark search tool of USA government is a good start

domain trademark search

domain trademark search

Examples of trademarked terms are qrcode, excel.
So if your domain idea is or, it is better looking for domains that does not contain those words.

Refer: List of court cases that involved domain name trademark infringement

2. Check the details of the domain owner on Whois

In this step, you should try to find out who’s the current domain owner. ‘Whois’ is the service to assist you find key information about the current domain owner. The service provides you with details such as their email address and name. Here are the list of top whois services that will fetch the whois details of the domain for free:

By simply typing the full domain name on, you’ll get the domain’s public information that includes the registrant’s contact details. This information might give you a crucial lead that assists you reach the owner.
These are the key pieces of information you look for in the whois data:

  1. The name, email address and phone number of the current owner
  2. The domain expiry dates.
domain whois with privacy

domain whois with privacy

Whois privacy block

Some web domains would have masked their original owner details from the whois records with a ‘proxy’ name and address. This is to protect the owner’s contact details from spammers.
Still, there will be an email address listed in the who is records. Try contacting that email address with a humble request and it should get redirected to the actual owner of the domain.

3. Contact the current domain owner for a deal

After researching with Whois and getting the contact details of the current domain owner, it’s time to inquire whether they can sell the domain to you. You’ll need to have excellent negotiation skills if you’re to succeed in convincing them to close the deal. This becomes even tougher for you if the owner is in no urgency or need to sell off the domain. Here are some of the key negotiation tips that will help you reach a better deal;

  • Strive to first know the owner and give them time to warm up to you before making your offer.
  • Be reasonable with your offer and be prepared to compromise.
  • Ask for a price range instead of a fixed amount.
  • Be polite and friendly in your communication.
  • If the owner accepts your offer, decide on the safest payment method for both of you, preferably using an escrow, before transferring and confirming the transaction.

    Wait and watch method: Monitor the domain in case it expires

    In buying used domains, timing might mean everything for you. You’ll need to wait on the wings hoping your preferred domain expires and that the current owner fails to renew it. Alternatively, you might want to consider seeking the services of companies that offer wait list services where you pay a fee to get prompt updates regarding the availability of your ideal domain. If you’re lucky, you might grab the domain on expiry and end up with your dream domain name.

    Buying a domain on auction places

    Domain available for backorder

    Domain available for backorder

    When a domain nears expiry, it becomes available for auction on sites such as NameJet and GoDaddy. When using these sites, you’ll need to place the minimum possible bid on your targeted domain. This gets you to another stage known as Back Order. If you’re the sole bidder at the Back Order stage, then the domain becomes yours upon expiration. However, the process goes into the auction stage if several others join in the Back Order. Crucial tips to observe when buying domains on auctions include:

    • The bid amount is likely to rise as the auction end time approaches
    • Decide the maximum bid you want to invest, in the beginning itself, to avoid yourself getting pulled in to a ‘bid war’.

    In conclusion, Just because your preferred domain name is registered by someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it’s out of reach. If you’re determined to get it and willing to pay a little extra, you might succeed in owning the domain.


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