Fred Schebesta, Mentor

How do I snag a good domain without paying top dollar?

Fred Schebesta /

Getting the domain that you want requires a mix of buying, selling and sometimes being creative.

 

No doubt about it, buying a domain you might want can be pricey, especially when you have to buy it from the “still living with their parents” kid who thinks it’s still 2001.

 

Auctions

 

Auctions work, fair and square, at Finder.com.au we have bought quite a few domain names at auctions. I think you will pay a fair price at an auction if you have a reasonable seller.

 

Do some research on the site before you use it, as I have had a personal experience where I purchased a domain name and the seller reneged. I didn’t have to pay the money, but I never got the domain name I wanted!

 

Private Sale

 

To solve this one, I suggest three options: buy, swap or be creative. Let’s break those three options down looking at their pros and cons.

 

Buy

  • Hunt down their email address with ‘whois’.
  • Email them from a new Gmail account and make them a reasonable offer.
  • If they ask for a silly amount of money, negotiate and say to them, “I’m a serious buyer who is willing to pay a fair price if you want to come to a deal.” After psyching yourself up and doing some research on what you think is a fair price, make them an offer.
  • If the price comes down but isn’t quite what you need, continue to negotiate. What you need to realise here is that they don’t care about this obscene figure because it only costs them $12.50 a year to keep the domain registered and, before long, someone with a bit of money is going to come along and buy it. So you need to bring this into the real world and show your human side.

The other thing is that their suggested figure after some negotiation might actually be reasonable if you have a great business that can leverage it. Try and remove the emotion and think as best you can if this is the domain you want, to make your business successful. If they still want something offensive for the domain, move onto step two or three.

 

Swap

  • Sometimes the domain you are trying to buy is owned by someone who isn’t leveraging it in the way that you intend. In this case, the reason why they might not want to sell to you is because they don’t have an alternative option to move their business to. They can’t quite visualise what their business would be like without that domain name.
  • So, you might need to create that vision for them and show them how they could actually benefit from a different domain name. You might have a domain name you could offer to swap to so they can continue business.
  • This might be a deal sweetener or might be just the deal.
  • I have heard of some people registering better domain names for their business and swapping it with that company!
  • If this doesn’t work, move onto step three.

Get creative

 

Let’s work through some scenarios and creative solutions:

  • If someone owns the domain name and just won’t sell, you can add something to the start of the domain name. For example, “get” for getCoolBikes.com.au; “a” for aSchoolBag.com.au; “my” for myCreditCard.com.au; “buy” for BuySkis.com.au.
  • Similarly, you can add something to the end of the domain name. For example, “now” for TicketsNow.com.au; plural “s” for CoolShirts.com.au; a numeral “1” for Software1.com.au; “secrets” for MakeMoneySecrets.com.au; remove a letter for Flowrs.com.au; spell the word phonetically, as in Koopons.com.au. You can also use an alternative suffix, such as .net.au, .com, .tv, .biz.
  • If someone has the company name you registered, there are legal channels you can take to get your business name. AuDa has a process that you can follow. They have a dispute resolution scheme set up where you will get an independent assessor to look at your case. There is quite a bit involved, so you will need to do your research or get a lawyer.

There are many ways you can go about securing the perfect domain for your business – just remember to buy, swap or get creative.

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Fred Schebesta

Fred Schebesta is the chief executive and co-founder of finder.com.au, one of Australia’s largest financial comparison websites.