A good domain name is one of the factors contributing to the effective branding of a startup. However, finding an awesome domain name for your startup is not as easy as it seems to be. Domaining is a big industry; as per VRSN (a global leader in domain names) reports back in 2016, there were 326.4 million registered domain names worldwide.
So, when it comes for a startup founder to look for a good domain name, they find that almost all good domain names have already been taken and they feel in the middle of nowhere to look for another domain name that goes well with the startup idea.
Let me first tell you that the domaining industry is full of Cybersquatters (people who violate an existing Trademark or buy typos of a brand, either to extort it or damage the brand reputation. Being a startup founder you have the right to get all the domain names that are legitimately yours through a process called the UDRP (an ICANN policy under which you can get a domain that should rightfully belong to you).
On the other hand, not all the domaining business owners are cybersquatters and in fact, they are the most reasonable people to do business with. They are legitimate businesses who have a big investment in domains, are not breaking any law, and they sell genuine domains.
The first step is to look whether your desired domain name is available or not. It’s easy if it is available, but you need to conduct a vigilant search when your desired domain name is already taken. Prior to reaching-out to the domain owner, you should consider getting the answers of following questions:
1- Is the domain up for sale on any popular domain marketplace (Flippa.com, Sedo etc.)? If so, for how much is the asking price?
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3- For how much have similar domains names been sold for recently? You can check this on Flippa or DNJournal.com
4- What should be your offer price?
Well, the price of a domain name varies depending upon who owns it, i.e. an individual who bought the domain for personal use, domain investors who bought the domain as an investment, or a company that bought a domain to potentially use one day. So, you need to find the type of owner first and you can do it simply with a WHOIS check for the domain.
If the domain owner is listed as a person (and not a company) and owns a few domains, it’s very likely to be an individual. If the domain owner is listed as a company, check the company name in Google and investigate what company’s core business is and it will give you a clear idea of their purpose of buying this domain. And, if the domain owner is listed as a person or a company with hundreds or thousands of domain names, he is certainly a domain investor.
5- What should be the strategy to reach out to the domain owner?
While looking for the type of domain owner, you should already be able to find the contact details. Now you need a strategy to make an offer. There can be three possible scenarios and you have to decide how you are going to tackle.
- In case, if it’s an individual; the price is likely to be less, but he may have some sentimental values with the domain name so your negotiation plan should involve the psychological element.
- In case, if it’s a domain investor, you should consider it the best case scenario because they’re in real domaining business, their pricing will be very much fair and you can get the best price with negotiation.
- And the worst case scenario, when the domain is owned by a company who had some plans for it because these companies expect million dollar deals!
The Bottom Line:
Finding the right domain for your startup is not difficult, but a bit tricky. All you need to do is to conduct a proper research based on above criteria, and you will surely make the best deal!