What to Do If Your Domain Name Is Already Taken

Starting an e-commerce business is your dream. You are so serious about it that you decide the name of your business and proceed to register your business online.  However, the moment you enter your preferred domain name in the domain search option, you find that it’s not available.

So there’s already someone out there who owns your dream domain name. Nothing can be more frustrating than this as that name was perfect for your business. Isn’t this usually the case?

Finding an available domain name that’s perfect for your business can be tough

Whether you’ll get the exact domain name you prefer depends on your luck. Perhaps the person who bought it, isn’t using it and the domain name is up for sale. The domain name could also be available on domain name auction sites. Many people make a living by squatting on domain names.

Another option is to choose from available domain names. E-commerce solution providers like Shopify let you do a domain name search and help you domain name options that are currently available.

If the domain name you’re looking for isn’t available, here’s what you can do to find an alternate solution.

Get Over Your .com Obsession

The obsession with dot com: What’s in a name?

Most people in the e-commerce space have a preference for .com domain names. Each one of them wants a .com at the ends of their business name.

You probably have already realized that many of the .coms aren’t available. So, you can consider a different TLD for your website like .org or .net. In fact, your registrars would ask you to opt for suffixes like .biz or .info as well.

Here, in this case, you may have the option of keeping the brand name intact. However, the problem with using alternate extensions is the fact that there is a risk of your customers forgetting your domain name extension altogether because of low exposure to TLDs of that sort. They might go to the .com version by default, and you might end up losing traffic.

However, .co, .net, .me are quite commonly used these days. Make sure you keep a tab on the .com extension and buy it as soon as it becomes available.

Can You Change The Name A Little?

If your preferred domain name is not be available, perhaps only the version with the exact spelling you have in mind is taken. For example, if you find that ‘stylishsilverjewellery.com’ is unavailable, you might find that ‘stylishsilverjewelery.com’ is available. You can try different variations of the same domain name with different spellings until you find an available name. However, this has a risk.

Even when a .net, or .biz  or a slightly tweaked version of your domain name is available, it’s not always a good idea to use it. Using a domain name that is very similar to one that is already existing can lead to infringement issues. When you’re using the same or a similar name, you’re violating someone’s trademark rights. Check if there’s trademark to the name you’re planning to use. Acquire it yourself if the trademark is available, which takes us to the next point.

Know Your Rights

If you have managed to acquire the trademark or if you already have a physical business and you want your business name and domain name to be the same, then you probably can use your trademark to your advantage.

You acquired the trademark first and so you’ll be considered the legal owner of the brand name. If you have been using the name for business before the domain owner did, you might be able to stop the owner from using it, and perhaps acquire the domain name too.

You can file an infringement or a cybersquatting lawsuit.

Buy The Name

Domain names are bought, sold, and auctioned. If the domain name you want has a website that is already up there and is being used by the owner actively, chances are slim that you’ll get it. However, if the name is not being used, you can try and locate the owner and buy the domain name from him. You can also buy it from one of the many auction sites. You may want to check out a website such as gandi.net, for example, to look at a domain name purchase so you can see what would be suitable for you and go from there.

Buying domain name from the owner or auction site is the best thing to do. By doing so, you become the sole owner of the domain and there is no chance of infringement problems.