Like many small business owners before you, in a burst of inspiration, you come up with an excellent online business idea. As you start to imagine the many ways you will spend your first million, the entrepreneurial spirit motivates you to take action immediately. The first step? Registering a domain name for your new website. However, when you search for the perfect web address, you find that it is taken.
In a flash, your small business hopes and dreams burst like a soap bubble. What do you do now?
Before you toss your small business idea in the bin, there are options for those who find that the domain they need is taken. See our list below of the most popular options to make your website dreams come true.
Consider a gTLD.
If the .com domain you wanted to register is taken, there are hundreds of additional options for you to consider. Many website owners avoid missing out on the perfect domain by registering an alternative web address like .net, .site, .info, .biz, or even .shop. If you are creating a website for a physical location, you may want to consider a geographic domain like .nyc or .london.
Attempt to purchase the domain.
Note that this will not be the most budget-friendly option. If the domain you would like to register is taken and available for sale, you will most likely be asked to pay much more than the going rate. You may be able to barter for a one-time fee, however many domain holders charge a yearly fee that is subject to change at any time. Be very careful when dealing with domains and be sure that you read any contracts very carefully.
Rethink the domain you need.
Is there a way to make slight changes to the domain you need while achieving the same goal? Be sure that you do not infringe on copyrights when making such changes. Also, be sure that any changes you make do not harm the chances of website visitors landing on the correct website. Misspellings and phonetic domains can be confusing for first-time website visitors.
If you own the trademark, challenge the domain.
If you happen to be looking for a domain that matches a business or brand that you have previously trademarked, then there are options for you to contest the domain registration through ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). According to trademark law, the first individual or organisation to use the brand is considered the owner. If you can prove that the brand belonged to you first, then there is a chance that you could win. Take note that these processes can be arduous, but may pay off in the end.
For more information on ICANN policy concerning trademark infringement, please see this article.