Getting A Domain Name That’s Already Registered

Blacknight - the Domain Name AftermarketChoosing the right domain name for your business is, arguably, one of the most important decisions you will need to make.

If your business domain name isn’t easy to remember or easy to spell, then you will lose traffic. If you lose traffic you lose sales.. no sales = no revenue etc., etc.

Choosing a “clever” domain name might not be a very intelligent choice.

If you can get a good domain name that is available for registration, then you probably don’t need to read any further, but unfortunately it’s not always possible. Sometimes you need to pay a little bit more to get the right domain name for your business.

So what are your options?

If you do a search over on our domain name suggestion site you’ll find available domain names that are semantically related to the keyword(s) you’ve used ie. they should be meaningfully linked to the concept that you were interested in. So if you searched for “winter” you’d probably get back domain names that included terms like “frigid” or “cold”.

But what if the domain name you really want is already registered?

There are several options. Companies like Sedo list domain names for sale with prices starting below €100. Depending on what kind of domain you’re interested in the prices will vary greatly, but if you’re buying via Sedo then you can feel very confident that the transaction will be smooth and secure. We’ve acquired domains through them several times in the past and their service is very good.

Of course the “holy grail” is getting *the* domain name of your dreams. Contacting the current registrant and negotiating a sale can be quite a complex and potentially dangerous process. If you agree to acquire a domain name on your own there are no guarantees and things could go wrong. For example, I acquired the domain via Sedo a couple of years ago. If I had contacted the registrant directly they might have hiked up the price, as it’s obviously worth more to me than to someone called John.

The solution is, of course, to use a domain name broker. These are professionals who broker domain name sales and acquisitions for a living. They’ll work with you to acquire the domain on your behalf and then help transfer the domain securely to your registrar of choice.

Why use a broker?

A broker is a neutral 3rd party. When they’re dealing with a domain seller they’re able to approach the entire transaction objectively. They’ll know what kind of prices domains are achieving, so they’ll be able to advise you whether the price is right or not.

Once you’re able to agree on a price for the domain name then the broker can act as a “go between” the seller and the buyer (you) to make sure that the transaction is as painless as possible.

Buying a “previously owned” domain name will cost you more than registering a “fresh” one, but the benefits are obvious. An older domain name might have existing traffic, backlinks, pagerank etc., as well as being easier to market than the options you have available for “fresh” registration.

How much you’ll pay will vary considerably, but domains can go for as low as €50 to as high as several million (think!), though the average price is going to be in four figures.

Questions? Let us know via the comments.

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10 Responses to Getting A Domain Name That’s Already Registered

  1. Eddie January 6, 2012 at 16:35 #

    I’m a bit puzzled to how Sedo works. I searched for one of my own domain names just now and it comes up that it’s for sale for $10,000 – it’s not for sale, and I don’t imagine it being worth anywhere near that figure if it was. Any enlightenment?

    • Michele Neylon January 6, 2012 at 16:37 #


      What can happen is that a domain gets listed, expires (or is sold elsewhere) and the listing isn’t purged. So, for example, you can find domains listed for sale on various marketplaces that might not even be registered 🙂


  2. Alan January 9, 2012 at 13:55 #

    Nice post Michele. Great list of Irish geo product/service domains for sale here

  3. Frank January 9, 2012 at 14:36 #

    Hi Michele,
    good article with sound info. However I think you should have mentioned that given advice doesn’t apply to .IE domains, as trade of IE domains is prohibited per Irish registration regulations. I have worked with SEDO and others myself and at some stage tested them with an .ie domain – they autmatically reject any services for .IE.

    Otherwise, I can only agree with you – using domain brokers works great for sourcing good memorable domain names – and doesn’t have to cost the world.

    • Michele Neylon January 9, 2012 at 14:42 #


      That’s not entirely true. The registry rules on .ie domain names make them very awkward and messy to deal with, but it is possible for them to be traded.

      The key thing is that the new domain holder must qualify for the domain name as per the registry rules, so a “normal” sale isn’t possible.

      Sedo and some of the others won’t list .ie domain names due to the issues that this creates for them and for the registrants, as the registry has been known to cancel registration when they discover them being offered for sale in public.

      There is currently a policy review with respect to being able to open the aftermarket in .ie, however unless the registry makes significant changes to the registration policies it is never going to be a viable proposition

      Thanks for your comment


  4. Alan January 9, 2012 at 15:00 #

    Yes .ie’s are messy but great opportunities there. How could there be an aftermarket for .ie when new owners have to prove their claim to the domain? Do you mean the iedr are actually discussing changing the foundations of the .ie registration/ownership rules? Now that would be interesting but think its years off.

    • Michele Neylon January 9, 2012 at 15:09 #


      That’s the problem and it is something that they have been discussing with us.
      From my perspective I can’t see it working “en masse” unless the registration rules are changed dramatically, which of course the registry is unlikely to do.


      • Alan January 9, 2012 at 16:41 #

        Exactly, its a catch 22 setup and always has been 😉

  5. Oskaras Liskovas January 9, 2012 at 20:12 #

    “The registry rules on .ie domain names make them very awkward and messy to deal with…” – that sums everything up!