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February 14, 2024By Sevak Mardirosian21 min read

10 Things To Do if the Domain Name You Want Isn’t Available

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10 Things To Do if the Domain Name You Want Isn’t Available

Crafting the perfect domain name for your brand’s website requires creativity and research. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one going to great lengths to register the creative domain names that you can think of. If you really want to gain ownership of an already-owned domain name, we’ll walk you through 10 important things to do to seize it to your advantage.

1. Understand the Situation

Before you dive into finding alternatives, it's important to grasp why the domain name you're eyeing isn't available. Understanding the situation can guide your approach and help you explore the right avenues. Here are a couple of key aspects to consider:

Reasons for Unavailability

There are several reasons why a domain name might not be available:

  • Ownership: The domain name is already owned by someone else who is actively using it for their website.
  • Expiration: The domain might have expired, but it's still in a grace period during which the owner can renew it.
  • Premium Domain: Some domains are considered premium due to their high demand keywords or short length. They might be available for purchase, but at a higher price.
  • Trademark Issues: The domain name could be infringing on someone else's trademark, leading to legal concerns.
  • Domain Parking: The domain might not be actively used but is parked by a domain registrar or owner for potential future use.

Checking Availability

It's worth verifying whether the domain name is genuinely available or if it's just not in use. Sometimes, domains are listed as parked or for sale, but the owner might be willing to negotiate. Here's how you can check:

  • WHOIS Lookup: Use WHOIS lookup tools to find information about the current domain owner, their contact details, and domain expiration date.
  • Contact the Owner: If the domain is owned by someone else, you could try reaching out to them with a polite inquiry about its availability for purchase.
  • Domain Marketplaces: Browse domain marketplaces such as DAN, BrandBucket, Namecheap and many others, to see if the domain is listed for sale. Keep in mind that prices can vary widely.
  • Domain Availability Tools: Some registrars offer domain availability tools that suggest variations or alternatives if your desired domain is taken.
  • Expiry Date: If the domain has expired, monitor its status to see if it becomes available again once the grace period ends.

By understanding the reasons behind the unavailability of your desired domain name, you can tailor your approach accordingly. Whether it's negotiation, exploring variations, or considering expired domains, having a clear picture of the situation will help you make informed decisions as you move forward.

2. Explore Domain Variations

When your dream domain name is locked in someone else's digital grasp, it's time to get creative. Exploring domain variations can be the key to finding a unique and memorable web address that still aligns with your brand and content. Here are a few strategies to consider:

Using Different TLDs (Top-Level Domains)

  • One of the simplest ways to find an available domain is to consider different top-level domains. If your preferred ".com" domain is taken, explore alternatives like ".net," ".org," ".co," ".io," and more.
  • Keep in mind that while ".com" is the most popular and recognizable, other TLDs can offer distinct branding opportunities.
  • Keep in mind that choosing a different TLD should align with your business and brand, like I mentioned before.
  • For instance, if you operate within the tech world .io, .co, .sh, .ly are preferred.
  • Do make sure to research the extension a bit. Some, such as .cc, are famous for being spammy.

Incorporating Hyphens or Numbers

Incorporating hyphens or numbers can help you create a domain name that's close to your original idea. For instance, if "" is taken, you might try "" or "" However, be cautious with this approach, as hyphens and numbers can sometimes be confusing and harder to remember.

Trying Different Word Orders or Synonyms

Play around with the order of words in your domain name or consider using synonyms. For instance, if "" is unavailable, you could explore "" or "" This approach can open up new possibilities while still conveying the essence of your website's content.

By exploring these domain variation strategies, you can increase your chances of finding an available domain name that resonates with your brand and purpose. Remember to prioritize clarity, memorability, and brand consistency when making your choice. While it might not be your first choice, the right domain variation can still become an integral part of your online identity.

3. Research Domain Marketplaces

Right, so now we know for sure the domain you really want to get is not available. It's time to explore domain marketplaces. Here's how you can navigate this option:

Exploring Secondary Domain Marketplaces

Numerous online platforms specialize in connecting buyers and sellers of domain names. Websites like DAN, Sedo, Flippa, and Afternic are popular choices. They host a wide range of domain names, including those that might be currently owned but up for sale. 

Spend time browsing through these platforms to find domain names that align with your website's purpose and brand.

Considering Buying from Domain Auctions

Domain auctions can be an exciting way to acquire the domain you want. These auctions bring together potential buyers who bid on the domain they're interested in. 

Keep in mind that some highly sought-after domains can command high bids, so it's crucial to set a budget and stick to it. Participating in an auction requires vigilance, as others might outbid you, but it can also lead to snagging a great domain at a reasonable price.

Being Cautious of Inflated Prices

While domain marketplaces offer a great opportunity to find the domain you're looking for, it's essential to exercise caution. Some sellers might inflate the prices of their domains, hoping to capitalize on your desire for a specific name. Research similar domain sales to understand the fair market value of the domain you're interested in.

Negotiate with the seller if you believe the price is too high, and don't be afraid to walk away if the negotiation isn't favorable.

Remember, when using domain marketplaces, prioritize security and credibility. Stick to reputable platforms with a history of successful transactions and positive user reviews. 

4. Contact the Current Owner

If the domain name you desire is already registered but not actively in use, it's worth considering reaching out to the current owner. While this approach might not always yield success, it's a proactive step that could lead to acquiring the domain you want. Here's how you can go about it:

Using WHOIS Lookup to Find Contact Information

Start by performing a WHOIS lookup on the domain. WHOIS databases contain information about domain registrants, including their contact details. Numerous online tools and websites allow you to perform WHOIS lookups easily. Look for the registrant's email address or other contact information, if available. 

Try Reverse WHOIS

If privacy is enabled, consider doing reverse WHOIS. This is a service that searches domain names registered by individuals or organizations. It allows users to search for domains by using the registrant’s name, address, telephone number, email address, or physical address.

For example, you can enter terms that describe a domain owner, such as an email address or a company name, to get a list of domain names that have those terms listed in the WHOIS record.

Reverse WHOIS is completely legal as long as the information that you want to find is publicly available on the records. It’s simply the opposite of a standard WHOIS lookup, where you find out the registrant of a domain name based on the domain name itself. 

Domain History and Wayback Machine

Domain history is simply a record of a domain's past owners, their contact information, and previous registration details. You can use it to contact one of the website’s previous owners and ask if they know who currently owns it. Basically, you are tracing the chain of ownership using a domain’s past records.

Alternatively, you can use Wayback Machine, a tool that contains a large collection of archived sites from the past. Archived sites on this tool bring back the same version at the time they were saved, preserving the same interface and information from times ago. There’s no guarantee that it will contain information about the website’s owner at that time, though.

Crafting a Polite and Professional Inquiry

Once you've obtained the contact details, draft a well-crafted email expressing your interest in acquiring the domain. Keep in mind that your initial approach should be courteous and respectful. Consider the following tips:

  • Personalization: Address the owner by name if possible. A personalized message is more likely to catch their attention.
  • Express Interest: Explain why you're interested in the domain and how it aligns with your online goals.
  • State Intent: Clearly state your intent to purchase the domain and your willingness to negotiate a fair price.
  • Research: Show that you've done your homework by mentioning any relevant or similar historical sales or content associated with the domain.

Open Dialogue: Invite the owner to a conversation about the domain's availability and potential terms.

Negotiating a Fair Deal, if the Owner is Open to Selling

If the owner responds positively, you might find yourself in a negotiation process. Here are some steps to navigate this phase effectively:

  • Research Domain Value: Research the market value of similar domains to ensure you're offering a reasonable amount.
  • Be Flexible: Be prepared to adjust your offer based on the owner's counteroffer or insights.
  • Consider Long-term Value: Assess the long-term value of the domain to determine how much you're willing to invest.

Payment Terms: Discuss payment methods, timelines, and any escrow services to ensure a secure transaction.

5. Brainstorm New Domain Names

That’s it. You either found it, but the owner won’t sell; won’t budge, above your budget and so on. Bottom line.. You can’t get your dream domain. Now what? Brainstorm new domains of course! 

Coming up with a new domain name can be both exciting and challenging. It's your chance to infuse creativity and uniqueness into your online identity. Here are some steps and strategies to help you brainstorm fresh domain name ideas that resonate with your website's content, niche, and brand:

Reflect Your Website's Purpose

Start by considering the core purpose and content of your website. Jot down keywords and phrases that directly relate to your website's focus. For instance, if you're starting a photography blog, keywords like "snapshots," "shutterjoy," or "lenslyfe" could spark ideas.

Mix & Match Keywords

Combine different relevant keywords to generate unique combinations. Play with synonyms and related terms to find combinations that are catchy and memorable. For instance, a food blog might experiment with combinations like "tastyventures," "flavorRoutes," or "culinaryQuest."

Use Domain Name Generators

There are various domain name generator tools available online that can provide instant inspiration. Input your keywords, and these tools will generate numerous suggestions based on your input. While some suggestions might be offbeat, they can trigger your creativity and lead you to the perfect domain name.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Short domain names are not only easier to remember but also more convenient to type. Aim for a name that's no longer than 2-3 words. Short names are less likely to be misspelled and can leave a stronger impression on your visitors.

Make it Easy to Pronounce and Spell

A domain name that's easy to pronounce and spell will make it simpler for visitors to share your website with others. Avoid using complex words, unusual spellings, or excessive hyphens.

Check for Trademarks

Before you finalize a domain name, make sure it doesn't infringe on any trademarks. You wouldn't want to build your online presence on a name that could lead to legal issues down the line.

Test it Out

Once you've come up with a few domain name options, test them out loud. How do they sound? Do they make sense in the context of your website? Do they evoke the right feelings and associations? Get feedback from friends or peers to gauge their impressions.

Consider Future Growth

Choose a domain name that will still be relevant as your website grows and evolves. Avoid names that might limit your potential expansion into different topics or areas.

Brainstorm with Others

Don't hesitate to involve others in the brainstorming process. Friends, family, or colleagues might offer fresh perspectives and ideas that you hadn't considered.

Remember, brainstorming is a creative process, and it might take some time to find the perfect domain name that aligns with your vision. Be patient, and don't be afraid to experiment with different combinations until you find the one that clicks.

6. Check for Expired Domains

One often overlooked avenue for securing a desirable domain name is to keep an eye on expired domains. These are domain names that were previously registered but have not been renewed by their owners or domains that were sold before, but dropped after a while. 

Expired domains can offer a unique opportunity because they might still hold value in terms of search engine rankings, existing backlinks, or established brand recognition. Here's how you can go about finding and acquiring expired domains:

Monitoring Domain Expiration Dates

Keep track of domain names that are about to expire. There are several online tools and services that provide lists of domains nearing expiration. These tools allow you to filter domains based on keywords or niche, helping you narrow down your search.

Using Domain Backorder Services

Domain backorder services allow you to express interest in acquiring a specific domain that's about to expire. These services will attempt to register the domain for you as soon as it becomes available. While success is not guaranteed due to competition, it's a proactive way to secure a domain you're interested in.

Snapping Up Domains Once They Become Available

When an expired domain becomes available, there's usually a grace period before it is released back to the public. During this period, domain investors and enthusiasts have a chance to grab it. Be prepared to act quickly and register the domain through your preferred domain registrar.

Remember that while acquiring an expired domain can be a great strategy, it's important to assess the domain's history and quality. Check for any potential red flags such as spammy backlinks or penalties from search engines. Additionally, ensure that the domain name aligns with your website's content and objectives.

While not every expired domain will be a perfect fit, this approach can present a unique opportunity to obtain a domain that might have otherwise been unavailable. By strategically choosing expired domains, you can potentially save time on establishing authority and benefit from existing online presence associated with the domain.

7. Consider Abbreviations or Acronyms

When faced with the disappointment of not being able to secure your desired domain name, one clever approach is to explore the world of abbreviations and acronyms. Condensing your intended name into a shorter version can not only help you retain the essence of your brand but also open up new possibilities for a unique and memorable domain name. Here's how you can go about it:

Condensing the Name

Think about the core elements of your desired domain name. Are there specific words that stand out? Look for opportunities to abbreviate longer words or phrases while still retaining their meaning. For instance, if your original domain idea was "," you could consider "" or "" as potential abbreviated options.

Ensuring Clarity and Memorability

While abbreviating or using acronyms, it's crucial to maintain clarity and memorability. Avoid overly complex combinations that might confuse your audience. The goal is to create a condensed version that's easy to spell and recall. Test the abbreviation on friends or colleagues to gauge their reactions and impressions.

Incorporating Brand Identity

Consider how the abbreviation or acronym aligns with your brand identity. Does it still convey the essence of your website's content, product, or service? It's essential that your domain name, whether in its full form or abbreviated version, reflects what your online presence stands for.

Examples in Action If "" isn't available, abbreviating it to "" maintains the focus on travel guides while adding a sense of urgency. For "," "" offers a succinct and memorable alternative. When "" isn't an option, "" captures the company's focus concisely.

Caution and Consideration

While abbreviations can be effective, exercise caution with particularly common or ambiguous abbreviations. Make sure your chosen abbreviation doesn't unintentionally align with unrelated terms or concepts that might lead to confusion or misinterpretation.

8. Add a Prefix or Suffix

When the exact domain name you're eyeing is unavailable, adding a carefully chosen prefix or suffix can be a clever way to adapt and secure a unique web address. By strategically incorporating a prefix or suffix related to your brand or niche, you can create a memorable domain name that remains true to your identity. Here's how to go about it:

Attaching Relevant Prefixes

Adding a prefix at the beginning of your desired domain name can open up new possibilities. Consider using prefixes like "The," "My," "Get," or "Go" to give your domain name a distinctive twist. For instance, if "" is taken, you could try "" to maintain relevance while differentiating your domain.

Appending Meaningful Suffixes

Suffixes can also inject creativity into your domain name. Think about incorporating terms like "Online," "Hub," "HQ," or even a niche-specific word that aligns with your website's focus. For instance, if "" isn't available, "" could work as an engaging alternative.

By using prefixes or suffixes that complement your brand's identity and purpose, you're not only making your domain name more distinctive but also telling a story about your website's offerings. However, keep in mind these pointers:

  • Maintain Clarity: While creativity is encouraged, ensure that the addition of prefixes or suffixes doesn't make the domain name too complex or confusing. The aim is to enhance, not obscure, your web address.
  • Easy Memorability: Opt for prefixes or suffixes that are easy to remember and spell. A memorable domain name is more likely to attract returning visitors.
  • Consistency with Brand: The added elements should align with your brand's messaging and values. They should enhance your brand's identity rather than compromise it.
  • Avoid Over-complicating: While adding prefixes or suffixes can be a creative solution, avoid going overboard. Long domain names can be challenging to type and remember.

Remember, the goal is to find a domain name that represents your brand effectively while offering a fresh take on your desired name. Experiment with different prefixes and suffixes, and don't hesitate to seek feedback from colleagues, friends, or your target audience to ensure your new domain name resonates.

9. Domain Hacking 

Domain hacks such as,, are all creative and strategic approaches to acquiring a domain name that may not be available in its original form. It involves using clever wordplay, abbreviations, or combinations to create a memorable and unique domain name that still relates to your website's purpose. 

Here are some ideas how to get started: 

  1. Brainstorm Keywords and Phrases: Start by brainstorming relevant keywords and phrases related to your website's content, purpose, or brand. This will serve as the foundation for your domain hack.
  2. Abbreviations and Acronyms: Consider abbreviating or creating acronyms for your desired domain name. For example, if "" is unavailable, you could use ""
  3. Blend Words: Merge two or more words together to form a unique domain name. For instance, if "" is taken, you might come up with ""
  4. Use Hyphens or Numbers: While it's generally recommended to avoid hyphens and numbers in domain names, they can sometimes be used creatively. For example, "" or ""
  5. Combine Suffixes: Experiment with different domain extensions (TLDs) to see if you can create an interesting combination. For instance, "" or ""
  6. Utilize Misspellings: Be cautious with this approach, as it can confuse users. However, a cleverly crafted misspelling can work if it's easy to remember and type correctly. For example, "" instead of ""
  7. Include Your Name or Initials: If it is going to be a personal website or blog, consider adding your name or initials to the domain name. For instance, "" or ""
  8. Think Short and Memorable: Keep your domain hack short, easy to spell, and memorable. Avoid overly complex or confusing combinations of words and letters.

Before finalizing your domain hack, ensure it doesn't infringe on any trademarks. Conduct a thorough search to avoid legal issues down the road. Also, If your website targets an international audience, make sure your domain hack doesn't have negative connotations or meanings in other languages.

Remember that while domain hacking can be a creative way to secure a unique domain name, it's essential to maintain clarity and relevance to your website's content or purpose. Ensure that your domain hack reflects your brand or the information you intend to provide on your website.

10. Catchphrase

A catchphrase can help make a brand instantly recognizable. In fact, it’s one of the most recognizable ways to improve a website’s memorability in addition to ad jingles. Here are less obvious reasons why choosing a catchphrase for a domain name can be beneficial: 

  • Distinctive identity: Catchphrases help customers easily recognize and remember your business. A well-crafted catchphrase can also add a hint of professional credibility to your brand.
  • Provides visibility for a brand: They also create awareness and attract customers to your business. A unique catchphrase also separates your brand from others.

Crafting a Catchphrase Domain Name

Before choosing or thinking of a catchphrase domain name, take note of these common deal breakers: 

  • Trademark infringement: If the catchphrase you choose is already trademarked by another company, you could face legal issues for using it in your domain name.
  • Specificity: Catchphrases are often short and vague, which might not clearly communicate what your website is about. This can make it harder for people to find your website through search engines.
  • Limited flexibility: A catchphrase may not be versatile enough to encompass all the products or services you offer. If you’re planning to expand your offers, a catchphrase might limit your future growth potential.

If you’re ready to face such challenges, here are a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Check trademark databases to ensure you don't infringe on anyone's intellectual property.
  2. Consider if the catchphrase clearly communicates what your website is about to your target audience.
  3. Avoid puns, slang, or complicated spellings that could make it hard for people to find your website.
  4. Consider if the catchphrase can still be relevant even if you expand your offerings.

If you’re having a hard time thinking of suitable catchphrases, you may be able to draw inspiration from these iconic examples: 

  • This catchy name combines “group” and “coupon,” clearly implying that the website offers group discounts.
  • AirBNB is an abbreviation of what the company literally offers—“Air Bed and Breakfast.”
  • This uses a simple and memorable name that evokes the feeling of easy storage and accessibility.
  • It combines “trip” and “advisor,” clearly identifying the website's purpose as a travel advice platform. It’s a bit unconventional and playful, but it makes for a memorable name that suggests the service's ability to send bulk emails easily.


The competition is great when it comes to domain names, especially when they use well-ranking keywords, memorable catchphrases, and established backlinks. If the domain name you want is currently unavailable, you can always try to negotiate with the current owner, opt for expiring domains, or create an entirely new domain name unique to your website

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