Indeed, we know all too well how heartbreaking it is to find that a domain name you’ve decided on has already been snapped up by another. If you have the same case, here are your options:
Use other domain extensions (.net, .org, .biz, .info, etc.)
Most businesses prefer .com at the end of your domain name as it is the industry standard. However, many .com names are unavailable due to hundreds of domain names being registered daily. In any case, the same choices may be available using another suffix. Some domain name registrars suggest the .net, .biz, .info or .org choices when the .com choice is unavailable.
Slightly change the name
A domain name will be unavailable only if the exact name is already taken. If for instance madskillz.com is already taken, you may find that "mad-skillz.com" or "madskills.sg" is available. If you can live without the exact form of your preferred domain name, you can experiment with minor variations until you get an acceptable domain name that’s available.
Buy the name
Yes, it’s indeed possible to buy an already purchased domain since domain names are bought, sold and auctioned like any other property. If your chosen domain name is being used by a lukewarm website, chances are the owner may be willing to part with it and sell it to you. You may even get your hands on it for a price you can afford.
It’s possible to buy a domain name in a variety of ways, including looking for it in online classifieds, contacting the owner directly and making an offer, making a bid on an auction website or going through an online domain name broker. Once bought, make sure to register the domain name at once.
Assert your rights if you’re a trademark owner
If you are already in business and are looking to use your existing business name as your exact domain name, then you may contest that you have the upper hand in a dispute with someone else who's already using it online.
Trademark law states that the first person to use a trademark in commerce is considered the owner. Therefore, if you are already using the name to market your products or services before the domain name registrant started using it, it’s possible to prevent that registrant from continuing to use the name.
You will first need to choose a strategy for going after the registrant. Yourchoices include:
Dispute resolution procedure by ICANN. ICANN isan international nonprofit organization now in charge of domain name registrations worldwide. They have a process called the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
It currently works only for cybersquatting disputes wherein when someone has registered your name to profit from your trademark. ICANN's dispute resolution procedure is potentially less expensive and quicker (just 57 days to resolution).
Trademark infringement lawsuit. You can take the domain name registrant to court and if you win, the court will order the domain name registrant to transfer the domain name to you with possible money damages as well. A lawsuit is always an option, even if you don’t pursue ICANN's dispute resolution process.
File a cybersquatting lawsuit. With this, you get to court and if you win, you not only get the domain name you want but also win money damages from the cybersquatters.
There you have it. Now if you’re keen on purchasing a domain name, the first step is to perform a domain name search to see if it’s available or not. As always, the best practice for local enterprises is to secure a local domain extension and if you can spare it, acquire .com and other applicable extensions to safeguard your businesses’ future growth.Updated Date: 27 August 2019, 02:27