Wondering how you can buy a taken domain?

Sometimes it makes business sense to hunt down that perfect domain name that suits your brand down to the tee. Getting the right domain name can do so much more for your brand. An ideal domain name can get your company more inbound traffic. And, more traffic turns into more leads and sales.

This post from WPKube sums up the business value of a good domain name:

“Your domain name is essentially your website’s brand and address all wrapped into one. It can affect a whole heap of things like: how people perceive your site, where your site ranks in the search engines and how easily visitors are able to remember your site.”

As you can see, a lot is at stake. No wonder you must pursue a suitable domain until you land it even if it means buying it from someone who owns it.

In this article, I’ll show you how to purchase a taken domain.

First, let’s answer a few basic questions.

How To Buy A Domain Name From Someone Who Already Owns It- Q&A

Let’s quickly run through a couple of important questions you may have.

Why should I buy a taken domain?

You may want to buy a domain owned by someone because it has a huge traffic potential and massive branding value for your business.

Can you buy a domain name from someone?

Yes, you can! Only if the owner wants to sell of course.

How do I buy a domain name?

There are many ways of buying a domain name but the top ones include negotiating directly with the owner, using a domain broker service or bidding for it in domain auction sites.

How much should I pay for a taken domain name?

Well, it depends on the value of the domain. Expect to pay anything from several hundreds/thousands of dollars up to millions even.

Is domain squatting illegal?

Domain squatting or cybersquatting is illegal. Anyone found guilty of registering a domain in bad faith can be made to pay damages ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 per domain.

Now that the essentials are done and dusted, it’s time to take out your credit card, right?


When you are itching to land your dream domain, the temptation to rush headlong and wrap up the deal fast is strong.

Don’t yield to it.

Doing so would be a big mistake. There’s a crucial foundational step to the whole process that pro buyers don’t dare skip.

1. Research the Value Of The Domain You Want

Before you buy a domain, do your homework first.

Find out how much it’s worth.

That’s what all pros do otherwise you’ll waste time and resources only to discover you can’t afford it. Imagine the sinking feeling you’ll get afterwards and that after doing a lot of legwork. Or, you could buy it but find out later you could have got it for 20x less. You’ll feel you’ve been taken for a ride.

But how do you get to know the value of the domain you are chasing?


Use free Domain Appraisal tools like this one below from GoDaddy. Simply insert the domain name and click GoValue.

Wait for a few seconds while the algorithm works its magic…

There are many similar tools all over the internet. You can also check fresh sales records of domains similar to the one you want.

Knowing the value of the domain you want helps you:

  1. Plan better.
  2. Budget better.
  3. Negotiate better.

Above all, it helps you save time and precious resources if you think the prospective price is beyond your budget. You give up the chase before investing in the project further.

2. Check the Domain’s History Before Buying

Like people, domains have a history. That history must be meticulously checked.

Check three crucial issues:

  1. Bad Backlinks
    Thoroughly examine the site backlink profile using your favorite SEO tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush. Any bad links from link farms, Private Blog Networks (PBNs), or Press Release syndicates? If the profile is dominated by suspicious links think twice.
  2. Ownership history
    Inspect how many times the site has changed hands since the original owner bought it- the more it has been bought and resold the more worried you should be. To check for a site’s history insert the domain name into the search box on Whois Lookup Domaintools
    Scroll down to Registrar and Hosting History.
    Rapid changes in ownership and hosting in a short time are signs of instability.
  3. Trademarks
    The last thing you want is to buy a domain with a trademarked term and run into legal trouble a few months down the road.Trademarkia allows you to search federally pending and registered trademarks to screen out marks that are already registered.Just type in the domain. If any part of it is trademarked, the algorithm will pick it.

3. Use a Trusted Domain Broker Service

One of the easiest ways to buy a pre-owned domain name is to let someone else do all the hard work.


By using a domain broker service.

In case you are wondering, a broker is a person who acts as a go between a buyer and a seller to make a sale happen. Some sellers prefer to sell through brokers so you might as well get used to the idea of working with one.

Thankfully, most popular hosting companies also have a broker service.

Here’s how to buy domain broker service on GoDaddy.

First, search for the domain name you want. Click on the domain broker service link under [your domain is taken].

Then click on Select and Continue on the popup window that appears.

By clicking on the link mentioned above, you add the Domain Broker Service to your shopping cart. Proceed to checkout.

All you have to do now is to wait for them to get in touch with you and tell you the next steps. Hopefully, after several rounds of back-and-forth communication you will get the domain.

Not interested in using a broker? Then it’s time to do some digging.

4. Check ICANN Lookup for Owners Details

Before you do business with the current domain owner, you must know them first.

But where do you start?

That’s where domain lookup sites like ICANN Lookup come in handy.

Whenever someone buys and registers a domain, they provide their personal details like:

  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Home address

These details are stored in a database. So, if the person isn’t using a privacy protection service like WhoisGuard to picket their info, their personal details are there for the taking if you know where to look.

To look up a site owner’s details use ICANN Lookup. It’s easy to do. Enter the domain that interests you under the Enter Domain Name slot and hit Lookup.

Scroll down past Domain Information until you reach the Contact Information section. You will see results like this.

If the owner’s details are there- great, you have won. It’s time to approach the owner with a good offer. If the owner has hired a privacy protection service, the company’s details will be displayed as in the case above.

5. Scour Domain Auction Sites

Some site owners put their domain names up for sale on aftermarket domain auction sites.

Why would people sell their domains?

There are four major reasons:

  1. They are not using the name (many people do this!).
  2. They know they’re sitting on gold and want to cash in.
  3. Their business is taking a different direction altogether.
  4. They are domain merchants who live on buying and reselling domains.

Here are the top 5 auction marketplaces to help you kick-start your search.

  1. Flippa
  2. GoDaddy Auction
  3. NameCheap Marketplace
  4. Namepros
  5. Sedo

6. Reach Out To the Owner And Negotiate

Once you’ve done all the groundwork, it’s time to approach the owner to thrash out the details of the potential sale.

Here are 7 tips for negotiating a domain name purchase.

  1. Be patient- if you are in a hurry to wrap up a deal you may end up getting burned. Some negotiations take time so be willing to wait it out.
  2. Be fair- while you want to get the best deal ever, make a good offer otherwise negotiations will be drawn out if you start your bid too low. Worse, the buyer might dismiss you because they think you are not serious .
  3. Be wise- don’t show your hand too early- let the seller name their price first, their asking price may be lower than what you are expecting.
  4. Be reasonable- yes, a good domain is great for business but don’t obsess over it- move on if you can’t get it because it’s not everything.
  5. Be bold- don’t be scared to pay good money for an excellent domain that can reap rich rewards for your business.
  6. Be professional- let an escrow service handle the transfer in a safe environment that inspires confidence.
  7. Be far-seeing- decide your walk-away price beforehand and abandon the deal once negotiations go way above it.

Use these tips to land your dream domain. Can’t get the exact name you want? All is not lost. You can go for the next best thing.

7. Buy a Top Level Domain Instead

Let’s start with the bad news:

All the best domain names in any industry or niche are already taken. Moreso those with the much-coveted .com ending.

The good news?

You can still get a name that’s close to what you want.


By buying other Top Level Domains besides .com.

The good part is all top-tier domain selling sites do the heavy lifting for you. Whenever you search for a domain name, they also give you suggestions of available TLDs as part of the search results.

Look at this as an example.

The circled extensions are available TLDs related to the original search. Plus, you know at once how much they cost. Some search results also show you variations that are already taken (or unregistered) but are up for sale.

Here is one such result.

As you can see, the suggested TLDs are on the left and their status is shown on the right i.e. price or open to offer.

Common TLDs extensions include .co, .biz, .net, .org, and .io.

That’s not all. There are other options you can explore.

Let’s say you are looking for marketing.com, the case study we have been using throughout this article. You can narrow down your search to:

  • Region e.g. marketing.asia
  • Country e.g. marketing.us
  • City e.g. marketing.toronto
  • Niche e.g. marketing.software

Get the sense? Keep trying until you come up with a winning combination that suits your context.

Want An Unfair Advantage Over Competitors? Buy A Taken Domain

Buying a taken domain seems daunting but it’s easy if you follow a proven process.

It all boils down to thorough research, patience, and tact.

With the best possible domain name from the beginning, you gain a headstart on your competitors. You fuel your company’s online growth and reap awesome (recurring) SEO benefits by simply doing the hard work upfront.

Read more: Presidential Candidate Fails: Domain Name Lessons for Brand Marketers