How do you buy a domain name that is taken by someone else?

Most of the great domain names have been registered.  Your perfect domain name may have been purchased by a business that is looking to expand, owned by someone for a personal website or acquired as an investment.  In many cases the domain is just sitting there doing nothing but the owner is not easily reached or wanting to sell the domain name.

At first you register an alternative domain name but know that is not want you ultimately want to call your company.  You’re most likely tried to find the owner of the domain name but with no luck.  There is not much information out they on how to buy a domain name from someone else.

I often talk about the seven dimensions to how your domain name impacts your brand.  The domain name you acquire and end up using impacts your positioning, branding, marketing, SEO and ability to scale.  There is a very real business case for acquiring and paying money to acquire a domain name that is taken by someone else.

There may be a small window to buy your ideal domain name directly from its current owner.  At Media Options we have developed a five step approach on how to buy a domain name from someone that is already taken.

How To Buy A Domain Name That is Taken

At Media Options, we specialize in buying and selling domain names on a regular basis and have helped hundreds of the worlds top brands buy their ideal domain.

Here is the five-step process we follow when someone is interested in buying a domain name that is owned by someone else.  These steps are import to buying a domain name that is already taken.

  1. Decide on your domain and evaluate options
  2. Find out who owns the domain
  3. Determine the fair market value of the domain and your budget
  4. Reach out to the owner
  5. Make an offer, negotiate terms and sign a contract
  6. Transfer ownership of the domain

1. Decide on your domain and evaluate options

Deciding on what to call your brand is one of the most difficult first steps for a new startup or company looking to rebrand.  There is are many crucial points to consider when determining your brand.  How many other brands are out there using your same brand.  These can be in other verticals or in your industry.  But, with the internet there is now another very important step.  Is your brands domain name available for acquisition or owned by someone else.

Your brands domain name becomes your brand to consumers because this is how they find you and talk about your brand.  If there is confusion between your brand and your domain name it can cause massive confusion and keep your from scaling and having profitable marketing campaigns.

At Media Options we offer a free consultation and evaluate options if on domain names that are owned by someone else.  We are a domain name broker that specializes in the stealth acquisition of domain names.

Once you have decided on your perfect domain name we will go into how easy it will be to acquire.  Some signs that your domain could be available are older websites that have not been updated, a page that does not resolve or a landing page that says make an offer.

This first step is important to make sure your domain name has the potential to be acquired.  The last thing you want to do is invest your time and energy into a brand name only to be told your perfect domain name will never be for sale.

This process allows you to determine if buying a domain that is owned by someone else is an option before you put in the work.

2. Find Out Who Owns The Domain

The next step is to determine who owns the domain name.  There are several different ways to find this information.  We break down the owner into three different categories.  These domain owner categories are business owner, personal owner and investor (more on this later).

The most common way to find information on the current domain name owner is to pull up the Whois information.  There are several free tools that you can use including, and  When you enter your desired domain name owned by someone else, these sites will pull back a contact for who owns the domain name, where it is registered and the expiration date.

Looking up the Whois information has become much more difficult given the GDRP policy and privacy protection services.  Many domain name owners don’t want to be found or contacted.   They may be open to selling but it will require some investigative work.

At MediaOptions we specialize in finding hard to find owners.

Once you determine the owner of the domain name it is important to determine the type of owner.  Each of the types of owners will have a different reason for keeping the domain, pricing the domain and risks for not selling.

For example, a business will want to make sure they are not selling to a competitor.  A personal owner may not want to sell the domain name because they have used it for email the last twenty years.  A domain investor may want to know who you are so they can set the max price for the domain name.

A domain name broker like Media Options will walk you through the correct negotiating approach to successfully acquire a domain name owned by someone else.

3. Determine the fair market value of the domain and your budget

How do you determine the price of a domain name that is taken or being used?

This is the first question we get when we helping brands acquire their domain name.  Every buyer wants to pay the least amount possible and every seller wants to get the maximum amount.  Understanding how to value a domain name is important to acquiring a domain name.

There are several models that we use to determine the value of a domain name.  One model looks at the average domain sales for the type of owner and quality of the domain name.  At Media Options we have helped in $600M in domain transactions and have a pulse on the market.

First determine the value of the domain name for your brand.  How many sales would it take to pay off the domain name.  If traffic increases what would these mean to your conversion and profit.  Would the domain name produce as much value as one of your employees.  There is a very real return on investment to owning your perfect domain name.

We often say domain names are assets not a marketing expense.  This is because they impact almost every area of a company (think email).   Check out this video on the seven dimension to how a domain impacts a brand.

There is a real market for domain names.  Most owners will receive several offers every month.  If you offer is not close to the fair market value it will keep a deal from getting done.

A domain name broker can help you determine the value and the pricing to acquire a domain name that is already taken.

4. Negotiating and getting the domain name under contract

This next step in how to buy a domain name that is taken is the most complex step and has great possibility to derail an domain name acquisition.  We will break this process down into several different steps.  If you get this wrong the price of the domain could double or triple or you could be told the domain will never be for sale.

The first step is to reach out to the correct person that can approve a sale and not just say no to a sale.  There are certain areas that have no desire to sell domain names and others like marketing that would like to hold on to every domain name.  A domain broker will know who to contact at that specific type of company and owner for the greatest possible chance of success.

For most domain names the owner does not want to sell the domain.  This needs to be taken into account with your outreach.  Having multiple options allows you better leverage when negotiating.  A domain name broker will take the emotions out of the negotiation.   At Media Options we recommend a stealth approach that keeps the company anonymous until the contract stage.

We recommend using a contract for most deals but this depends upon the price of the acquisition.  Some owners will be scared away with a contract and the normal escrow process is fine to limit any risks and liabilities.  At Media Options we allow our clients to leverage our contracts that have been used in millions of dollars in deals.  Using these contracts is key in how to buy a domain name owned that is taken.

Transfer the domain and money

We like to say a deal is never done until the domain name and money have transferred hands.  At this point a great contract and using an escrow service like will ensure a smooth transfer.

The transfer process is usually outlined by your registrar.  If you transfer a domain name at the same registrar like GoDaddy it can be done in a few minutes.  If you are using another registrar it could take several days.  Higher value domain names may have additional locks that slow the process down.

We recommend using an escrow service for every domain transaction.  Once the domain name is transferred you will be notified to release the funds to the owner.  The entire process of funding escrow to transferring can take from three to ten days.  Make sure set up your account at early to cut a few days from this process.

If you are successful, congratulations on acquiring a domain name owned by someone else.

Media Options specializes in acquiring domain names that have already been taken

Buying a domain name that is taken can be confusing.  At Media Options we have five step approach that breaks down each step of the process and is proven with hundreds of successful domain name acquisitions.  We offer a free consultation that walks you through the major steps of this process and will give you the best possible chance for success and within budget.  Working with a domain name broker will save you time, money and ensure success.

As a little background, Media Options works with the world’s top brands to help them acquire their online branding.  Some of our clients include Amazon, Hearst, IAC, Tribune, etc…  We have a flawless 10-year reputation.  We have completed over $600M in domain sales.