Dear Start-up Founder, this quick domain buying guide is for you.
First off, congratulations! After endless hours of brainstorming with your team, you've finalized the brand name of choice. You're psyched about the new direction of your company and already chose the domain name.
It's a less fancy TLD and not the .com you wanted to secure because someone else has that domain—but you want to get things rolling.
That's understandable. Your online presence is important, your mission statement, "about us" page, and contact form should all be available on the internet before you begin tapping potential VC funding.
Time is money, and money takes time, they say, and you don't want to waste or risk losing either one. So yes, that temporary domain name will do for now, until you get some more cash in the bank.
I'm here to remind you that it was you who decided on the final brand. Perhaps your marketing guys told you otherwise, but you're the CEO and made the final decision, opting to get the better keyword on a "lesser" TLD because it was available.
Yes, there are plenty of options that won't break the bank, but the truth is you will be "hating" your own brand every time you mistype it with a ".com" at the end.
So let's get started.
First, the bad news: If that domain is already taken, forget about getting it on its expiration date. You will be waiting for a long, long time, and most domains that are renewed for more than 5 years are held "forever" based on a number of parameters, including the size of the ego of their owner. Even if they drop, domains are most certainly speculated on, and they end up being re-registered and often auctioned. Are you willing to wait this long?
The hard fact is that you will have to pay money to get that domain; the question is how much?
That depends on your strategy, level of communication, and budget.
Whatever you do, please do not chastise the domain's owner for any reason—ever. Whether the domain shows cat photos, is parked displaying ads, or actively offered for sale, don't tell its owner they aren't using it, and somehow you are more worthy of it. If you do that, forget about getting the domain!
If the domain already has a price tag, take that number and explore your financial options. Is the amount truly prohibitive, and it will break the bank, or are you simply rejecting the idea of acquiring an asset you cannot "touch" and physically appreciate? Remember that a domain is not an Aeron chair, and perhaps you can do without one - or without buying the latest Apple monitor for the entire team.
If there is no price listed on the domain, don't be afraid to ask the question: "How much are you looking for this domain name?" Be direct, and be prepared to receive a response that might shake you up a bit.
But don't let the initial numbers alone decide your course. Maybe you can finance part of the deal, involve another person as a partner, take a small business loan—or negotiate the price.
Negotiation is just like when you go to the car dealership and don't want to pay full price. Be careful though: you don't just step into the BMW dealership and offer to pay Toyota prices.
In the same manner, the delta between the asking price and your offer can't be too wide. Undercutting the domain's value will earn you the "lowballer" badge in no time.
So make an attractive offer, that respects the asking price and most importantly, describes your honest desire to acquire the domain without demeaning its value or the seller. Typically, a price 10% to 20% below ticket price will kick-start negotiations, but be prepared to face a solid wall with "NO" sprayed on it.
Domain brokers handling your request will do so keeping your anonymity intact, and perhaps the seller will issue a discount unaware of your name, location, and business intentions. Once again, you'll have to define your maximum budget, and be prepared to see negotiations stretch out by the other party.
In a nutshell: Understand that your ideal domain arrives with a price. Accept the fact that you will be spending money on it, and negotiate on its price respecting both the seller and their domain asset. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and getting all upset is an indication that you need to either find a way to increase your budget, or to seek alternative options for your brand.
Contact the Uniregistry Brokerage team to discuss options—they are here to help you acquire the perfect domain name.
The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an endorsement, advice, or opinions from Uniregistry on any subject matter.