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Website SOS: What to Do If Your Desired Domain Name Isn’t Available

Your business’ name is one of your most important assets. It establishes your identity in the marketplace and in many cases, your name may be the one thing that gives you an edge over the competitor who offers similar products or services.

If you discover your preferred website name is already registered or owned by another entity, you have a serious issue on your hands. Don’t give in to an identity crisis just yet —here are a few reasonable options to pursue if your preferred .com URL is unavailable.


1. Consider leasing the domain.

Just like cars, domain names can be bought, sold, and leased. Your website provider may offer a brokerage service to act as a go-between to try to procure the domain for purchase, or arrange the terms of a lease if the domain owner is willing.

2. There’s more to life than a .com.

Although may not be available, but there are other top level domains (aka TLD) including .net and .org. Although past history has shown popular opinion has viewed these as ‘lesser’ domains, attitudes are changing.

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is planning to launch around a thousand new TLDs that will be product/service based, as well as more related to geographic areas.

3. Get creative with naming.

Even if your domain is not available, you can get creative by adding a hyphen or an additional work. If you’re a local business, adding your state or state abbreviation can help you reach your intended audience. It may not be a perfect solution, but if can be done well and save you some money in the process. With that in mind, be smart. Crazy numbers, letters or anything arbitrary is not a good idea. Remember, this is your brand —take the time to consider all options as hasty decision making is unlikely to lead any place you want to land.