Part of the exciting and fun part of getting ready to buy your own piece of the web is looking for the perfect domain — sometimes even before the business you’re thinking about exists. It’s fun to spend your Friday evenings looking up domains to buy, and doing laundry. Maybe you want it to be clever (youtu.be), or maybe you want it to be your business name (heystac.com), or maybe you want to get the SEO benefit of including keyphrases in the domain, which helps a good bit. I’ve been playing around with a few different ideas in the last month for my own personal blog, though, I’ll probably just end up buying the name my mother gave me + .com.
But I’ve got to warn you about that. Some people out there will take advantage of you and me while we search. It’s too bad, really, to have to worry about one more thing. But I don’t want you to get caught not covering your tracks.
The Warning: Some people are lurking around watching what domains you search for to buy them out from under you.
The Scheme: If you search for a domain and it’s available today and you don’t make the purchase, tomorrow someone might buy it, turn around and try to resell it for a severely inflated price, which may be referred to as cybersquatting.
The Perspective: This doesn’t happen all the time. Not all websites sell you out. But sometimes it happens.
The Solution: You don’t have to live in fear. Here are my two tips to avoid heartbreak.
1) Search safe. Use search websites that don’t share with 3rd parties.
Make sure of the following:
- domain search information is not shared
- domain search information is not stored
- whatever entity you get WHOIS information from also does not share, store, or use domain search information
- using Network Solutions, a past violator of the scheme of purchasing and reselling for more money
- typing in a domain directly in your browser and seeing if any website shows up
Don’t feel like doing that much research? pcnames.com is safe, but from experience, it’s not always completely up-to-date. So it’s a good spot to do brainstorming, but before you marry yourself to a domain, click through to GoDaddy and see if it’s actually still available.
2) If you like it, buy it! This is the fool proof way of covering your tracks. If you’re in between a couple different ones, treat yo’self to a couple domains. They’re usually $8-$20 buckaroos a pop, and you’ll get them for a year or two. You don’t have to commit to a longterm renewal package or anything. Just reserve them for yourself so they’re ready whenever you are. Plus, you can always transfer them to another person’s account. Even if you’re searching the right way, someone else might unintentionally hijack a domain just by getting the same idea as you and buy that perfect domain for themselves. (Great minds think alike, so if you’ve got a great idea… chances are someone else might think of it too.)