There are more than one hundred million websites on the internet, all of which have a unique domain name. Your internet domain name will ideally be the name of your company, without the need for modifiers or characters. You will need to check the availability of your desired domain name, and secure it from a registrar or the current owner. This article outlines the steps for securing domain names, lists some helpful websites.
1: Check if the Domain is Available
Go to an internet domain registrar and web hosting company online. Some popular options are GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Register.com, and Wild West. No-IP gives out a free domain registration every week to fans of their Facebook page. These websites will have a field to check availability of any given domain within popular gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domain). Custom gTLDs, like *.com and *.org, have recently been made available for purchase, but cost upwards of $100,000. If your desired domain is available, you can use any of the above sites to register the domain in your name. Be sure to act quickly, as others may be interested in the same domain.
2: If the Domain is not Available, See Who Owns It
If your desired domain name is not available, that does not mean that it is unobtainable. Visit the address and see what kind of website owns it. If it appears to be a legitimate business or has evidence of recent activity, chances are that it is unavailable (though it doesn’t hurt to inquire). If there is no content on the website, or if it looks unprofessional and ad-ridden, then it may be a squatter that owns the domain; a squatter might be willing to sell the rights to the domain name.
You can see who owns a website by taking advantage of the WHOIS protocol. There are several companies offering free WHOIS services. These include Network Solutions, WhoIs.net, andInternic.net. You can also simply Google “whois.” Unless the person who registered the domain did so privately or with false information, you will be able to find their contact information using the WHOIS protocol.
Once you discover who owns your desired domain, you can make an offer to buy the domain. Depending on the current content of the site and the assumed value of the name, this can range from $25 to several hundred dollars in most cases. Only in extreme cases will it be more.
Remember that it may take a while for a domain owner to respond and/or take your offer seriously. Be persistent! It may mean the difference between docstoc.com and docstocdocuments.tk.