Buying a Domain Name – Where To?

Acquiring and registering a domain name is the the first step in the process of developing any Internet site and it is comparable to buying a land plot to construct a house on. A domain name is your personal Internet address, your authentic identification tag, by which you will be recognized on the web. Thus, choosing an appropriate domain name is an important task, the outcome of which may be crucial for your website’s further marketing and promotion. Where do I buy one, you will ask me. Shall I address a national company dealing with domain trade or is it more preferable to enjoy services of an international domain dealer? The goal of this article is to consider advantages and drawbacks of each of the ways and help reader acquire a domain name successfully and avoid future frustration from an unsatisfactory purchase.

First of all, let me clarify the notion of a domain name and provide general description of the ways domains are generated and distributed. A domain consists of the name, the uniqueness of which depends solely on your imagination (and availability), and the suffix, that should be picked out of the list of registered top level domains (TLDs). The latter, in turn, can be divided into two major groups: generic or international TLDs, such as .com, .net, .org and country code TLDs (abbreviated as ccTLD), including, .eu, .de, .fr and others referring to a specific state or territory.

The next question is where to buy a domain name. The highest authority responsible for generating domain names at the international scale is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), accountable to which are a big number of national and international governmental and commercial entities, commonly known as domain name registrars. These organizations are directly responsible for distributing domain names to customers, either independently or via a network of resellers.

In the first place, decide what kind of domain you would like to have for your site. If you are planning to aim your business at a specific region, it is advisable that your domain name would end with a national suffix. There is a simple reason for that – people belonging to a certain nation would tend to trust a business possessing “native” features. The Russians would rate .ru sites higher than the others, and natural born Parisians would surely prefer to deal with websites ending with .fr. You must take into account that, in most cases, a national domain will cost you a bit more, because national domains are issued by local authorities, who set the prices. Moreover, the number of national domain registrars is lower than that of international ones, thus a smaller competition rate allows the former to feel much less restricted about the price limits. Nevertheless, this generalization cannot be unequivocal, for each ccTLD is subject to conditions and regulations of a specific country.

Should you be planning to take over the international business market or attract international audience to your website, go for an international top level domain, of which .com, .net and .org are the most popular. You may buy an international domain from both national and international registrars. Statistically, buying a domain from a large, global registrar, such as, for instance, will cost you less, than acquiring it from a local company. Nevertheless, national domain-selling organizations will usually provide you with support in your language and a number of additional services, that will naturally raise the domain price. The choice is completely up to you.

Sometimes it is possible to acquire a domain name that has already been occupied by someone else. Such a deal will usually cost you a lot more than a regular domain name purchase, and it is worthwhile considering this option, only if it is of vital importance. Then you may try and look for online domain traders, who actually serve as intermediaries between domain owners and customers hunting for a specific, unique domain name. Be ready to part with a considerable sum of money – a unique domain name is not a trifle. For example, domain names like and are reported to have been sold for $ 7,500,000 each! It is important to keep in mind that this practice isn’t dubbed domain registration, but change of ownership. In addition to the price set by the seller, you will often be required to pay a certain conveyance or intermediary fees.

Another practice you may consider, especially if the desired domain is already taken, is to try to get hold of it the moment it’s being released (given that the current owner isn’t planning on renewing their service). Some people forget to renew their domain on time or just lose interest in it, and, after a certain period (typically called “grace period” and “redemption period”), the domain is up for grabs again. Catching expired domains, using the “you snooze, you loose” doctrine, sometimes allows the new buyer to take advantage of the age of the domain, at a regular price (instead of negotiating the price with a seller, as described above).

This practice, however, is more a sport than a solid way of buying domains — you can never know if the owner plans to renew their domain, and there are shady companies around, whose sole line of business is running automated purchase mechanisms that “snatch” domains the moment they expire and then re-offer them to their legal (now previous) owners and new buyers for “premium price”.

These facts prove that acquiring a domain name is an important enterprise that can have serious ramifications. Take this task seriously, consider future possibilities, and your investment may return to you in great revenues and help your online business thrive and prosper.