How to Acquire Good Domain Names Cheaply

If you’re creating a website and tried searching for generic domain names, all too often, the domains of your choice are taken. In particular, keyword-based domain names are the rage. Try as you may, but virtually all permutations and variations of the domain name you want are taken.

It appears that the craze over domain names started some 12 years ago has not ended its run. You might recall recall the time when Network Solutions was even encouraging people to buy up 3-letter .com domain names. Not long after that, 4-letter and 5-letter domain names were running out too. But these days, virtually any comprehensible words, be they in English or otherwise, have their equivalent registered in a .com domain name.

Even “”.

A quick visit to this website will bring up a cyber-squatter’s page, stating that this domain name is for sale. And what isn’t?

What if you find that a domain name of your choice is taken? What remedy is there? Well, you can either approach the registrant of the domain name and see if you could buy it over from him or approach a domain broker (or domainer as they call themselves) for help. Be prepared to fork up a tidy sum though. In extreme cases, generic word domains like “” were sold for US$7.5 million. Leading the pack of is, ””, sold for a drooling sum of US$14 million. A distant second was “”, sold for, pardon the pun, an obscene US$9.5 million. Not that all domain names would fetch prices like these. Still, you may not want to pay hundreds, if not thousands, for a domain name that someone else has registered before you. RATS! You could wait it out, hoping the present registrant has suffered some form of amnesia and forget to renew it on its expiration. But that usually won’t happen as there are a number of domain booking services out there that will automatically take over an expired domain.

A far cheaper way, though, is to try to register a variant of the original .com domain name, such as one ending in .biz. Arguably, a .biz domain name does not have as much recognition or value as a .com domain. Still, you’ll probably be quite happy to settle for something close to your original domain of choice, in which case, a .biz domain name would be a good compromise. Or you can try to register a country-level domain name – and usually you’ll have more opportunity there. Some countries, like Singapore and Australia, require registrants to have at least a duly-appointed country representative before you can be allowed to register a domain name with them. Others, like New Zealand and India have no such requirements and everything is basically fairgame, issues of trademark infringements aside. Yet another way to beat the domain name crunch is to be creative. Joining 2 or more words (usually 2 or 3 words should suffice) to form a phrase may present you with a .com domain name of your choice.

By the way, “” is still available. Any takers?

Raymond Tan is the founder and CEO of Clever Internet and Signetique, both leading web hosting companies in Singapore.

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