What to do when someone else has your domain name?

 Content Marketing,Content Marketing |  3 min read

Have you ever locked down your business name only to find that someone already has your domain name? This can be super frustrating, especially after you’ve spent countless hours coming up with an uber creative name right?

Never fear. There are a number of options you can run with to get the right domain name for your business – we’ll take you through each one.

Option 1 – Find a variation of the domain name (easy)

You might want to read our article “How to choose the right domain name for your business“. This takes you through some creative ways to come up with an alternative domain name for your business.

As an example, if your business name is “Sunny Consulting Pty Ltd”, and someone already has sunnyconsulting.com.au, you might want to investigate whether these are available:

  • sunny-consulting.com.au
  • thesunnyspot.com.au
  • mysunnyconsulting.com.au
  • oursunnyconsulting.com.au
  • sunnyconsulting.online
  • etc.

Jump onto a site generator like https://www.namemesh.com to get more ideas.

Option 2 – Put the domain on back-order (risky)

If you really, really want that domain name, then consider putting it on back-order.

This means that when the domain name expires, you’re counting on the owner letting the renewal lapse. Typically, people will purchase domain names for up to 5 years so be prepared for a long wait.

We recommend taking this option if:

  • You know the domain is going to expire soon. You can find out this sort of information by jumping onto the Australian Domain Name lookup.
  • It’s a domain name that someone would be happy to give up, e.g. bestconsultingaustralia.com.au.
    If it’s a domain name that’s highly competitive, e.g. consulting.com.au unfortunately you’ve probably got no chance.

Most domain registration services will allow you to put a domain back-order for around $10 per year.

Option 3 – Make the owner an offer (relatively easy)

Some people purchase domains only for them to sit there doing nothing. It could be that they once had a business idea with the same name that you’ve chosen for your business, but they never pursued the business. If you make a reasonable offer, e.g. $500, they might be willing to hand the rights over to your business. It’s always worth a shot.

Option 4 – Dispute the domain name (expensive)

If you feel that you definitely have a legal right to that domain name, then you can go down the path of disputing the domain name.

A dispute can cost anywhere from $2,000 up to $4,500, depending on how many people you want involved in the hearing.

To lodge a domain name dispute, jump to the AUDA website.

A perfect example of this would be cocacola.com.au. They would be highly likely to win a dispute. Why? The name is trademarked in Australia, they’re already setup in Australia and they’re a recognised brand.

You might also win a hearing if someone has your business domain name, but not your business name. This can happen when:

  • They bought the domain because they thought it was a cool domain name
  • They were planning to start a business with your business name one day
  • They once had a business under your business name but no longer use it

Your likely to win the case when you can prove:

  • The domain name is the same or similar to your name, trademark or service mark
  • The have no rights or interests in the domain name – e.g. it’s sitting there doing nothing
  • You can prove that they purchased the domain name in “bad faith”, e.g. they purchased cocacola.com.au because they know it’s worth a lot of money

Our advice is to run with this option if you’ve sought out legal advice and they’re at least 80% certain that you’ll win the case and you’ve got at least $5,000 to $15,000 (including legal fees) to gamble on winning.

Otherwise, consider Option 1 as your best option.-

Published on June 02, 2019