Finding Domains and Squatters

At a recent London Blogger Meet-up, someone asked us all what we thought of domain squatters, and the first reaction that most people gave was “I hate those guys”, and it sort of threw me for a loop.

I could understand where they were coming from, as it can be quite difficult to find a domain, and when the domain you want isn’t even being used, it can be even more frustrating, but people forget the simple fact that domain registration is an even playing field. You had just as many opportunities to register the domain as the person next to you.

My suggestion to everyone was to become more creative. There are so many tools that can help you quickly run through a series of ideas and find out which domains are available, and which ones aren’t.

The one that I depend on is the Instant Domain Search, and I have mentioned it before. While it doesn’t give you any suggestions, it makes it easy for me to go through a list of thoughts and ideas I may have. While playing with words, don’t forget to look around, consider your competition, and look through books, as the right idea can come from anywhere.

Two other sites that are similar to the Instant Domain Search include Ajax Whois, which allows you to quickly check domains in a larger variety of extensions like .ca and .us and Domize, which shows you searches based on each letter you add giving you a quick visual history of your searches and their availability.

Make Words seems to also be an interesting way to get quick suggestions if you have an idea of keywords you want in the domain. You enter the keywords you want, and they generate a list of available domains that include the suggestions. The only issue I see with a service like this is that they end up generating some fairy long domain names, which might not be very easy to remember.

In the end, if you really want a domain that someone else has, contact them and offer to buy it, but don’t be surprised if they come back to you with a ridiculous figure. This is just the start of what I consider a long bargaining process. Domains, just like any other online property are only worth what people are willing to pay for them.

*Word of Warning* – I have heard that some tools, especially those by certain domain registrars, might only lead to your searched domain being taken before you have a chance to. Some people monitor searches in hopes of coming across a great domain, so once you have found that amazing, high quality domain that you want to use for your next project, your best option is to register it sooner, rather than later.