Another important step for a new business is to search the web for your desired business name to see what else is out there.
You can find out what other websites might have a similar name – you don’t want customers to confuse your site for any other one. You should also find out what usernames are taken on Twitter, Instagram, or any social media platforms you plan on using for your brand. It’s not the end of the world if the exact match to your business name is taken, but brand consistency is an important consideration.
What do I do if the domain name I want is already registered?
Choose an alternative domain to launch your website with
As you’re building your business, get online quickly with an alternative domain, and then continue to pursue obtaining the ideal domain and if you’re successful, make the switch later.
What you compromise in brand consistency, you may make up in speed by getting started with an alternative domain name. There are many ways to get creative in finding a short, memorable and on-brand domain for your business – we have some tips and examples in our free guide.
It might be a risky option if you establish your brand name and make it big (a good problem to have). Tesla, after launching initially with the domain name teslamotors.com, eventually paid a small fortune to acquire tesla.com in the secondary domain market.
Check the expiry date of the registered domain
When you find out a domain is registered through CIRA’s domain search, the “Domain info” tab displays the expiry date. If the expiry date is coming up soon, keep checking on the status and either attempt to scoop it up during a To-Be-Released (TBR) session (especially important for premium domains) or you can wait and see if it makes it to the next phase of the domain name life cycle, from TBR into general availability.
Purchase the domain from the current registrant
Note: In very special circumstances, companies that have registered trademarks who believe they have the right to use a certain domain name can follow CIRA’s Dispute Resolution Process (CDRP).
While buying a shiny new domain name registration happens almost instantaneously, the time it takes to contact the registrant of an already-registered domain, have them respond, negotiate a fair price, and make the technical transfer can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
“The vast majority of people who are looking for help buying a domain are shocked at how much the cost is going to be. I do a lot of bubble bursting,” said Bill Sweetman, president, Name Ninja, a Canadian firm dedicated to helping companies secure their domain of choice in the aftermarket. “If you’re lucky, you might be able to obtain your domain in the secondary market for under $5,000.”
At the other extreme, jobs.ca was resold in the secondary market for $600,000 USD, the most expensive publicly-reported aftermarket .CA domain sold to date according to namebio.com.