How do I grab an unused domain?
April 26, 2011 7:38 AM   Subscribe

How do I grab a domain that is currently parked but not in use?

I need a domain name for professional use. My last name is 3 characters long and is also the name of a computer part so obviously the TLDs are taken. However,, and have never been used for anything but are both taken by domain hoarders *

Is there any reliable service that will take care of snapping these up without charging an arm + leg? I am handy with programming and could run a PHP script on my site to DIY this part.

I'm reluctant to contact current owners because doing so would indicate that the domain is worth something and therefore more incentive for them to hold on longer hoping that I (or someone else) will pay up big. So it seems like a better idea to stick domain expiry date in my calendar (I am aware that there is an expiration process and a 3-4 month wait before it goes on the market again) and wait it out. Is that the smart approach here?


* Googling contact info shows each of these people have registered a ton of domains. Each one is just filled with auto-generated SEO crap and the name servers are for parked domains.
posted by special-k to Technology (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
When you did a whois on the domain, did you see how long it was registered for? If it's about to expire, I've had good luck throwing some money at domains I wanted via back-ordering services.
posted by Kimberly at 7:42 AM on April 26, 2011

I would say to go ahead and talk to the current owners (via a throwaway email) and see what the price is and move on to something more creative if it's out of your league. If they have a metric ton of domain names I don't think a single email is going to change their perceived value of it, they are probably more concerned about where it sits in some spammy/SEO spreadsheet of words and phrases.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:52 AM on April 26, 2011

Response by poster: They both expire this summer. Can you tell me what that back-ordering service was?
posted by special-k at 7:53 AM on April 26, 2011


About back-ordering domains, you need to read this.
posted by wesker at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I had very good luck with They actually snagged a domain for me a year after I signed up with them and had completely forgotten that I'd asked them to do it. It's a little more expensive, but not all that bad if it's a domain you really want.
posted by laze at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just went through godaddy to be honest. They charge $15.99 (possibly per domain? I only went after domains one at a time). I got 2 out of 3 that way. If you do research on it, there is all this theory about how you need to register with a bunch of different services, and not the service that the domain is currently registered with etc., but I wasn't all that attached to winning and $16 for a chance at it was fine with me. One of the domains I got I was even really surprised at because I figured there would be a lot of competition for (and it was registered with godaddy at the time so that rule didn't turn out to be true for me either).
posted by Kimberly at 8:07 AM on April 26, 2011

I'm reluctant to contact current owners because doing so would indicate that the domain is worth something and therefore more incentive for them to hold on longer hoping that I (or someone else) will pay up big.

You already state that the registrants of the domains in question hold many domains. Do you think they do that just to spend money? They are investments. Whether you contact them or not they know they are valuable to someone, somewhere.

Three letter domains, no matter the TLD and no matter the letter mix, are valuable and will command a premium. In the TLDs you mention they are less expensive than com, net, org, etc. But they still command a premium.

If you want a three letter domain (particularly one which has meaning) in any popular TLD you're going to have to contact the domain holder. OR wait until a new TLD is launched. You can backorder it, but the chances of you paying just the back order fee without it going to auction are slim.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:57 AM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

And I wish people would stop linking to the Mike Industries post. It's no longer relevant. Domain tasting is pretty much over. Domains don't "re-drop" en masse like they used to in 2005. If any domain is meaningful to you I would not recommend that process.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:00 AM on April 26, 2011

Another thought occurred.

Why not register your full name? Host your portfolio and blog, utilize some honest SEO and self promotion on Facebook, Linkedin, etc.

Could be another way to achieve your end goal.
posted by wesker at 9:04 AM on April 26, 2011

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