There are millions of domains already registered, and more than one person has anticipated purchasing that perfect domain name, only to find that someone has already beaten them to the punch. Out of luck? Maybe, but maybe not.
If a domain is already registered, and you want to purchase it, you can always approach the owner by looking up the information in the WHOIS database. The best way to contact a registrant is through e-mail. If they decline to sell the domain, there’s not much you can do, provided that they keep the registration of the domain current.
However, if they allow their domain to lapse, services such as Snapnames may allow you to purchase it once it goes through the process. There is a grace period after the domain registration expires. After a while, the domain is finally “dropped”, or deleted from the system, allowing anyone to grab it. Many companies automatically track soon-to-expire domain names, and automatically grab a popular domain within seconds of it becoming available again. There’s no guarantee as to who will get it; many companies and private people grab expired domains, and competition is fierce.
One other weapon in your arsenal is backordering. Several companies, including GoDaddy, offer this service. As the name suggests, it allows you to try to stake a claim to an expired domain. There is a fee involved, and there is no guarantee that any given company or person will successfully snap up an expired domain, as it’s literally a matter of seconds that’s involved. One thing that experienced “domainers” do is backorder through several companies, increasing the odds that they will successfully obtain the expired domain name.
The domain business is one of fierce competition; the more popular a domain, the more intense the proverbial wolves will fight for a domain the second that it’s dropped. Let this also serve as a word to the wise: don’t let your domains lapse, and keep them current, so that someone doesn’t snap up your domain. However, if there’s a domain that you have your eye on, backordering and “snap” services are just a few methods that you can try to obtain the domain name should the owner not wish to sell.