Reclaiming a domain from resellers/squatters


#1

Sorry if this has been asked before, but I’m curious: do any of you have experience getting a domain out of the hands of a reseller? The .com version of my domain is currently in the clutches of a company for nearly $800, and with digital presences/brand becoming ever more important (and my writing career actually starting to take off) I’d really like to nab it somehow. Frankly I’m even willing to pay the absurd fee, provided the company won’t steal my identity or anything. But if there’s no good option here and I’ve gotta resign myself to being haleycampbell.net forever, eh, I’ll live. Just don’t have any good data to work with to make my decision, and I trust folks in this community more than random listicles on the topic. Thanks!


#2

I can’t claim to have any experience with it, but here are my thoughts in no particular order:

  1. I think you’re right that the .com version of a domain is good to get if you have the means to get it.
  2. $800 is not terrible for a domain name that is currently being held by a company and offered at a price.
  3. Rarely do I see domains that are squatted be let go, but it could be worth watching the expiration date to see if it’s not too far off (in your case a few months from now). However if you decide to try and snatch it up it may involve backordering and an auction for an expired domain in which case you’d still be spending more than $15 on the domain https://www.domainsherpa.com/how-to-grab-an-expiring-domain-name/
  4. The domain extension truly isn’t everything, Google is king here and being a top search result for the kind of work you’re doing or for your name/brand is worth as much if not more than 3 letters at the end of a domain name. We have an article on that topic at Search Engine Optimization
  5. When buying a domain from a squatter better if it’s a reputable company than just a random person that owns a domain. In this case it looks like that is true and you can be pretty confident with a large company that you will receive what is being advertised but as always read the fine print. If I were buying from an individual I would utilize some kind of escrow service as insurance that both parties get what they want.

In my case the .com version of my name has been taken by an individual that actually uses it and has for 10+ years. So from my perspective if magically it became available for $800 I would jump at the chance I think. But every situation is different and I can’t stress enough the 4th point above that at the end of the day a .com with really poor search engine results is less valuable than a .net that is a top hit. People rarely type out links anymore, it’s all clicking links from other sites/emails/etc or searching.


#3

All excellent points, Tim, and thank you! The article you linked to was incredibly helpful, and I may well attempt some of what’s suggested there.

It looks like the company that owns the domain I want re-registered it the day after it expired, so there might be at least a slim chance to grab it the day of. If that doesn’t work, I may just buy it.

Would love to hear other thoughts on this as well, especially from folks who’ve gone through this before!


#4

Hi Haley!

This is a frustrating situation, and I just have 2 more cents to add on to Tim’s thorough summary of the major factors to consider. This happened to me way back in the day for a group blog site that I had built up to have pretty good pagerank. We switched to a different domain name, I forgot to set the old name to auto-renew, and I lost it to a squatter who put it up for auction at something like $12,000. I didn’t care that much about the domain, but I was annoyed that these jerks were making money from the spam on the site that was actually seeing traffic because of the pagerank we had built up. So I went in on the auction site and put in the minimum allowed bid of $60. They rejected my bit, so I countered with $61, which they also rejected.

Many months later, after I guess the domain had lost value because it was just spam, they contacted me and asked if I still wanted it for $60. I did not.

Now, the situation with your domain may be different since your desired domain has more obvious value: there are other people named Haley Campbell, after all. But you might find that their asking price goes down if you wait a while.

Until then, haleycampbell.net is a fine domain name! I personally don’t think the TLD matters that much (between .net and .com, at least), but opinions may vary.

That’s my .02!


#5

I’ve not much to add, but have to say seeing Haley using now the domain she got in my ds106 class at UMW makes us proud.

But I do wonder with others if the .com is really that essential. It’s what exists at the domain that counts more and I am not sure there is anything detrimental about a .net vs a .com (heck I have a .world. .info .casa and even a .dog!) and $800 is a lot of clams.

Keep creating, Haley!


#6

Thanks so much, both of you!! (and hey, it’s been a while! I hope you’re doing beautifully out there in the wild world. Feel free to email/DM on Twitter/etc. etc. any time).

You both make very strong points. I think one of the reasons I’m still harping on that .com is audience. I know from experience that writers are not always the most tech-savvy crowd, and that making yourself incredibly easy to find online is useful in a sea of other creative voices (particularly when you’re not producing a ton of content, which can make some SEO best practices harder to implement). That said, you’re all quite right that in the grand scheme .net vs. .com is not the biggest part of that equation.

Really appreciate the help, folks, and I’ll keep you updated with what ends up happening!