I just read ShoeMoney.com’s post entitled My tips for buying domains that are taken.
Over the years I’ve been asked many times where the name of my agency MWI comes from. You can get the short story on that from MWI’s February 2005 newsletter. As a follow up I’m also often asked where I got the mwi.com domain from, which is a story in and of itself, and only briefly touched upon in that newsletter.
And so I give you my tips for buying a three-letter domain, based on my own experience.
1. Find a three letter domain you want. They’re all taken, so you’ll have to buy one from someone else.
2. Get an idea of what the domain is worth. Of course the real worth of any domain is what someone is willing to pay for it, but that doesn’t sound as exciting as stating that all three-letter domains are worth a minimum of $20K, as some have claimed.
3. Send an email to the owner of the three-letter domain you want. Play up your college-student status and how poor you are, and how you’re just starting this new company and haven’t made any money yet.
5. Get a response telling you that the domain isn’t available because although the site at mwi.com isn’t being used for anything, the domain is still being used for email.
6. Give up and move on to other possible domains.
7. Receive an email a few weeks/months later telling you that all the email accounts have been moved to other domains, and that the domain mwi.com is now available.
8. Ask the owner how much they’d be willing to take for the domain.
9. Receive an answer saying “That’s ok, I’ll just give it to you.”
10. Now that you’ve had a chance to go to the restroom and get cleaned up, graciously accept the offer.
11. Fill out the necessary paperwork. Registrars don’t make this easy, because they want it to be hard to switch ownership of domains. This is a protection against fraud. You have to get a notary to sign the paperwork and everything.
12. Wait for the domain to switch to your name.
13. Keep waiting, it can take a few months sometimes.
14. Get the email informing you the domain is now in your possession.
15. Keep looking over your shoulder, wondering when the guy who gave it to you is going to ask for “a favor”.