We currently have a domain name that is long and contains a hyphen. It isn't very easy to hand out to users because it doesn't just roll off the tongue.

There is another domain that we'd like to have, but someone already owns it. They don't seem to be using it though. The index page shows a directory listing and in there there is only a phpinfo() page. That page shows the server is running a very old version of PHP.

We've looked up the whois information and see that the domain doesn't expire for another 6 years, so someone is at least paying for the registration for long periods of time. We've reached out via the contact information in whois to see if they'd be willing to sell us the domain but there hasn't be a response.

Do we have other options to get the domain name? Obviously, we're not looking to do anything illegal. Reaching out the existing owner has either gotten us ignored or we are sending to an unmonitored email address, so that's almost as bad as ending up in a spam folder.

3 Answers 3


Until the domain registration lapses there is nothing else you can do. The only way you're going to get the domain name is if the current owner signs it over to you.

There is one caveat - if the name is a registered trade mark then you might be able to persuade a judge to force them to hand over the name. However, that's going to be costly.

I assume that you are after the .com name. Is there anything stopping you using the .net or .org (or indeed any other extension) address for your community?


I like @ChrisF's answer about buying up one or more URLs with different extensions. Additionally, have you thought about buying up URLs similar to the one you may not be able to buy? While SEO can't necessarily address the URL issue from a branding perspective (ie you want to call your company teakettle inc and teakettle.com is taken), a well-crafted SEO program can at least ensure that those searching for teakettles and related items will find your business. Hope that helps.


There are websites/services which try to convince an owner to sell the domain to you. I'm not mentioning here because I don't know if it is against the terms of use of SE (it would be like advertising) but sometimes I got emails and physical letters from a company making me offers in the name of an unknown person, and they were trying to convince me by raising the offer a bit to give it up. I didn't give in because I think their price will increase 10 times or more, but at least they made me think about it.

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