Getting a domain? CRITICAL advice before you do!

True story:

Man at keyboard.New client, Blue Bird Pizza. They’re in Worcester, and have been a fixture in the community for years. We started work with them this week, and will be building out their site, Facebook community and doing a great marketing campaign to bring in the revenues.

In the business owner’s excitement for getting a web site in the future, he searched for – and found it available! He did not buy it then, but planned to as soon as he hired a company to do the site.

Skip ahead a few months. Enter Vision Advertising.

Us: Do you have a domain?

Them: Yes, we have and

Us: Gasp! Why did you go with a (shudder) .net???  or… worse… a  (yuck!)

Them: Well, we looked for it a while ago, it was free then, but someone registered it since then.

Us: (mock surprise) No kidding… well, that is very unfortunate… well, there isn’t a great chance we’ll be able to get the .com, but we’ll try. If you can have it, it’s ideal.

A few points to consider

OK, so why do we care about the .net versus .com? Why are we not surprised that this happened? And what’s the key nugget of wisdom you need to pull out of this?

1. The world thinks of online as .com – still. When people think of a business name, and they can’t find the URL, they automatically mentally append the business name with a .com – and with search engine results typically taking a while to earn for a new domain, it wouldn’t pop up to the other site right away. Furthermore, if someone accidentally goes to the .com (go look at what’s there now!) when they wanted the .net – they get an advertising site – and NOT the site of the business owner. What happens in this case? Well, sometimes LOST BUSINESS because the customer can’t find you!!! Need I point out how much of a bad thing that is??

2. We’re not surprised this happened, and really wish we could have stopped it. By searching for the domain he wanted and NOT purchasing it, it showed traffic to that domain to an internet advertising company (or squatter) that scoops up domains and puts ad links on them (which they get paid for) – and that’s exactly what they did here. Or, they buy it only sell it/hold it hostage for a very high price.

That stinks! How can I avoid this??

3. Two ways: 1: DON’T look for a domain unless your credit card is in hand, ready to buy it. 2. When you do look, snatch it up immediately. Start your search with a domain registration company, such as GoDaddy. They’re very economical, and if you change your mind, I’ve seen instances where they will let you out of your term with them and give you money back. Great company for domain registry. (Need domain AND hosting? Use Lunarpages. Best hosting company we’ve found.)

….but what if it already happened to me?

4. Depending on who bought it, and for what purpose – you MAY still be able to buy it. At a premium. Sometimes its worth it, sometimes it’s not. That’s for you to decide.

Start here to find out who bought it: We like this because it’s a great and typically robust and informational tool.

It MIGHT list a lot of specific contact information on there and a phone number for who bought it, and you can just call and ask. Be very nice, and unemotional about it. It’s just business.

If it doesn’t, then you’ll probably see something like this:

Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Updated Date: 08-sep-2009
Creation Date: 27-aug-2009
Expiration Date: 27-aug-2010

Next, look at the referral URL, which in this case is

Go to the site mentioned there, which is where they bought it from. From there, you should be able to do a search of that site’s whois and get more info.

So what’s going to happen with Blue Bird?

Lucky for them, they hired people that know how to deal with this. We already contacted the nice folks in Shanghai who bought it, thinking this would be a real revenue generator. No word back yet, but the chances are unfortunately slim.

The client is probably going to end up with the .net, and another extension I can’t share yet.

Ultimately, this isn’t the end of the world, but it makes the Blue Bird Pizza world a teeny bit more complicated, when it could have been avoided, had he known.

Take my advice, and you could avoid accidentally complicating things for yourself.

Please share this article with EVERYONE you know who is considering starting a business – you can save them a lot of headaches and lost revenues!


So… I heard back from the folks in Shanghai.  Guess how much they wanted??  $2,500.  Wow, right?  They wouldn’t even negotiate!

Major bummer.  But on the bright side – Blue Bird was sold to another company, and will be opening as a new entity with a new name.  Maybe they’ll read this article first and save themselves a lot of headaches!

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About the author : Vision Advertising

Vision Advertising is a full-service marketing agency enhancing the online brand presence of business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies across the US. We focus on providing custom marketing services to address unique client needs, customer profiles, and budgetary concerns, created in-house by our team of skilled marketing specialists. This author profile is used for deattributed posts or when content is posted to this blog without comment.