How to safely research domain names

safe domain name research

So you thought of your perfect domain name. Great! Innocently, you hop online to see if it is available. You’ve heard a lot about GoDaddy as a host so you use their domain search tool to see if it is available. Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, right?

That bar below seems so innocent…

domain search tool godaddy

Sometimes, just a few days later when you go to actually purchase that domain that you had found on their site, it is suddenly owned by a mysterious someone else. Has this happened to you? I’ll give you a hint: That someone is not another small business owner, it is almost always the company that you searched the domain on.

Unfortunately, GoDaddy and Network Solutions, two major companies offering domain search services, are taking advantage of you in that moment by buying the domain out from under you, and then offering to resell it to you at a higher price.

I know. It sucks. And unfortunately, it happens. Two of the biggest culprits in this practice are GoDaddy and Network Solutions. Do NOT go to either of their sites if you want to safely search domain names.

What’s up?

Well, this domain reselling practice is it’s a lousy and unethical thing to do, but perfectly legal. Basically GoDaddy and Network Solutions use the domain search tool on their websites as a way to gauge consumer interest in a given domain. It’s a reasonable assumption that if you are searching a particular domain for ownership, you will quite likely want to purchase it – even if you don’t do so that first day when you searched to see if it was available.

They know, of course, want you to pay way more for that domain. If you had purchased it on the first day it would have been available for somewhere in the range of $8 – $15 / year. Now? They offer you the chance to buy the domain from that mysterious “someone” at a much higher rate plus a commission!

How to Safely Search a Domain Name:

It’s easy! Simply go to Namecheap.com, a reputable domain search & registration company. You can safely research your options there without worrying that the company helping you research is about to take your options away…

Alternatively you can simply go to the search bar in your browser and try out the domains you are interested in!

Need guidance on how to go through the steps choosing a domain? Here are my step by step guides to choosing a domain and domain registration, as well as a good one on the option for domain privacy.

p.s. If you ever get an email or snail mail letter offering you the chance to buy a domain out of the blue, this is, in general a scam. You get the purchase that domain at a higher rate, AND pay that company for a required period of hosting that domain before they will let you get it out of their hands.

p.p.s. I strongly advise against choosing a web hosting or website building tool from GoDaddy as well. >> Learn more about hosting options here.

About Sarah Juliusson

Hi there, I’m Sarah Juliusson, The Website Doula. I support your practice growth with creative website design, seasoned business guidance, and plenty of great resources to help you find your way. With 20+ years as a doula and childbirth educator, I believe in the value of your work as much as you do. >> learn more about my work as the website doula