Someone Registered My Name As A Domain Name
Disclaimer – there is no legal advice in this article.
Help! Someone Registered My Name As A Domain Name. What should I do?
This is a common question as many people find their name has been pre-registered either as a complete coincidence (majority of the cases), as a prank (rare), or due to another business sharing the same name (common), or due to the unfortunate practice of domain squatting (common).
No matter the case, this article will explore what you should do if someone registers your personal or business name as a domain name.
When you find out that someone has registered your name as a domain name, it can be unsettling, as you now know that the business name you really wanted is already in-use, or that someone has already registered the best domain name you could ever think of. In some instances, such as when you already own the trademark rights to your business name in your market, you may wish to consider the possibility of speaking with a trademark specialist to decide your next course of action. But, if like most small business owners, you only had a dream of your business and an idea, unfortunately, it is probably time to go back to the drawing board and search for a new domain name for your business.
I don’t want to let go and begin trying to register a new domain name or to create a new brand for my small business, it was already really hard, can’t I reach out and contact the person that has already registered my name as their domain name?
This is a fair point to raise. The short answer is, it depends.
Firstly, does the registrant of the domain use privacy protection? If so, from the domain details alone (perhaps found via a WHOIS look-up),
Second, is there an active website hosted on the domain? If so, you may be able to find their contact details from here.
Even if there is no active commercial website operating, if you are able to get in touch, be prepared to pay a fee to purchase or acquire your domain. It is likely that the current domain registrar may want many multiples of the standard domain registration fee in-order to hand-over your desired domain. It is up to you to place a financial value on your domain name, but we suggest that you consider a self-driven re-branding, strategic marketing and re-design session before going down this path. As a small business, we lost a domain we desired, and was asked to pay thousands of dollars in a foreign currency in-order to re-obtain it – we passed – and went on to grow that business into a fantastical local service provider brand.
It is difficult to let go of old domain names. I can assure you, as the author of this article, that I have had to let go of several treasured business and domain names in the past and you can really wrack your brains and spend a lot of time and energy coming up with a methodology and then systematically following it to produce a list of “possible” and “potential” domain names to exclude, all the while still tasting the bitterness and missing that comes from having lost (or rather, deprived of the opportunity to register and own) your previously beloved prior name.
So, when you do find out what someone has registered your name as domain name, you really need to emotionally move past the old name, and try hard to be open minded, creative and accepting of external input on the new name. If you did any casual services or trialled your business concept prior to inception, you can ask your customers about what they valued about your approach and service to decide whether you may wish to use a value-based name for your new business name.
At the end of the day, once you become accepting to new possibilities for your business domain name, the sooner you can move forward, select one, and proceed with confidence. At the beginning, you may never believe it will be the same, but remember that a name is just a part of your businesses overall brand, which will grow into something much more than the sum of its parts. In time, you’ll find new and improved values in your business branding, and you will begin to forget about the original name and take pride in the new name and what it represents about what you do.
In conclusion, not all is lost if you lost your name due to someone else having already registered it.