I hear it all the time from startups and entrepreneurs:
"We tried to get a better domain name, but all the good ones were taken."
And therein lays the rub. "Taken."
Taken means the domain name has already been registered by someone else, but that doesn't mean the domain is unavailable. It just means you are probably going to have to pay more than $10 for the domain.
In my conversations with people who get frustrated by this reality, I noticed a number of common themes emerging.
They are usually in a hurry and need a new domain name within a few days. Because of this, they feel frustrated that they can’t just buy the domain instantly. In reality, the domain name may be available for instant (or very quick) purchase in some marketplaces or other venues they are not aware of. In most cases, there is ample time to get the right domain name.
They are concerned that they will have to "pay a fortune" for the domain name. This is a legitimate concern, of course, but one person's "fortune" is another person's bargain. People often assume that the owner of the domain they want will ask for five or six figures, but the vast majority of domain names change hands in the $2,000-5,000 range, which is not an unreasonable amount for a business to permanently acquire its brand online. There are good deals to be had out there if you know where to look and how to negotiate.
They resent, almost on principle, paying a third party more than standard registration fee for "their" name. The thing is it's not their name. Someone else already thought up that name, and that someone put their own money down and registered the matching domain name. That someone did nothing wrong. There are billions of people on the planet. Ideas and names can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. And there will be overlaps every now and then. It’s inevitable. Try not to take it personally. And whatever you do, don't let your feelings of resentment stop you from pursuing your desired domain name.
Yes indeed, many of the good domain names are taken. But that doesn't mean they are unavailable. In fact, the domain name you want (or perhaps an even better one) might be available faster than you assumed and cheaper than you feared, even if that does mean -- horror of horrors -- you will be buying it off another party.
Before you compromise and settle on an inferior domain name out of frustration, speak to a domain name broker such as myself or one of my industry colleagues, professionals who buy and sell domain names for a living. You've got nothing to lose, and you might learn that the domain name you really want is more available than you thought.