Domain Name Registration Dilemma

One of my father’s business associates of 20+ years has a company I will call “J. Smith”. Most of their products are sold via private label, but they do use their brand for some direct to consumer sales, although they are always sold in retail stores as they are a wholesaler. Today, I navigated to his website, “” and got an error page. I did a Google search and found that his company website is actually “” I did a Whois search, and lo and behold, “” was previously registered but now remains unregistered.
I called my father’s friend on the phone to talk about a couple of things and to catch up. During our conversation, I told him he should really buy his last name .com, either for his business or so nobody could do anything with it. Since he doesn’t use the domain name for anything other than email and a placeholder, he was reluctant and didn’t seem interested. I told him if he didn’t want it for his business, he should buy it for his son who might want it down the road. He said he would tell his son, but who knows if he will.
As savvy as I have become, I’ve found that there are many people who don’t realize the importance of a domain name – especially their own last name! Anyway, I am wondering if I should register the name for him. What do you guys think?

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. Are you sure that is not taken?

    “” was an example. I didn’t reveal the name, lest somebody decide to register it on their own.

  2. Register the name.
    Nothing wrong with exercising a little paternalism in the interest of preserving potential opportunities for his son.

  3. Definitely register it, perhaps under an alias. Then let Mr. Smith know that someone else has registered it and has put it up for sale at AfterNIC (or whereever).

    Then watch while his interest goes from nil to very high. I’ve seen it again and again: the name isn’t interesting until someone else has it. Once he’s seen how important it is to him, then you can give it to him as a present.


    I wouldn’t do this to a family friend 🙂

  4. Definitely register it. Even if he decides not to use it, it’s a good way of taking it out of circulation and guarding the business’s online identity.
    I think this is going to become more and more important, for individuals as well as businesses. In short: does he want his business to come top(ish) of Google when somebody searches for the name, or does he want someone else to have that spot?
    What if it was a competitor who registered the name? Would that help change his opinion?!

  5. Your post inspired me to go register my last name. Lo and behold when I found that it has been registered and is available for to purchase for $355.99. This is something that I thought of registering on occasion, but pushed it off thinking that the domain would always be there since my last name is fairly uncommon (not a lot of Kubarych’s roaming the planet). Lesson learned. My advice to everyone that has the opportunity to register their last name – spend the $8 and secure it today.

  6. Hi,
    Sometimes you can’t rescue a person from himself.
    But happily you can do so here.
    You know something they don’t.
    Odds are when they finally decide they want to register the domain, it will be too late.
    I would register the domain and tell him I did so on his
    behalf and it’s his or his son’s whenever.
    Very nice of you for your thoughtfulness.

  7. Definitely register it. I’ve locked down the dot com domain name of my wife (who will likely never use it) and my kids (who are too young to use them) in anticipation of a possible future.

  8. I think you did your best, by telling them what you thought. Now it would be in their best interest to register it, but if they don’t that’s their problem. I don’t agree with registering it, if they are a close family friend, IMO

  9. I think it will be the cheapest goodwill you could ever buy. I have several domains I have carried for five or six years where the beneficiaries are just now realizing how valuable they are.

  10. i’ll echo steve m & mhdoc (and pretty much everyone else)
    Reg it and gift it to him. His progeny will thank you for it and you get the satisfaction of doing a good deed for a friend.
    I got lucky with my (very common irish) name .com – tried to reg it a few years ago then looked again last year and it had been dropped. No hope of getting just the surname, though, so I guess any kids will have to suffer being Joe Jr’s… either that or pick baby names based on available .com’s

  11. I just did one of these. A domain expired and became available that was the business name of an associate who has a hobby business selling handcrafted kinky sex toys. I know he’s computer clueless — his business website is on one of those “build your website here for only $4.99 a month” sites with a clunky URL he doesn’t own — so rather than risk losing the domain, I just up and bought it. Then I contacted him and spent a painful week explaining the situation and walking him through the process of taking control of the domain from me.
    I’m not entirely sure he’ll put it to good use, but he was deliriously happy to get the domain back — turns out he used to own it but it had expired at a time when he had a “friend” handling “all that internet stuff” for him. Let’s hope he can keep it this time.

  12. Every so often, I check, to see if there is any money floating around that my family or friends might be missing out on. Sometimes it can be a bank account that their father had that wasn’t listed in his will, or a security deposit from a utility company that never made it to you when you changed your address.
    Of course I give the person a shout so that they can claim it (you can’t do it for them). I am always so surprised when 3 months later some people never took action on the claim! Usually I remind them again but I always wonder why they are not willing to invest the energy to get their money back.
    It will tell you on the screen if the amount is over $200. It is like walking past a $100 bill on the street and not reaching down to pick it up!
    I do think that you should register the name and hold it until they wise up. That’s what friends do.
    Everybody should take a minute and check out the site. You can look through many states at the same time, then you are directed to that State Treasurer to file a claim. $100 will buy you 10 predictive domains that you can hold for for a few years and maybe have a huge story to talk about in years to come.
    If anybody finds something big for themselves or somebody they are searching for it would be fun to know about!

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