I'm launching a new project/company, upon which we've decided on a name that we really like. We're planning to first target the UK, before expanding worldwide. Unfortunately (and annoyingly), the .com domain for our business is taken, though it's owned by a domain broker looking to sell it.
My dilemna is - once we've built and launched the product and it's a viable business behind our .co.uk domain, logic dictates that it will also increase the price the domain broker will want for the .com domain - since he'll know we'll want/need it more, in a manner of speaking. Does it make more sense to take the hit now and probably pay a little less for the .com domain and launch from there, despite funds being tight or should we wait until the business is making money and can afford to pay (possibly considerably) more for the domain further down the line?
I have a customer who had the same problem: he got a great name and bought the domain of his country. Then he tried to get the .com domain via a reseller. Somehow the reseller did fail: he did not have the right to offer us the domain. So this deal didn't happen. But the owner of the domain did knew about our interest and suddenly the price was insane (xx.xxx Euro). As the marketing stuff was already in print...
If you wait until you have your business running the price will become crazy as the domain broker does know about your need - and that you won't change the name easily.
In a separate story, I once wanted another domain name for a small project without revenue. The domain trader wanted 3500 euro from me. I said no, because I didn't expect anything from my project. After a while the trader came back to me and ask me to offer something. I could have traded with him, but actually I was not willing to pay more than 100$, so the deal didn't work out.
My suggestion: get the domain name. If you have some time and love some risk, you can say "no" at first glance and wait a few weeks until the trader comes back to you. My feeling says dealing with the trader by phone will save you some bucks too.
I'd say buy it. Chances are your company won't go as far with a bad brand to start. If you want help buying it I'd say get a domain broker. Try DNBA.org or a third party that can tell you what the value should be.
I would modify the original (and already taken) domain name by adding something like: hq, app etc
Take a loog at these examples: sparrowmailapp.com, basecamphq.com (which was making millions hosting the application on the domain name until very recently)