Is a great name usable if someone has the domain name parked?


I am writing a mobile application and I have a great name for it. The problem is, someone has parked the .com domain name for it and won't take less than $5,000. They have owned the domain name for nearly ten years now, and it's still not being used as anything more than one of those cheap search feeder pages.

Am I asking for trouble by using the name for my application anyway? The name is not trademarked, according to the Trademark Electronic Search System and I was thinking of using the moniker for my application website domain, which is available.

Application Naming Domain

asked Sep 21 '10 at 08:02
136 points

7 Answers


Do you want to emphasize your app's name or your company's name? What about *name* What shows up in Google results when you search for name? With enough press and reviews, can you overcome whatever the results are to be at the top?

Historically, trademark applications have run me about $1,000 with legal time and fees and taken about 15-18 months to push through. These have been marks where the USPTO doesn't come back with any questions and the mark sails through.

People use Google heavily. More people type into Google than go to .com directly. If you can get sufficient incoming links about your product to a web site, you might be OK.

If $5,000 is a big investment for you, then I suspect there's better things to do with the $--advertising, artwork, paying the rent.

Hope this helps.

answered Sep 21 '10 at 12:06
659 points
  • I don't have a company name either, and I heard it can be a good idea to call the company after the name of your domain. That idea is pretty much shot. – Cowgod 14 years ago
  • @jclark - I would come up with separate company and product names. Then in the future if you release additional apps your company is not named after just one app. – Josh Curren 14 years ago
  • Yes, definitely have separate brands for company and product. – Mitch 14 years ago


Dropbox went months (years) before was actually available (they used until then). Worked for them.

answered Sep 22 '10 at 07:33
Phillip Cohen
141 points


You need to read the dislaimer at the TESS site:

What is NOT in TESS? Some trademark owners with valid and protected trademark rights do not choose to register their marks with the USPTO, so those marks will not be found in this database. However, you should still consider these other marks when adopting a mark for your goods and/or services. If a trademark is being used in the United States, the owner may have legally protected rights that are not the result of the USPTO registration process. You may therefore wish to consult a trademark attorney or professional trademark search firm for a more comprehensive search of, e.g., state registrations and common law marks. If you like the name you need to do a real trademark search (it will cost you money) and then you need to buy the domain if the name is truely available. Otherwise, move on to a new name.

answered Sep 21 '10 at 11:15
Gary E
12,510 points


If you're really stuck on wanting that name, then I'd say just work around the dot com - use dot net, or the "get" thing you suggested, etc. Fence this squatter in. Then, somewhere down the road, you have more leverage to buy the name from the squatter .... or perhaps the 5k won't be as meaningful to you then.

answered Sep 22 '10 at 00:43
146 points
  • To call the person a "squatter" is making a judgment call without having facts here. Until proven guilty or "in bad faith" this person is the owner of the domain. – Tucson 13 years ago
  • No - I think the term squatter is pretty accurate. These are folks who just hope to make a quick buck out of doing nothing but speculating at basically no risk - on domain names. Squatter is not harsh enough. – Tim J 13 years ago


Think of a new name. I went through this with one of my businesses. Your success will be THEIR success. As soon as you gain momentum, they will post a site and grab your traffic. It's not worth it! The best thing you could do is create a completely different name, be hugely successful, and they will still be paying domain fees. But once you come up with a name, ensure that you not only get it for your domain, but for social media sites as well. And if it's that important, get the .net and .biz and redirect to the .com ... Read this article (among others)

answered Sep 22 '10 at 07:41
Marna Friedman
209 points


It is my experience that people who park domains usually know a lot about domain names and their values. $5,000 might look like a rip-off to you, but it might not be.

I would check the appraisal of the domain name by , and compare with the quoted $5,000.

In the end, a domain name with real value might be a great investment, especially if you are developing a product or service around it.
Consider that the domain is probably worth a lot more to you (you are an end-user with something to sell) than to the current domain owner (who is only getting small PPC revenue). PPC revenues went down tremendously in the last years following the economic crisis and many domainers are looking to sell, so I believe you are in a good bargaining position.

Even if your startup fail, you will still have a good domain name (assuming it has recognised value on the domain name market).

answered Dec 10 '10 at 22:45
714 points


Having a (as host) and a get[myapp].com (as funnel) set up would be ideal. Not only would it allow you to have presence and build links (especially between each other), but additionally it would give you a nice platform for A/B testing of marketing materials later on.

answered Dec 11 '10 at 02:34
246 points

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