is owned by somebody else. Does that mean you are exiled from the internet?

Of course not! This is an opportunity to get clever about how to shoehorn your name into a website URL. Here are three options:

Option one – Check the other TLDs.

Around the world, .com is seen as the most ‘reputable’ of the TLDs (Top Level Domains). It’s also the most widely used (see infographic below). If your website ends in .net or .org, it’s not a mar on your reputation – but .biz and .info could make you look sketchy. If you are a professional, getting a .co is pretty legit. Whatever variable you choose, make sure you dominate with SEO. If somebody searches for your name, you want your website to come out on top, and not the squatter on the .com.

Option two – Add a prefix or a suffix.

If you have a really common name, like Mark Smith, then try out names that make you stand out, like:


Add some pizzaz to your name, and to score some extra branding points, use NameChk to find social media handles that match. The best case scenario is that your (longer) domain name will also be your handle across all your profiles.

Option three – Slice your name, internationally.

Google the last two letters of your name + space + TLD, and if you are lucky, there is a country that uses those two letters for registering domains. Even if is registered, you can get by registering the ‘marksmi’ domain in Thailand. Registering an international domain can sometimes be tricky, but as long as you can point your nameservers to your regular hosting account, it will function just like any other website.

Bonus points: get a full name email address

If you have an ‘a’ in your first name, then you can do some alphabetic math to make your name into your email address. Mark Smith can have an email address of, and nobody is going to care if he doesn’t have, because his email address is awesome.

To set this up, follow these steps: (examples in parentheses)
1 – Register your international domain (
2 – Point the nameservers to your domestic hosting account (, or whatever)
3 – Set up an email forwarder (m @ ->

You can email the author at I can’t follow all the steps above myself, because the techies in South Sudan aren’t quite up to snuff yet. (.ss! I’m waiting!)

Any other domain name tricks?

Have you seen a clever way to use domain names? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear it.