I'm not a web noobie in general, but I am when it comes to buying domain names. Whenever I've started a site, I've just found a name that's available, registered it, and that's that. That's what I did 8 years ago when I started my main site; the most obvious .com was taken, so I got a little creative and took something not quite as obvious.
While renewing the name of another site last week, a list of similar available names popped up. So I tried typing in the name of my main site - along with the more obvious one I'd wanted. The obvious one showed up as available on every TLD except .com and .net. I know the site with the .net; it's well-meaning but struggling. I hadn't checked the .com for 8 years and can't remember what was there then - possibly a niche directory, but I'm really not sure. It might be relevant that there was a frenzy of activity in the niche about then, and a lot of sites that started up based on that are now gone and it's back to the small but solid niche it was before.
When I typed in the .com, I got a page advertising Verio's domain name services and web hosting. That page gave links to WhoIs and SiteTiki pages that listed the owner of the domain as Verio. (SiteTiki has them listed for 200 domain names.)
But I don't see anything in the Verio information, or on the Verio website itself, saying the domain - or any of those 200 domains - is for sale. And when I put the more obvious name into their domain name search, the .com is shown as unavailable, just as it is at my own host. Is Verio just sitting on the names, hoping to bring type-in traffic (like me) to their web hosting site? You'd be waiting a very long time for some of those 200 names to bring in one person on type-in traffic!
So what's the deal? If they want to sell the name, why don't they say so somewhere? Should I contact Verio's sales department and ask? (I'm thinking I'd first ask about the 200 names on SiteTiki in general rather than telling them right away which one I'm interested in.) Or is there something else I should be doing that they assume I know about? I don't want to change my site's URL, as my "creative" name is easy to remember and a lot of regular site visitors type it in when they're away from their home computer. But I certainly wouldn't mind having that more obvious .com pointing to it.
Where do I go from here? Or do I?