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Owning your domain name is an important part of your success online. In an ideal world, you will own sites associated with your brand before it has strong public recognition. This reduces the risk that someone else will buy the name, forcing you to purchase it for a great deal more than a few dollars. If your brand is well established, you may need to be a little more creative in coming up with an alternative domain name, if the obvious choices aren't available.
Just because your domain name is already taken does not mean you should give up. A lot of people will purchase domain names and sit on them until someone else wants to buy it from them – at a higher price of course. Make sure to look up the domain name you want to see if there is another site listed under it. If not, try to contact the person who owns it to see if it is up for sale.