I got a phone call today from a client asking me whether there is a way to reserve a website domain address without buying it? Unfortunately the answer to his question was no. Domain addresses are registered on a first come first serve basis. And you have to pay to register one.
One reason for this is because the price for registering a domain address is already very low. Most domain address registrars will charge only 10$ or $20.
Another reason because if they let reserving then a lot more people than now will start reserving domain addresses without using them. Already a lot of the good .com domain addresses have being registered and just lie around idle without any website on them. As a result even for very serious business needs its hard to find a good .com address. Just imagine if they allowed to reserve and pay later how many more domain addresses would be taken and unavailable for use!
Anyway, this is a interesting dilemma that happens more often than you think. It has happened to me several times. For example in my clients case here, he had got a sudden inspiration for a good website name. He had checked I think on Godaddy.com weather it was already registered and found it was not. As it was a good name he wanted to get it before someone else does. However he didn’t have the means to pay online and buy it immediately.