Bounced Emails Can Yield Hidden Info


With most domain name privacy services, an email that is directed to the anonymized email address will automatically be forwarded to the domain owner’s email address. The sender won’t know the email address until the owner responds.

Yesterday, I was sending out some domain name offers and inquiries, and one of the emails bounced as undeliverable. This email happened to be a privacy service email, and I found a bit of a surprise when I opened it. The bounced email report showed the email address of the domain owner, and that gave me two important pieces of information that may prove to be helpful.

First and foremost, the email address will easily enable me to find out who owns the domain name. The email address actually used the person’s full name, but even if it didn’t, I could probably use a variety of tools to find out the person behind the email address. This will be helpful in contacting the owner via another email address and possibly through a different channel.

The second piece of information is also valuable. Because the email address bounced, I can assume other domain name inquiries also bounced. With that being the case, I presume nearly all of those people who emailed the person since the email address stopped function gave up on this domain name. Privacy has been enabled for many years and there hasn’t been a website for at least 7 years. Had I not noticed the owner’s email address in the bounced email, I probably would have put this name in the unreachable category since it would be time consuming to do the additional research.

This domain name is going to be expensive (if it is even attainable), but knowing what I now know, it is worth a bit more to me. I should be able to get in touch with the owner more easily, and perhaps it will lead to a deal.

Every piece of information you can find can help bring you closer to making a deal.


  1. Sometimes the mere bouncing of the email does not indicate a full bouncing of all emails. One needs to carefully examine the headers, that might indicate e.g. that the recipient’s mailbox was non-existent, or full, or that the sender (you) was blocked for some reason.

    I get more ‘intel’ from return receipts, however. 😉

  2. In my experience the emails don’t always get forwarded, either. So when using privacy there is a risk that someone would buy your domain for $1 Million that you’d take in a second, but they are never able to reach you because the email never reaches you. Anyone ever consider that? It’s a very unpleasant thought, but sometimes you still want to use privacy. Maybe more domain investors need to test this for themselves so that there can be some publicity about private email forwarding not even working.

    • P.S. What are they going to think when they get no reply because you never got the email? Probably 99.99% of the time that you are ignoring it and that’s their answer, so they move on and you never get the $1 Million or whatever they would have gladly paid that you would have very gladly have accepted.

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