Bounced Emails & Non-Working Phone Numbers

FailureSome of the best domain names I have ever purchased came after receiving a notice with the subject “Delivery Status Notification (Failure)” meaning that it was not received by the intended recipient. This tells me that inquiries from others went unreceived as well, and acquisition attempts probably ended there (or a phone call, which generally goes to a non-working phone number). Without having received many offers, a domain owner may be more inclined to sell his domain name to me if I can just get in touch and make a fair offer.

There are many ways to get in touch with a domain owner when the email and phone numbers don’t work. A few ways to do this (although some might not be cost effective) include the following:

  • Find another contact at the company that owns the domain name.
  • Emails to random accounts @ the domain name (info, sales, webmaster…etc)
  • Google search for the company name or the previous owner’s name to find an email, phone number, or address.
  • See the Wayback Machine archive of a previous website to find an alternate contact number or email.
  • Visit the last known physical mailing address, although this might not be worth doing if it’s a significant distance from you.
  • Hire a private investigator to find the previous owner.

Depending on how badly you want the domain name or how much it is needed for a business will determine the effort you might want to undertake to acquire the domain name. As always, just make sure your offer is at least reasonable enough to get a reply when you do get in touch with the owner. The owner may not have received a significant amount of offers over the years, but unless he lives under a rock, he probably has some idea of the value of his domain name.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I’ve ran into that and have attempted five different times, after extensive communication attempts, to drive to their house to speak to them. These were all in reasonable driving distance.

    Each time nobody was there. Was it vacation, in the hospital, divorce? I don’t know….but that did not work for me.

  2. Elliot…I am in the process of dealing with this exact situation right now….company gone…phone number no good…however I just sent an email 2 hours ago…I will let you know the results….funny timing.

  3. Also try FaceBook, LinkedIn (Paid) and Intellius.

    My best domain purchase was facilitated by locating the owner’s parents and calling them on a Sunday afternoon. The domain owner was over for dinner and none to pleased that I’d called his parents. However, he did reply to his emails after that.


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