Find Out Who Owns a Domain Name

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One of the most frequent questions I am asked by people who don’t invest in domain names is “how do you find out who owns a domain name?” When there’s a website, parked domain name, or any other type of landing page, finding out exactly who owns a domain name may not be that simple for someone who doesn’t have know where to look.

The answer, however, is fairly simple. The Whois database is a sort of similar to a phone directory in that it contains information about the ownership of a domain name. Whois records show the (registrant) owner’s name or company name, a contact person, phone number, postal address, email address, and some other bits of information. Although some of the information may not get you to the best person (ie the IT department at a major company), it does give information about the domain registrant.

Sometimes, a domain name is registered privately. Most domain registrars (and perhaps independent companies) offer the ability to register domain names under a privacy guard. This means the registrant’s information is protected, and it can only be revealed by the domain registrar if legal action is taken . Oftentimes, however, if you use the privacy email address on record, it will be forwarded directly to the domain owner’s email address.

To find out who owns a domain name, I usually use a service like DomainTools or Whoisology. Domain registrars will also generally have a page where you can do a Whois lookup to see who owns a domain name. For example, you can use Name.com or 101Domain to do a Whois search to find domain ownership information.

If you want to buy a domain name and are having trouble finding the owner, you can try several things:

1) Visit the domain name and see if there is a contact form. Sometimes it’s small, but oftentimes it’s right on top. Messages like “This domain name may be for sale” or “Inquire about this domain name” will generally put the visitor in touch with the domain owner or manage.

2) Visit a marketplace like Sedo, Afternic, or Aftermarket.com and see if the domain name is listed for sale.

3) Contact a domain broker and see if they know the owner. On some good domain names, they may know who the owner is, and if that’s the case, they may be able to get in touch and work out a deal on your behalf.

I sometimes take the ease of finding a domain owner for granted, but if you’re not a domain investor and don’t know this space very well, you might find it difficult to find a domain name owner. Hope this helps.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Here are a couple more tips to find the owner…

    1. Use DomainTools.com Whois History to see past whois records. Sometimes privacy was added after registration.

    2. If DomainTools.com has a screen shot to the right of the whois information, click on previous screenshots as you may see the contact info there.

    3. See if other extensions, dash and other versions are taken. If so, you may be able to tie a domain to the one you are looking at. For example, .us domains cannot have whois privacy protection. There’s a change the .us owner might be the same as the domain owner for the domain you want.

    4. Go to Archive.org and type in the domain. You can see old web pages there with working links that may give you contact info.

    5. Talk with a Domain Buyer Broker 🙂

    • I for one would much rather read newbie stuff from a successful domainer than satirical garbage from a wannabe.

      “Call the NSA, they will help you find the owner and much more.”

      LMAO 🙂 Good one BullS, sadly this is true.

    • Raider, I was hoping you and your Greek hubby would show up at NamesCon – I promised to treat you to dinner – but I understand that you were unwilling to mingle with us “wannabes.”

      Listen, you come forward as overly bitter after all these years, maybe domaining isn’t for you? 😀

    • If I’m overly bitter, it’s because of the scummy things you posted on a particular forum, your censoring of posts and sending ban threats in my inbox, add to that the actual ban, and now your looking for amends with a pubic dinner invite to help prove to everyone your a great guy? when most of us know what you really are.

    • Yawn. Listen, Raider. You need to get over it. You were banned on DNForum by no other than Adam Dicker himself. Need I remind you, that your political agenda disrespected the victims of Boston Marathon bombing in the most heinous manner. If you have any problems regarding this ban, contact Adam with a sincere apology and I might vouch for your return. In the meantime, I’d advice you to stop embarrassing yourself further.

    • You and Adam need to get your stories straight, he clearly says otherwise.. Regardless of who’s lying I have NO desire to return to a forum that’s sinking into the abyss. As for the boston question I asked, I was proven 100% correct for asking it;
      http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2013/06/fbi-knew-earlier-of-boston-bombing-suspect-166313.html

      And you don’t ban someone for asking a political question you idiot, it was Adam who wrote this remember: “This section is a place where people can express their views FREELY on politics and current events.”

      http://www.dnforum.com/f254/politics-section-has-been-re-opened-stern-warning-thread-495663.html

      DUH!

    • I don’t think Adam is going to appreciate you making him look like a liar, I always thought of Adam as honest, misguided at times but honest.. One thing about telling the TRUTH, you don’t need a good memory.

    • Shane, indeed, a lot of domainers seemed to enjoy the per gTLD analytics. I should make it a daily post, what do you think? Francois got all upset but c’est la vie.

    • BetterWhois.com is nice, but you have to enter that code (or do you still?). I only use it in a pinch now or for secret stealth reasons on rare occasions :D, almost never really, but it’s one I used to use a lot many years ago now. Kind of cool someone even mentioning it here which I would not have expected. It’s nice to see all these real domainers posting here, btw, even though I’m only now at most a “quasi-domainer” despite having many regged. I won’t get into any conflict stream here now, but some folks are certainly familiar to me. Hey Raider – I’m the same John from before, btw, the one who mentioned how I used to know you at DNF. Everyone keep rockin’, and I still like Elliot’s blog and check it regularly, which he could doubtless tell from my IP too. I finally got interested in checking one other regularly as well, but Elliot’s was the first where I do that intentionally and not just from links. Cheers, all. 🙂

    • I remember you John, it’s always a pleasure reading your posts. Honestly I’m not the full time domainer either, I’m gainfully employed and dabble in 3 different trades, one of which is domaining, it’s a business of investments, waiting for the right customer to buy one of my assets and taking a portion of the profits and reinvesting in more, and always putting some away for my kids college fund.

      As for Elliot’s blog, what can you say about the guy other than he writes and articulates very well and he’s genuinely a good guy, a bit sensitive at times where he gets defensive but never resorts to personal attacks, a true professional and class act IMO.. And the best part about his blog is we don’t have to guess whether or not the content is fact, fiction or just plain nonsense.

      Hopefully we’ll both benefit and make some money in 2014, Best of luck to you 🙂

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