A few years ago, GoDaddy began blocking Whois lookups from third party websites. For instance, when I do a Whois search using DomainTools to find a registrant email address, if a domain name is registered at GoDaddy, there is a link within the Whois record that says: “Registrant Email: Select Contact Domain Holder link at
https://www.godaddy.com/whois/results.aspx?domain=[domainname].com” It’s a bit of an inconvenience to me, but I am sure GoDaddy has its reasons for this policy.
One interesting thing I found on the GoDaddy Whois search results page is a link that says “Contact Domain Holder.” When that link is clicked, a popup is displayed that overlays the page with a contact form. The person visiting the Whois lookup page can fill out the form and submit a message to the registrant. The message field is limited to 240 characters, so it needs to be brief.
What makes this stand out to me is that the registrant will receive an official email from GoDaddy with the message from the sender. The email comes from GoDaddy and states that it is a message sent from the Whois contact page. I would imagine the deliverability and open rate is higher on this type of form submission than through a normal email.
When sending messages to domain registrants, the sender agrees to terms of service outlined by GoDaddy. I would recommend that anyone sending messages using GoDaddy’s Whois contact page read the full T&C notice to avoid violating any of the company policies that could cause problems.
If someone is trying to get in touch with a domain registrant but is unsuccessful, they might want to perform a Whois lookup at GoDaddy to see if the domain name is registered at GoDaddy. If the name is registered at GoDaddy, it may be possible to send a brief email to the registrant via GoDaddy’s messaging platform found on the Whois record page.