I want to share a tip for those of you who don’t use an email service like Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL in favor of hosting your own email on one of your domain names. If you ever sell that domain name, make sure you update your Whois contact information.
Yesterday afternoon, I found a domain name I wanted to inquire about. I saw that the Whois contact email address was a name @ a fantastic one word domain name. I thought to myself that perhaps I could inquire about that great name, too, and buy two domain names at once. I visited the second domain name and saw that it was parked.
More intrigued by the better one word domain name, I decided to do some more research on it. I saw that the Whois registration went private a few years ago, so I dug into the Whois history tool to try to find an entry with a valid email address on file. It turns out that the same Whois email contact was used on this name as was used on the other name I was interested in buying.
I did a bit more research, and on the final Whois history entry before it went private, I saw the name of a large domain industry company. Given the evidence, including the parked landing page, it is safe to assume that one word domain name was privately acquired several years ago. However, the owner of the domain name I originally wanted to buy must not have changed the Whois contact email address. I sent an email to that address, and unfortunately, it bounced.
This is a good illustration of why you need to be cautious when you use your own domain name to host email that you use for your Whois contact information. Since the phone number on file doesn’t work, I can’t get in touch with the domain owner unless I do additional sleuthing or hire an investigator. The domain name is good but it’s not worth my time or capital to investigate further.
The owner may have done well on the first domain name, but he or she lost out on my offer for the second domain name. It’s a reminder to keep your Whois contact information accurate!