Keep Your Whois Records Updated

I made a $2,500 offer for a domain name the other day via email, and immediately after hitting send, the email was returned to me as undeliverable.   I did a bit of research, and I found that the domain name used for that email address (but not the domain name I want to buy) had expired and was available for anyone to register.

Technically, I could now register the expired domain name, set up an email forwarder for the Whois email on record, hit “forgot password” at the domain registrar, and use the password reset to take over that company’s domain account. I could then transfer the domain name I want to buy (and all other names in the account) to my domain account.

Domain registrars seem to send an annoying amount of “Annual Whois Update” emails, but it’s important to keep your Whois records accurate and updated. Not only is it useful so you can receive email inquiries (like my $2,500 opening offer) but you can also make sure your domain names aren’t transferred without your authorization.

Taking over the company’s domain account (and/or domain names) would amount to theft (illegal), and I certainly would never do this, but it’s something you need to think about with your own domain names because there are a lot of people who wouldn’t even think twice about doing this and quickly selling the domain names. Now I just need to do a bit more research to get in touch with this company so I can buy its 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. Elliot,
    It’s for this same reason that one might consider not opting for private registrations. I often do because I tend to develop my domains lately and use a contact form for such enquiries, however, if you use private registration then you will also not receive offers!

  2. Hey E,

    When you send emails to end user offering up your domains for sale, do you send the email from an address or do you use your Gmail address?

    I’m about to send some emails offering up some of my parked domains and I was wondering if I should set up official looking email addresses to email from or if I should just do it from my Gmail account.


    (I know this has nothing to do with your above post, but I thought of it when reading another or your posts and didn’t want it to get forgotten down below)

  3. not sure I followed the methodology, perhaps you may not want to create the perfect roadmap for fraud online so u are keeping it vague…but wouldnt you need to try and gain access to the original email on file for this to work?

  4. If you really really need the domain name, you will always find a way to close the deal.

    Another analogy is if someone really wants to find out who you are, s/he will find a way to do it.

  5. If he owned the domain that the email was associated with then he would have control over the emails. yep, this could be done, but like Elliot said, it would amount to theft.

  6. *

    For this very reason, I leave my contact email domains on auto-renewal.

    The worst that can happen is that I’ll pay $10-11 for renewal. Better that then someone registering my expired domain and stealing my account.

    I’m pretty good at keeping on top of renewals, but stuff can happen.

    Also, my domain contact email is different from my account email.


  7. I think what would have been cool is if registrars had their own email system and assigned an auto gen email which then forwards to your email, kind of like craigslist. This way, the actual email address won’t be public for anyone to do something like that.

  8. A couple of lessons ahead….

    Back in 2001, I picked up on drop a generic domain-related .com. It had been a domainer and I got a few dozen renewal notices in for fairly solid domains (nice ones even back then). I just ignored them. Then I saw that the domains had actually dropped. I tried contacting the previous owner of the domain I had figuring since so many goodies were dropping, he might have others. It turns out he had passed away and his wife had no idea of his domain investments. I tried to do the right thing and said to her – if I see other notices go in, can I take care of the renewals and send you a few bucks. She said, she didn’t even know about them and to do what I wanted. Unfortunately I didn’t get any other renewal emails in.

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