Need Something Done? Get An Executive’s Email Address via Whois

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The other day, I was putting something together and it scratched because the fit of the brackets were too tight. I looked up the product on the website where we bought it, and I saw that someone recently posted a review with the same comment.

Instead of going through customer service to complain about the problem, I did what every smart domain investor should do when having issues with a product or service: I did a Whois search, found an executive’s email address, and got in touch via email to let him know about the issue. Less than 2 hours later, the issue was in the process of being resolved.

When a company is started, the founder is often the primary registrant of the domain name, unless privacy is used. As companies grow, many will change the registrant information to a domain administrator, but some will keep the CMO or CEO as the registrant. For those who initially had the CEO’s email address listed, I can find it using the Whois history tool.

I am not a big fan of waiting for customer service to respond or dealing with people who don’t really care much about customer service. CEOs and other executives have more skin in the game and are often far more willing to go above and beyond to satisfy a customer’s requests or complaints. Sending an email to a company CEO or executive is a good way to get an issue resolved quickly.

This is also a very good way to make new contacts with executives. You can use a Whois lookup to email an executive to praise the company or make a suggestion.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Elliot, this is very clever and could work in some cases but might also backfire. Here are the downsides to such an approach in my personal opinion:

    1. Customer Service departments often operate 24/7 and have internal processes and resources to route, escalate and service inquiries much quicker than an executive who normally doesn’t deal with that stuff.

    2. Consider the impression — the first impression — you are making on an executive if the very first time they hear from you it is because you are ignoring their established support mechanism and essentially trying to jump the queue, especially if the issue is not urgent. Will they think you are clever or a drama queen?

    I’ve been on both sides of this scenario for large and small companies and my rule of thumb is that you should always try the standard support mechanisms first and only escalate to executives if the response is not adequate or timely.

  2. I once did that to a domain company that is owned by well known domain investors and I got shouted at for not using their site’s contact form. I still find it ridiculous.

  3. I guess it also depends on the size of the company. I wouldn’t email the CEO of Google if I had an issue with a search result, but it’s acceptable (to me) to email the CEO of a smaller company. It all depends on the situation.

  4. Hey Elliot –

    I think you make a good point. I had a similar experience, but in my case I contacted the customer service who did not respond for weeks. At this point (not expecting much from my action), I emailed the owner of the company…explained the full situation, and he got my issue resolved in a matter of hours.

    This was for one of the bigger domaining forums.

  5. Google was just an example of a large company I do business with on a daily basis. I wouldn’t email the CEO of Starbucks if my coffee is burned either 🙂

  6. Agree with Jim.

    Elliot, looking at it from the other side of the fence, this might be good to acquire domains but from a customer service standpoint, it’s not the best experience for either side.

    In our hosting business we have established support procedures and by contacting management directly, customers mistakenly think they will get faster support or more attention to their issue.

    – Richard

  7. The website Consumerist uses this tactic all the time, they call it the executive email carpet bomb, and suggest using it only for extreme issues where front line service fails.

    They do maintain a list of company execs and executive support numbers and emails as well.

    consumerist.com/company-directory/

    The few times I have resorted to using this, it has been quick replies and happy endings…

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