One of the most common problems I face when trying to buy a domain name in private is getting in touch with the owner. You probably wouldn’t believe the number of people who seem to have outdated Whois contact information, making it more difficult to track them down to make an inquiry on their domain name.
When you can’t get in touch with a domain owner, the good news is that other people probably haven’t been able to contact them either, and without their receiving many inquiries, you could have a better shot at making a deal. That said, I think it’s important to make a reasonable offer.
There are many ways to find a domain owner when the Whois contact information and phone numbers don’t work, and I want to share a few resources with you for the next time you are trying to track down an owner:
- WhitePages.com – phone number search
- Facebook – email lookup
- LinkedIn – email and name lookup
- Archive.org – see previous iterations of the website’s contact info
- Screenshots.com – see previous iterations of the website’s contact info
- Intelius.com – find a person and contact information
Are there any other resources you use to find a domain owner when their contact information is outdated?
Call the registrar and have them locate the owner and update the information.
Isn’t it a requirement that the WhoIs is correct?
Great resources Elliot. Archive.org has been my best friend lately. I’ve managed to contact a few legacy webmasters for sale inquiries, as well as reconstruct a few high PR domains I’v aquired to somewhat resemble the old site layout, often by scraping the HTML from archive as a starting point.
“Call the registrar and have them locate the owner and update the information.
Isn’t it a requirement that the WhoIs is correct?!”
That’s also a possibility.
We are a registrar. Beside the problem to find people in order to get them the bill paid, we have some times the problem that we need to know, who was the owner of a domain, not who is the owner.
Domaintools.com offers a service of historic WHOIS data. But the service is not free of charge, as e.g. archive.org.