A few months back, a friend of mine posted an interesting request on her Facebook page. She asked if anyone had the contact information for three different artists, as she was thinking about commissioning a piece of art for the cover of her music album.
I did a bit of historical domain research, and lo and behold, I found what appeared to be a personal (AOL) email address from when one artist had first registered her domain name around 2001. My friend was then able to get in touch with this artist to make a request rather than having to go through other channels to get in touch with her.
Many people don’t consider the privacy issues when using their email address to initially register a domain name. Also, many people don’t really have the need to remain private until they “hit it big” and can change their contact information later.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind if you contact people using archived Whois records. The first thing is that it’s quite likely that an older email address, especially if it’s free, will no longer be used years later. More importantly, however, is the likelihood that the person you are attempting to contact will not appreciate being contacted, so be wise about when you use this and to whom. If you have something to offer them, there’s a better chance you’ll get an answer.