It probably goes without saying, but it is important to identify who is inquiring about one of my domain names. I want to be able to know if a major corporation wants to buy my domain name, if it really is a college student working on a thesis project, and I need to gauge any risk if a lawyer is contacting me. I want to share some ways I try to identify who is contacting me.
When someone inquires about one of my domain names via my Embrace.com landing page, they are required to input their name and email address. I ask for a phone number, but it is not required in order to submit an inquiry/offer.
The first thing I usually do is run a Google search for the person’s name. This usually doesn’t give me enough identifying information since the majority of inquiries either only have a first name or have a common enough name that I can’t identify the person with certainty. I then try to search Google for the email address. This works better and can lead to a plethora of information, including domain registrations, website and/or forum posts, and other pieces of information that can prove to be useful.
I also use several tools (some require paid accounts) to identify domain name registration information. I use DomainIQ, DomainTools, and Whoisology to see what other domain names the person owns. Although this doesn’t always yield information about why the person is inquiring about one of my domain names, it can show me whether the person is a domain investor or operates businesses online and owns domain names.
I like to look at similar domain names to see if the person inquiring owns them. I usually start with the .net, .org, .CO, and some other derivations of the domain name where applicable. This can be helpful when there is something, but most of the time there isn’t anything related.
Facebook and LinkedIn can provide good background information about someone who inquired about a domain name. LinkedIn is especially good at showing what company a person is from or represents. The caveat here is that the person could work for a huge company but the domain name inquiry is on behalf of him or herself or a friend/family member. Also, I sometimes forget that if I click on the person’s LinkedIn profile while logged into my account, they will have the ability to see that I visited their page. That’s not a huge issue, but it is something to keep in mind.
One neat trick I use sometimes is entering a Gmail address (when used) into the Gmail search bar. If the person is listed with a Google + page, I may be able to find out who they are that way. This is a bit hit or miss, but it has helped me ID quite a few people who inquired about a domain name.
When I have a phone number, I can use Google or WhitePages.com to see if that yields a result. Sometimes I will even ask for a phone number before discussing to give another data point to identify the buyer. I have found email addresses to be more useful though.
Some people simply can’t be found. Some want to be totally covert and others simply have very little web presence. Finally, some people are inquiring on behalf of another person, and any info I find might lead me down the wrong path.
There are a number of reasons why I want to know who is inquiring about my domain names. These are just some of the methods I use to find out who is behind the inquiry.