Several reasons may come up where you need to know who owns a particular domain name. Some people need this information because they wish to own the particular domain name. Other individuals are simply curious about who owns this internet real estate, want to form a partnership, or inquire about brokering the domain.
It doesn’t matter why you wish to have this information. The methods of obtaining the owner’s name remain the same. However, you must understand there are no guarantees in finding the owner. If the person wishes to remain anonymous, they can.
The Importance of Knowing Who Owns a Domain
Besides the reasons mentioned above, there is another key reason you must know who owns a domain name before attempting to purchase and register this name. You need to know if a former owner used the name for spam in the past.
When you research the domain name’s owner, you will find other useful information. This includes the last time a person or entity registered the domain name and how many people or entities have owned it over the years.
When a specific domain name changes hands multiple times, this suggests that the domain was used for various projects. People may equate the new site with the spam and avoid it. Take this into consideration when deciding whether to purchase the domain name or choose another one.
How to Find the Domain Name Owner
Several methods may find the domain name owner. If one method doesn’t work, move on to the next. Don’t stop until you exhaust all methods, as what works with one domain name might not be helpful for another.
WHOIS Lookup Tool
The WHOIS lookup tool benefits many individuals looking for the owner of a domain name and additional information. With the help of this tool, you can gather information about any available domain name.
However, recent changes to WHOIS practices have made this less reliable. Domain owners are not required to list their info, and to boot, registrars offer privacy protection for personal information.
That being said, different WHOIS providers still provide value to finding a domain owner. For example, GoDaddy WHOIS allows you to submit a request to contact the owner even if the contact information is hidden. This allows domain owners to protect their email and phone number while still remaining reachable.
Why would a person choose to use multiple WHOIS lookup tools? If someone registered the domain name with one of these providers, you may get more information that will be of help when negotiating for the name. Registrars often have their own WHOIS tools which will provide more info than generic options.
Visit the Website
Many people express surprise when they learn they can often visit a domain name and find the owner’s name listed right on the website. While this doesn’t work every time, it never hurts to try. If there is a live website, or even just a contact form, it’s possible to reach the owner.
Archive.org (Wayback Machine)
If the site is blank, visit the Wayback Machine to see if the domain name has ever hosted a site. This may provide you with information about whom to contact about purchasing the domain name.
Archive.org takes snapshots of millions of web pages per day and stores them on their site. This is valuable for finding a domain owner because if the owner used to host a website, the old site may have provided contact info.
Contact the Domain Registrar
Domain registrars cannot share information about a domain name owner if they wish to remain anonymous. They may, however, be required to share information if the owner used the domain name for illegal purposes. If you’re looking for the owner to remove trademarked info, then the registrar is supposed to step in to help.
If these methods don’t work, reach out to the domain registrar and ask about purchasing the domain name. The registrar can then reach out to the owner and share this information. A final option involves looking up contact information for the company using the domain name and reaching out directly.
Use all available avenues when attempting to purchase a domain name. If one doesn’t work, move on to the next. With time and effort, you may find the owner of a domain name can often be uncovered, so acquiring the name can move forward. It never hurts to try.