There is a domain name I want to use for a new business I am starting. It is a perfect fit and I really have my heart set on getting it.

Only the .com of the name is registered, and I'm pretty sure the owner has forgotten about the domain. No changes have been made in 3 years, and the WHOIS information is a (almost funny) dead-end

  • Listed email bounces
  • Listed telephone goes to wrong number
  • Listed mailing address physically no longer exists (I looked it up on Google streets, the nearby houses have been demolished and it looks like it's being turned into an apartment complex)
  • Owner name is "D Smith" (do I have to call every D Smith in the region?)

My question: Is there any way to track down the owner of a domain besides the WHOIS record?


You can contact the registrar and request their information for contacting the owner. This information is sometimes different than the whois info, so you might get lucky. Otherwise Farseeker has a good idea with the wayback machine. If that doesn't work you're pretty well stuck.

  • this worked. i contacted the registrar and they were able to get the owner to update the info. – David Apr 2 '10 at 8:39

Excluding fraud? You could try the wayback machine to see if there's ever been any relevant content on the page that might help you track down the owner.

Including fraud? If you know who the registrar is (which will be presented by the whois), then the world is your oyster.

  • +1 for the wayback tip, awesome idea. Google may also have a cache of the page in their search. – Chris Thorpe Mar 30 '10 at 6:43

I was under the impression that the site contact information had to be valid by ordain of ICANN. If it was not you could write them and after some period of time the original owner lost the domain. A previous client of mine told me he had a domain name taken from him in that manner.

  • any links on this? – David Mar 31 '10 at 2:20

Read this blog post: How to Snatch an Expiring Domain.

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