Before posting their first web page, webmasters need to create a domain name. As example, prior to posting any pages for TimeAtlas.com, I needed to register that domain with a domain registrar. I provided basic information such as contact names and addresses. That information is recorded by my registrar in a WHOIS database record.
Using WHOIS to Find Contact Information
There are many WHOIS databases as each registrar has their own, part of which shows to the public. There are also web sites that provide this information. One of my favorites is called Domain Tools. They provide an easy to use system that provides information you don’t see in the WHOIS record.
After entering a domain name and clicking the Search button, the system responds with information about the domain. In some cases, it also shows a thumbnail of the home page. If you scroll down, you can see an area I outlined called WhoIs Record. That area contains the contact information you need.
In the example above, I can see an address, phone number and email. While Ben Mack may not be the person I need to contact, I have a start.
The Use of Proxy Services
Although the above method works in many cases, it’s not always helpful. One of the first users of these databases were spammers. They would use automated tools that queried these databases for email addresses. To stop this practice, WHOIS databases started displaying email addresses as graphics. Some also started using CAPTCHAs.
Another measure webmasters took was to use a proxy service or private registration. A proxy allows webmasters to register their domain, but have the information from a proxy service display to the public. Many domain registrars offer this feature to their clients for free or little cost. When we transferred our domain, we enabled this feature.
The advantage of a proxy service is that it cuts spam, fake invoices, bogus renewal notices and automated link requests. The downside is people need to go to our website to get the contact info. In my case, the information is easily available, but some sites neglect to post the information.
Rather than seeing our contact info on Domain Tools, you may see the info from our proxy service.
If there was a problem with my website and people wanted to contact me, they could send an email or call the proxy service. In turn, they would forward me the information.
Although services like Domain Tools may not always get you the contact info you want, it does provide you with more options.
Last Updated (Saturday, 07 May 2011 15:09)