Are you curious about who owns a website that you've visited? Here are some tips to help you satisfy your curiosity.
Methods for Finding Who Owns a Website
Do a Whois Lookup
If you're lucky, you'll be able to determine the owner of the website by doing a whois lookup.Many free tools are available to help you do a whois search. Here are links to just a few of them:
- Whois source at Domaintools.com
- Whois lookup at Godaddy
- Whois lookup at Network Solutions
- Whois database available through Enom
There are cases when a simple whois lookup might be ineffective. Domain registrars such as Godaddy and Network Solutions provide private registration services. Private registration protects website owners' privacy. If the owner of a website utilizes this feature, his personal information will not be available through a basic whois lookup. If this is the case, it is going to be more of a challenge to figure out who owns the website.
Sometimes you can still contact the owner of a website through these services; the process varies depending on the service.
Domains by Proxy is an example of a private registration service. If you do a whois lookup and the contact details refer you to Domains by Proxy or a similar proxy service, you will know that the website owner has registered privately.
Look for a Contact Page
If you are unable to find the owner of the website through the whois database, try looking around the website itself. Many websites provide a contact page. You can attempt to contact the website's owner through the email address, phone number or street address they provide.
Look for an About Us Page
Check for an about us page. The owner of the website might have provided relevant details on that page.
Reasons for Researching Who Owns the Website
There are many reasons why you might want to figure out who owns a website. Perhaps you've noticed copyright infringement or other abusive behavior that is adversely affecting your own website, and you want to put an end to it. Maybe the website is competing with a site that you own, and you'd like to get a better sense of who your competitor is. Perhaps you'd like to make on offer to purchase the website. Maybe you would just like to verify the credibility of the website, and evaluate the accuracy of the information presented. Depending on your reasons, there are some additional strategies for achieving your objectives.
Abusive Behavior: Spam, Copyright Infringement and Scraping
Webmasters often have to combat abusive behavior directed against their websites. Just a few examples include spam, copyright infringement, and scraping. If you find yourself on the receiving end of any of these unpleasant behaviors, you probably want to find out who is responsible.
The good news is that you can eliminate these problems without knowing the identity of the guilty party. It is irrelevant who owns the spam website; you can usually make the problem go away without tracking down the actual owner of the website.
Tips for Combating Abusive Behavior
If you discover a website that is scraping yours without authorization, infringing your copyrighted content, or spamming, you can report the website to various search engines. This is effective in getting abusive websites de-indexed from the search engines. As long as you can describe the abusive behavior in detail, it is not necessary to know who owns the website.
- Report a spam site to Google
- Report a spam site to Yahoo
- Report copyright violations to Yahoo
- Report a concern to Bing
If the website is hosted in the USA, notify the website's ISP of the abusive behavior as well. Many ISPs will remove abusive websites if the abuse is clearly documented.
As a last resort, discuss your issues with other webmasters who have dealt with similar problems. Webmaster forums are invaluable sources of information about the latest strategies for dealing with abusive websites.
Sizing Up the Competition
You don't need to know who owns the website in order to figure out how it is performing. Here are a couple of websites you can use to find out more information about your competitor:
You Want to Buy the WebSite
If you want to buy the website you're researching, there isn't any way around finding the site's owner. It might require some additional detective work on your part. You can inquire at webmaster forums and read industry publications to find clues about the owner's identity. If you're familiar with the procedures for buying parked domains, you can apply similar strategies for buying websites too.
Evaluating the Credibility of a Website
Even if you can't determine who owns the website, you can make an educated guess about the credibility of the website by taking a look at who links to it. If the inbound links to a site come from reputable websites, the website is likely to be reliable. You can find out who links to a website using Google.
Share New Strategies
These strategies are all useful for determining who owns a website, and for tackling the related issues that webmasters face. Feel free to use the comments section below to share other strategies that have worked for you.
- Written by Amy Solovay