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My client's company bought their (restaurant) business from the previous owners after it shut down over two years ago, and recently hired us for some 'light' marketing help.

They never got ownership of the old website, which is now severely outdated (prices, menu, hours) and causing customer complaints. Old owners don't have the info about the hosting anymore. Tried searching for whois on ICANN and US (it's a .us domain) and several other registries to no avail.

I'd like to kill it if it can't be claimed in some way, but I don't know if either is even possible - it could be pre-payed for years to come... Do these folks have any options other than for us to set up a new website and route all of their Google etc through the new site and hope that eventually the old site's SEO rank drops enough to not be a problem?

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    Did you use whois.us? If you do a traceroute it might lead back to the hosting service which could be a good way to get started. – Steve May 21 '19 at 7:18
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    Old site means the domain is still associated to a hosting. Find the host and explain him/it. He must be able to find the owner. – gael May 21 '19 at 8:51
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if it can't be claimed

This is the second of the main questions you should answer. The first one is to get into knowledge, whether the site is in any way compromised. With bad backlinks, Google penalty, pushing malware and so on. If the site is in any way compromised, no matter in which - don't touch it, it will harm its future owners.

If the site is clean - take over the ownership and work on the refreshing of the old content and backlinks, earning of new backlinks and publish new up-to-date content.

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