A few months ago, I found a perfect .com domain name for a website I'm working on. Bad news: it was taken. Good news: It was set to expire on January 12, 2012. It's not a premium name or anything special that would make me think other people are waiting for it, so I decided to just wait and see if it expired and then buy it up. The site consisted of just one page with plenty of broken links and images. The information was irrelevant and dated. There is one ad, but it doesn't look like the site is being purposefulness squatted. I figured that the owner was done with it, and would let it expire.

However, WHOIS information revealed that the domain was registered via 1&1. Some research reveled that 1&1 has an auto-renew option for domains that's on by default, and quite difficult to disable (I've never used 1&1, so I can't verify if this is true). I started to worry that the current owner (who probably doesn't work in the web development field based on the appearance of the site) had no idea that the domain would automatically renew itself. My fear was realized when the expiration date jumped forward a year right as the domain was set to enter the redemption period. I highly doubt the webmaster would wait that long to renew a domain, especially considering that 1&1 has a $40 fee to renew a domain in the redemption period.

So sent an email to the address listed in the WHOIS database asking if the domain was for sale (Exactly a week ago). The address was [email protected]. If found this odd at first, and suspected that it was not really his address, but I can confirm that he does in fact own lastname.com (another outdated site with little information about anything, and no contact information). The email doesn't sound like some sort of spamtrap that he doesn't actually use, either.

Now I'm stuck. I starting to doubt that the owner will respond, and I'm admittedly disappointed that I may have lost such a perfect domain. I'm working on finding other suitable names, but I don't want to give up on this one until I know it's out of reach.

So, what else can I do to obtain this domain name?

6 Answers 6


If any of the WHOIS information is accurate, or any personal information is available on the domains in question (for instance, if their names are accurate in their email address), you could always do some old-fashioned sleuthing! Search and see if they have any accounts on:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Etc.

A Google search might also bring up things like places of employment, home phone numbers, and other avenues of contact.

If that doesn't pan out, you might find some leads on their lastname.com page that would help you track them down.

With all of the information the average person has online, I would be very surprised if you didn't find something that leads to the person who owns this domain.

  • I've been able to find some more information about this guy, and while none of it is helping, I've built quite a trail and I still hope something will lead me to him.
    – Sonic42
    Jan 25, 2012 at 21:59
  • If they have an unusually name, try just calling them. Oct 1, 2013 at 4:25

I went through a similar futile exercise a few years ago. Someone had the singular version of a plural domain name I actively use, and people were getting confused. The singular version website is poorly maintained, and email to any contact info I could locate for it was either bounced or ignored.

Bottom line, you can't force someone to negotiate with you (or even communicate with you) just because you want their domain name. At some point you just have to give up and move on. Or if it's valuable enough to you, hire a PI to look them up and go camp on their doorstep.


You can find the contact email from the Whois in 3 ways. One is from Whois, and the seconds is from information, and the third is from DNS records.

Just replace your domain in the following link and see,

  1. whois
  2. Website info
  3. dns records

The screenshot of DNS record page is:

enter image description here

  • Like I said, I've already tried using WHOIS to contact the owner.
    – Sonic42
    Jan 20, 2012 at 5:49
  • 1
    have you gone through the three links above.. the contact email presented on the links differs Jan 20, 2012 at 5:53
  • 1
    Only the WHOIS info is useful in this case. The "website info" link just provides the contact information of the registrar (MDNH/Moniker Online). The "dns records" page just lists the SOA email address, which is usually the email address of the web hosting company who's hosting the DNS, or a generic "hostmaster" address. Put in your own domain name and you'll find equally meaningless info for the second 2 links. Jan 20, 2012 at 13:26
  • Links are all directing to the same page now.
    – user12201
    Oct 7, 2013 at 5:42

I'm going to start by saying that I cannot confirm the effectiveness of my answer as I have not tried it. While the idea seems sound to me, it is possible that I am assuming too much is possible.

A good idea would be to contact their host, 1&1. As a company, their concern lies with getting paid for the domain, not with who owns it. As such, if you were to contact them directly and express your interest, they could possibly serve as a broker between you and the current owner. Since they are both capable of making direct contact and a name that the domain owner will recognize, I believe this is much more effective than simply e-mailing whatever e-mail address you find in WHOIS records.

It would have made more sense for you to do it prior to the expiration date as your offer would have been a way for the domain owner to easily weasel out of the domain name. But, it's never too late to try it.

  • I can confirm through personal experience that if issue is related to legal issue when you contact either hosting or domain company they will contact the domain owner for your. eg: A DMCA report. Sep 30, 2018 at 17:35

If you are so keen in getting the same domain name you can backorder from any domain registrar.. for this look for the expiration date of the domain in any WHOIS server

Then you can backorder the domain. In backordering they will do all the lookup for you and increase the probability in getting back the domain. the money you pay for the backordering will be refunded in case they fail to get the domain.. If the owner of the domain has not enabled auto renew option the chance of you getting the domain will be high.


From the data that you mention about the website, I don't think that he shall be monitoring the email inbox either. So the chances of the owner replying to your emails are negligent. All the domain name registrars have the auto renew facility for the domain names turned ON by default. Its not the case with 1&1 alone.

I suggest you wait until the domain name expires or buy a different domain name.

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