domaintools: finding contributors by domain

Say you find a site without an ‘About’ page.  How do you get in touch with the author?

Well, it’s not a particularly new or innovative resource this, but Domaintools (formerly Whois Source) is a great research tool for any journalist trying to snoop a scoop in this way.

Take the latest threat to the UK’s already rock-bottom workplace productivity, I can haz cheezburger.

This site has no ‘About’ page, and trying a few Google searches (like this, or this) unearths nothing of note. That said, according to the site’s Wikipedia entry, you will soon discover the author’s name – but no email.

Try looking up the domain in Domaintools, where you will find the registrant has used a pseudonym, (nothing unusual here – many big-name bloggers do the same – including Guido Fawkes).  Nonetheless – the pseudonym is associated with an email address, which is our first point of contact.

Alternatively, further Google searches will show that the author has LinkedIn accounts in both his real name and his pseudonym – which you can use to contact him provided you are registered.  Furthermore, a search in yoname might uncover any social networking accounts.

Bear in mind it is perfectly legal and legitimate for people to hide their registration details (and indeed domain companies need not submit this information to anyone other than the police), nonetheless, if you can’t find the details you are after, this may well cast doubt on the site’s legitimacy.

I’ve used this method a couple of times in the workplace – once to find a phone number for the author of a site intended to bring Fire services and their local community together. I also used it while undertaking research into online hoaxes late last year.

So if you’re after an interview with the inventor of the ‘lolcat’, get searching.


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