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How To Verify Domain Ownership Using Who.Is

Some things bear repeating and I think avoiding a ‘hostage’ situation where your domain is concerned falls into this category. As a quick reminder, your site becomes a hostage when you hire someone else to register your .com and they maintain control by using their own personal information rather than yours, or you register your .com through a secondary registrant site and they in turn purchase your domain from a primary register like GoDaddy but retain control by using their business contact information – not yours.

If you have hired someone to build your site or if you have used someone other than one of the better known domain registers – GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc. – there is a way to verify you are in fact registered as the owner of your domain. You can go to the website www.who.is and search for the registering information. This is quick and easy to do.

We’ve placed a series of images below taking you through the process. Please note that while we’ve used an actual domain that is in a hostage situation, we’ve changed the information referencing the domain name and the company that did the registering to maintain both parties privacy. We have noted all replaced information in red to show where you would look for either your domain name or the registering party.

In the first graphic, we show you where you would type in the domain name in question. You then click on the small black arrow next to ‘whois’ and select from the drop-down menu the search you want to perform. In our case we want ‘whois’. Once you’ve selected this click on the ‘Who.is.Search’ button.

You will then see a screen that displays the registering information for that domain. In this case you can see that the domain is through GoDaddy.

However, if you continue down the page you will see who has control. In this case, our dummy company ‘Other, Inc’ has control even though it was registered through GoDaddy…. by them.

If you continue to scroll down, you will see a line of code that reads something like….

For complete domain details go to:

http://who.godaddy.com/whoischeck.aspx?Domain=THEDOMAIN.COM

Copy and paste that link into your browser’s address bar. This will take you to the rest of the information available. Once there you will see the information that has been registered for this domain and can verify if you are the registrant …. or not. You will also find out who are the Administrative and Technical contacts as well as finding out where the registrant is located, if it’s not you.

Continue down this page and you also find out about the registry status. In other words whether or not you have access to Delete, Renew, Transfer or Update the domain. If your website has been ‘hijacked’, you’ll probably find all of these actions have been blocked as in our actual domain who.is search below.

Should you find yourself in this situation what do you do? I’ll leave you with some thoughts:

  • Ask the registering party to release your domain… they may be honest and do it
  • If they want a fee of some sort, depending on your situation, you may be willing to pay the price to get your domain name transferred to you from those in control
  • Get a new domain name (you may think about using  the same name but with hyphens) and put up a new website
  • Wait for the domain name to become available, if the wait is short,  and try to buy it yourself before they renew it

It’s a shame that there are some that would take advantage of unsuspecting clients and do this, but if you go into a business meeting fore-warned and with some basic knowledge about how domain registrations work… you’re less likely to be taken advantage of  and find yourself retaining control of your Internet business.

Don’t miss next week’s post when we’ll talk about some of the other things you can do using who.is.

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