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Who owns the website?

Sometimes we are just curious. Sometimes we want to check out a company or individual before we do business with them. Just because a company has a .com name rather than a .co.uk name does not mean that they are in the United States. In fact, any website can claim to have a business in New York City, but how would you know? Unfortunately, I do not know a foolproof way of accomplishing that.  First, do a search on the business or person. Perhaps if the business is a scam it will show up as such. Be cautious, though, as the name might be used by more than one business. That is certainly a problem with looking up people.

Have you "googled yourself" lately? Wow... there a famous football players, baseball players, musicians, DX honor roll members that have exactly my name, right down to the middle initial !   If you find yourself interested in who, or what company, owns a website, you can easily look this up. This process is done on a Whois server. If the company is a "DBA" (do business as) you might find the name of the parent company. Some businesses though will create a business just to register their own businesses. The founder of tacobell just died and I heard on the radio it was owned by pepsi. So for fun I looked up on the whois server and found out it is registered to Yum Brands- I wonder who owns that company?

  •  Look up the telephone number of the business. Start with the area code. Note that this is slowing become less reliable. Here in the USA you can move your business and keep your telephone number. Plus sometimes you buy your telephone number in a different location in order to attract more business from there.

  • Try doing a reverse telephone number lookup, or just google the telephone number.

  • Once you know, or suspect you know, what state the business is in, check the state website for business regulation. If it's incorporated and you do not see it in the state listing, try Delaware. Seems like a lot of companies incorporate in Delaware regardless of where they actually are. I don't know why, it is probably some tax advantage.. who knows. But at least you should be able to find out the actual address of the company and the name(s) of its C.E.O.

  • I very often use McAfee's Site Advisor. You do not need to be a subscriber to McAfee products to use this site. The will tell you a lot about a website. I ALWAYS use this before clicking on a link in an email.

A note about why I got the urge to write this. I am the head webmaster of SecondHandRadio.com. (I get the blame for everything and credit for nothing. Don't worry, my boss never reads the blog.)  About once a month I get emails from people trying to contact someone that they think is the 'owner' but they send the email to the webmaster. I don't know why they don't email the person they are looking for. By the way, a few times per year I get paypal payments to me from people I don't know... they are trying to pay a person with exactly the same name. Fortunately for them, I am an honourable person and reject the 'payment'. So to cut down on this, I bought my name as a domain name. Now people can check ME out very quickly. It works great; I don' t get asked to autograph footballs anymore.

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