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WhoIs is a tool everyone can use obtain contact information for the owner of a domain name. All that is required is the domain name of the website one wants to check out and shazam there is information about the site’s creator and admins. There is also useful information about when the website was created, updated, and even expires.
For some websites finding the person paying the bills is not that easy. Some sites only give the name of the sites registrar, or the company the site payed to create and maintain the domain name. Go Daddy.com of the infamous Go Daddy commercials is one of these companies. A curious searcher will also find a WhoIs server through the registrar. From this point one some websites are protected by privacy companies so collecting additional information is more difficult.
Even though websites can protect their privacy the possible functions of WhoIs is still impressive. The information collected through WhoIs can be used a variety of different ways both for a normal student writing a research paper and a journalist tracking down leads.
I think the most interesting use of this information is to verify the credibility of a web sites information. Instead of just reading the information posted on the site and make a judgment of credibility one can search the names of the site’s creator and admins to check if they actually have the background that they claim.
On this same track anyone can use the contact information to verify the websites legitimacy. In a more direct manner an interested party could track down the address listed on WhoIs to see if the building is real. All around WhoIs is a great way to find out the people behind a domain name thus learning more about where the information on the site is coming from.