Saturday, March 15, 2003

Tricks of the Trade

By Private Investigator Michael T. O'Rourke

Question: I am a paralegal with an attorney specializing in civil litigation. We frequently receive cases involving Internet trade. We would like to serve the owner of a web site a summons and complaint. How can I determine who owns a particular web site and a service address?

Answer: Domain name registration information is now maintained by a host of individual registrars. The search is commonly known as a “Whois” search. To determine the correct registrar, begin with a search on Network Solutions, Inc.’s website ( Most web sites are listed here. Network Solutions generally will provide the correct registrar. The remainder of the domains are on one of the following:





I prefer; the site is user friendly and provides you with useful information. The Registrant’s name and address, a name of an administrative contact, the administrative contacts address and phone number, fax number, a name of a technical contact, the technical contact’s organization name, address, phone number, and facsimile, the date the web site originated, an expiration date, and the date, and time of the last update to the site, are listed in an easy to read format.

Once you have identified the individual, or organization, and a last known address, you are poised to identify the contact information for all defendants. If the defendant is a corporation, contact the Division of Corporations in the state of origin.

I always start with the State of Delaware, Secretary of State, Division of Corporations (302-739-3073). Dial “0” and ask the live operator for the Corporations seven (7) digit Corporate ID. Once obtained, ask to be transferred to the automated system. Using your telephone keypad, follow the prompts, and receive the Registered Agent information. (To locate individual officers, please refer to Gail Wagner's question which had been answered in October's Tricks of the Trade.)

You may utilize the Sheriff of New Castle County, or a special process server to effect service of process. Refer to Del Law Title X s.s. 3104 if the defendant is out-of state.

Det. Michael T. O'Rourke is a Member of the National Association of Investigative Specialists, The National Association of Professional Process Servers, and Sustaining member of the Delaware Paralegal Association.

A Court Certified Special Process Server, and a Licensed Private Investigator in DE and PA. Michael specializes in Insurance Defense and Criminal Defense. He invites your questions to:

Loss Solutions, Inc.
824 N. Market Street, Suite 425,
P.O. Box 368,
Wilmington DE 19899-0368.
(302) 427-3600.

Or you may e-mail him at

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