Online Consumer Tools
We are happy to share some tools and tips on several resources you can use to research online businesses.
The first step is to determine the “Domain Name” of the business you are looking at. Visit the website and check out a few pages. As you move from page to page take a look at the address bar on your browser. The domain name will typically be the portion that starts with “www” and ends with “.com” (see sample below).
Next look for contact information. Often this is on a “contact us” or “about us” page. Look for a mailing address and preferably a physical address.
Better Business Bureau
Look for a Better Business Bureau Online Reliability Seal like the one below. This is a great way to independently verify basic business details. Click on the seal. Make sure the business name, domain name, address and phone numbers match the site. Check to see how long the business has been around. The business start date is self reported, so it is often wise to give more weight to how long they have been a BBB member which is provided by the BBB.
A whois search lets you take a look at the registration information for a web site. You can use a site like Network Solutions Whois by clicking here or just search Google for the term whois. Type in the domain name you are interested in omitting the “www”, for example “alaskatravel.com”. Scan the results, you should be able to see who the site is registered to and how long the site has been around. See below for example.
Another site we use often is Archive.org. This site lets you see old versions of a website. This is great to see if a web site’s contact information, business name or ownership has changed, or even if the site was around at all. Type in the full domain name (see sample below) into the “WayBack Machine” search box and click “Take Me Back”. Next you should see a list of old versions of the web site that you can click on and view. For example, here is an example of our site from 2002, and another from our previous site www.alaska-tour.com from 1999.
We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any questions or concerns about any Alaska travel topic please contact us today.