Kanye West, teaching us all how to Whodat. (YOUSSEF BOUDLAL/REUTERS)

Update and retraction: April Fool’s Day came early; out the whole Whodat.biz venture and the Donda Web site was an Internet hoax. Gizmodo, which also wrote an initial post about Whodat.biz, confirmed the fact that both were created as a joke .

The ridiculousness of both sites made me skeptical as I was writing this post. But I failed to double check the information before publishing. I sincerely regret the error. I should have been smarter, and I should have assumed that Kanye West would be, too.


Remember back in January, when Kanye West issued an epic series of tweets announcing his plans to start a design/tech/innovation-generating company called Donda?

Social media experts, linguists, historians and IT workers from numerous corporations (“Oh, that’s why no one responded to my request for a new keyboard!”) are still working hard to decipher its many meanings. But while they’ve been lollygagging around attempting to understand primitive things like words, Kanye West and his Donda team have been very busy innovating.

Yesterday, Donda launched a new Web site called Whodat.biz, an online service that calls itself “the Facebook of Websites.”

“Simply enter the Web address of a Website in the big-bar-below and discover the crew behind any Website on Earth,” Whodat.biz instructs.

Translation: if you enter a URL, you can get the domain registration information for the URL in question. Seriously, guys, if this thing works, you will soon be having conversations like this:

“Man, I wonder who runs this really awesome Web site I am looking at . . . guess I’ll Google it.”

“No, that’s a waste of time. Whodat it instead!”

Whodat.biz is still in beta mode. But let’s test it out together, shall we?

I’ll start out by entering Amazon.com. Surely doing so will lead me straight to Jeff Bezos’s e-mail, home address and cellphone number.

Nope. But I now know that Amazon’s domain name appears to expire on Oct. 31, 2021. Hope someone at the company knows that, otherwise Cyber Monday ’21 is going to suck.

Let’s try another one: Wikipedia. If Whodat? keeps its promise to reveal the crew behind any Web site in the world, entering this name should give me information about no less than everyone on the planet.

Well, not quite. It does serve up the San Francisco street address for Wikimedia, a phone number and a domain admin e-mail address, though. That could be useful the next time I need to register complaints about the lack of episode summaries on the Wiki page for “Square Pegs.”

Enough screwing around. Let’s go to the Internet mothership: Google. Give me all your intel on this massive corporation, Whodat. And do it quickly and cleanly, Lisbeth Salander-like!

Hmmm. This was only helpful in that, as one might expect, a lot of sites use Google in their server names.

All right, time to get meta: Let’s punch in washingtonpost.com.

Hey, there’s the address of our offices, which can also be found in the Yellow Pages, otherwise known as Whodat? Old School. Our admin e-mail address is a digitalink.com address, which was the name of the original Post Web site from way back in the mid-1990s. That can’t work, can it? . . . Well, I just sent a message and it did not bounce back. Maybe Whodat.biz really is doing a service. It’s helping me communicate with my own company.

One last one to try: Whodat.biz. (Please give us Kanye’s phone number, please give us Kanye’s phone number . . .)

No dice. But there is some excellent information here: The Whodat.biz domain was registered via GoDaddy.com on Monday, March 26. No contact phone number is listed, but the company e-mail (also on the Donda Web site) is there, as is the address: Empire State Building, New York, N.Y.

Just imagine how useful this thing is going to be when it gets out of beta mode. Feel free to continue testing this new tool, and please flag any bugs by posting a comment on this post.

No, Kanye West didn’t ask us to help him bang on his new site. But we should all pitch in because that’s what the Donda attitude is all about.