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To hide or not to hide..?

hide and seekAs we are all aware privacy services have become increasingly popular among those who wish to protect their contact information when buying expired domains. For many the ICANN requirement to display contact information for domain name registrants goes against basic privacy rights and with more stories coming out regarding personal information being hacked, this requirement is more topical than ever. The original intent of gathering this information was to assist network administrators, the information was to be used to identify and repair problems, while preserving the stability and integrity of the Internet.

Despite the strong argument the requirement of this information is no longer relevant and therefore should not be required ICANN continues to require information to be entered when a domain is registered. As a result, many individuals and businesses search for ways to remove themselves from the WHOIS database as a form of privacy control.

Whilst this sounds like the perfect solution to those more shy individuals amongst us, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration, whilst many registrars like Godaddy are willing for a small fee to remove personal contact information at the point of domain registration and replace the owner’s information with their own, it can be argued that by doing this may impact the value or indeed usefulness of the domain. If you have a legitimate business or website, using these services could potentially cause people to wonder about your Internet reputation. In fact, if you customarily send out newsletters or other email communications from your domain, hiding the WHOIS data could cause your communications to be flagged by spam control organizations. Additionally, customers are often more hesitant to shop online on websites that purposely hide their contact information. Unfortunately the downside does not stop there potentially lowering the reputation of your domain can result in your domain being blacklisted ‘faster’ e.g. when violating Google SEO guidelines.

Furthermore you cannot perform a domain transfer when the whois information is hidden. If you wish to switch domain registrar before the renewal period is up you will not be able to do it until your current Registrar has restored you as the original owner on the whois database, which though does not sound difficult can cause needless headaches and paperwork for paperworks sake.

Last but not least it is important to note there are different rules for different TLDs, not all of them allow a full ‘private’ registration.

On the positive side for those individuals who buy and sell domains to add to their portfolios using a privacy service can make a lot of sense, indeed many of the most expensive domain purchases over the past 12 months the buyer has ended up using a privacy service. Of course, it’s always possible that ICANN will change the rules of the game at some point in the future. However, until things change, domain owners who wish to protect their contact information must think creatively. Your reason for registering the domain, as well as your desire for privacy, must factor into the solution you choose.

For businesses that wish to avoid spammers and scammers, using a separate email address used only in relationship with the domain registration could be the solution. Registering a separate business name to use as the owner of the domains could also be effective. Some people even resort to having an unlisted phone number, used only for their domain registration.

At expired domains we have well over 40 million expired domains in our database, with the best user interface in the industry that is completely free. We are confident once you start using our tool you will wish you found us sooner!


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