GDPR is coming this Friday, May 25. Unless there is a last minute reprieve (litigation or something else unexpected), the Whois system will likely disappear. This is going to have a big impact on the business of domain name investing.
It will become harder to contact domain name owners. It could become more difficult or cumbersome to transfer domain names to other registrars. Performing due diligence could be more challenging. Domain investors may benefit a bit from GDPR, but I think there is a great chance domain investing could become more difficult.
I am hopeful ICANN and domain registrars figure out a GDPR compliant system that works and allows domain investors to continue to operate as usual. In the short term, I am not sure this is going to be possible, so I am preparing my domain portfolio in anticipation of some GDPR related problems.
There is still time, so I thought I would share some of the ways I am preparing for GDPR. I invite you to share the ways you are preparing if you would like.
- Listing domain names for sale on marketplaces to make it easier for prospective buyers to find them.
- Transferring domain names to a preferred domain registrar to avoid higher renewal rates elsewhere and to avoid transfer issues that may result from Whois no longer being public.
- Ensuring that the domain names I am interested in selling have a clear “for sale” link that resolves to an inquiry form.
- Expediting a couple of deals to avoid transfer issues when Whois goes dark.
- Looking at pay per click landing pages to ensure they are not infringing on any trademarks. It is possible law firms could be more aggressive if it becomes harder to contact domain owners without public Whois information available.
- Locking domain names at their registrars to ensure they aren’t transferred without my permission.
- Double checking that I have all security options enabled at my domain registrars (2 factor authentication and highest levels of security such as DTVS at GoDaddy).