Want to buy a domain name that is registered at GoDaddy? Getting in touch with a registrant via email or phone just became a bit more difficult. As of yesterday, GoDaddy is no longer showing domain registrant contact information in Whois records. The only information that is shown on Whois searches is the registrant organization, registrant state and country, and nameserver records. Email addresses and phone numbers are no longer shown.
While this change is going to be frustrating to domain investors, journalists, and possibly law enforcement personnel, it is not unexpected. In April, I reported that GoDaddy planned to remove public Whois records across the board, as it has been doing to customers in Europe whose data was redacted due to GDPR privacy laws. The impetus for this most recent change was the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Here’s how a Whois lookup at GoDaddy appears today for domain names that are not registered under privacy proxy:
For people who value privacy, the Domains by Proxy privacy proxy service upgrade may still provide value to customers. Here’s how a Whois lookup appears at GoDaddy for domain names registered using GoDaddy’s Domains By Proxy, LLC service:
Notably, those private Whois records still list the @domainsbyproxy.com email address which sould automatically forward to the registrant email address.
One benefit of this change for domain investors is that it will likely lead to fewer spam phone calls and spam text messages pitching various services, such as logo design, web design, hosting, and other peripheral services.
One thing you will notice is there is a link to “Contact Domain Holder” located at the bottom of the Whois lookup page. People who wish to get in touch with a domain registrant are still able to do so via this GoDaddy messaging system. For domain investors, this may actually be beneficial as GoDaddy customers will receive an official looking email when someone uses this message tool.
GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the world, and it will be interesting to see if other registrars follow GoDaddy’s lead and begin to redact all of their Whois records.
For domain investors looking to sell their domain names, it is even more important to have “for sale” messaging on landing pages rather than relying on email contacts via Whois information.