The upcoming Whois changes due to GDPR compliance will likely have a major impact on the business of domain investing. Although the changes may make investing in domain names more difficult for many reasons, the changes may also make it a bit easier for domain investors to sell their domain names.
Most domain investors who wish to sell their domain names make it clear that their domain names are for sale. From providing links to sales listings on landing pages to hosting a straight inquiry form on the landing pages, most domain investors make it very obvious a domain name is for sale. Additionally, many (if not most) domain investors have their domain names listed for sale on marketplaces such as Afternic and Sedo. Even if public Whois contact information disappears, the majority of domain investors already make it clear that their domain names are available for sale.
When the Whois system changes and contact information is no longer readily available, the people at a disadvantage to selling domain names will be those who do not have their domain names listed for sale or make it clear that their domain names are available for sale. For instance, a person who bought a domain name 15 years ago but never used it or changed the default landing page will be more difficult to contact. Same thing goes for domain names that resolve to a hosting error page or otherwise are not being used.
When companies are looking to buy a domain name, they frequently have a list of domain names that are considering. Some names may be more desired than others, but companies will often seek out more than one domain name to get pricing. If an end user buyer is looking at two domain names, and the owner of one is easy to contact while the other is not easy or impossible, the company will likely choose the first name. A domain investor’s domain name may be the easier name to buy and GDPR could be the reason for it.
GDPR compliance will likely make investing in domain names more difficult, especially in the short term. Challenges in contacting domain owners could be a bit of a silver lining though.