Whois privacy is often cited in a negative manner, but there are many valid reasons for people wanting to keep a domain name registration private. I keep some of my domain names privately registered as a means of cutting down on spam, preventing others from seeing domain names my company owns, and preventing others from knowing what domain names I am buying and selling.
Whois privacy is offered at most domain name registrars. Private domain registrations are generally inexpensive. Some registrars such as Uniregistry offer free privacy on domain names.
I want to share a few ways domain investors can keep their domain name registrations private. Keep in mind it would be very easy for an attorney to get a court order to reveal private Whois information for legal reasons. Also, keep in mind that I am not a privacy expert, so my privacy needs aren’t critically important to my business, and the suggestions below aren’t going to guarantee privacy. For that, an attorney should almost certainly be consulted.
- When registering a domain name, be sure to pay for privacy protection (or select the free privacy guard) at the time of purchase. Even if the domain name is registered publicly for a day, the Whois information could become public.
- When buying a domain name in the aftermarket, ask the seller to add privacy before the account push or domain registrar transfer to reduce the chance of the new Whois becoming public.
- After buying a domain name in the aftermarket, confirm that privacy is enabled inside the control panel.
- Do not confirm privacy is enabled by doing a Whois search. If privacy is not enabled, the Whois lookup service may archive the Whois record.
- Have the domain name registered in the name of an attorney or a trusted third party that doesn’t mind having their information in the Whois record.
- Do not use Google Adsense or Google Analytics accounts that are connected with other publicly registered domain names as people can search via the publisher ID to see accounts that use the same ID.
- Don’t list the domain name for sale on a domain forum with a nickname that can be tracked back to the owner.
- Don’t mention the domain name in social media or in the comment sections of blog posts.
- Ask other parties to sign non-disclosure agreements before selling a domain name or even negotiating to sell a domain name.
- When responding to emails sent to the privacy Whois address, do not respond from a regular email account that can be connected to you.