Private Whois Emails Sometimes Don’t Work

I use Whois privacy on some of my domain names for competitive reasons. I don’t necessarily want people to know I own or acquired certain domain names, and having privacy enabled is an inexpensive way to keep some registrations private.

Just because I have privacy enabled on domain names, it does not necessarily mean that I am not interested in selling domain names. Although I have found that the majority of people contact me using links on the landing page of these domain names, I am fairly regularly contacted via email found during a Whois lookup.

One issue I have found is that some privacy services do not forward emails to the registrant. I believe sometimes this is intentional, and I think other times it’s unintentional. I suppose there are many people who use privacy protection to reduce or eliminate spam, and obviously if privacy emails are forwarded, that would become annoying. In my case, however, I don’t usually mind the emails, but I simply want to prevent others from knowing what I am buying.

I don’t have a list of registrars whose privacy services do or do not forward emails, and I don’t really think it would be possible to obtain a list like this. The best advice would be to test the proxy email address to see if your email is forwarded to you. If it doesn’t make it, contact the registrar to inquire about why. Perhaps this is related to some sort of error, or perhaps the privacy service simply does not forward emails (or has an alternative way for emails to be sent to registrants).

If someone is trying to get in touch with me about a domain name, I want them to be able to do so easily. Sending an email to the Whois registrant is a common way for someone to get in touch with a domain owner, but if it doesn’t work, important emails may be lost.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. Namebright has always been reliable, in fact I get some spam with the new registrations. So far, the only privacy service I had trouble with was Godaddy. They had a separate login for their privacy service that became an absolute hastle.

  2. WHOIS privacy cloaks one’s real email, but is required to forward emails per ICANN. Any failure to forward emails is a glitch or perhaps a blocking of the Registrar’s mail servers due to real or presumed spam activity. Also, WHOIS privacy becomes a challenge when one hosts the domains.

  3. All registrars must become respectful about privacy issue.

    Privacy services must work as Tucows’ system does: it’s impossible to send spam if the sender must respond to a captcha question to send the message.

    No need to invent stupid long strings of characters which change often and automatically if you have a captcha verification in your whois privacy system.

    Even much appreciated registrars like, Namesilo, Internetbs etc.have privacy systems that sucks and often potential customers do not use them because they thing those stupid long sequences of characters will not forward their messages…

  4. If they are using a candid mail forwarding, this might just not work due to email authentication technologies flagging this as an attempt at spoofing. SPF / DKIM failures can easily cause email to be silently discarded, delivered to the spam folder or explicitly rejected.

    Mileage will vary.

  5. I posted about this here in comments before after noticing it for years, so I imagine you can find my comments about it in an earlier thread. I didn’t want to name names then, either. It is definitely a significant concern if one has no other means of contact published, which for some people who use a domain without wanting to advertise its availability on the domain itself, or in a way that prevents that, is definitely an issue. This is also possibly the only support issue for which I have never received a response, curiously enough. Such a normal issue, so one really has to wonder why that would be. I probably wrote in for support about it two or three times over the years to the same well known player in the industry. The bottom line is that it appears we are on our own for this specific issue, they don’t care, and for some inexplicable reason this particular issue will be met with a puzzling stone wall of silence while being supportive and responsive is otherwise touted as a salient feature of the entity doing so. I suppose for someone like you, Elliot, they probably do respond, however, since you’re a domain industry “luminary” and that could make people see “$” signs. Then again, maybe that has been your experience too.

  6. I find this problem happening to my names in I had to turn off the privacy on some names as I was not able to transfer them due to the fact that the mails send to the privacy email where not reaching my inbox.


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