Private Whois on Domains in Auction

I just noticed a smart move that is being made by Moniker and wanted to share it with you. I listed another batch of domain names for sale on Snapnames a couple of days ago. I logged in to my account, and I didn’t recognize one of the domain names that had received a bid. Fearful that I mis-listed a domain name I didn’t own, I did a Whois lookup, which is quicker than logging in to my Moniker account.

I was immediately concerned when I saw that the registration was private. I rarely privatize my domain names, and I have private Whois for just a few that I prefer not to be spammed about (no, this domain name and website are not for sale!). I immediately logged in to my account, and sure enough, the domain name was in my account (phewwww)! It also indicated that I had not selected the Privacy Shield option.

I went back to the Whois check and I noticed the listing said “Pending Auction” and “Moniker  Privacy  Services.” This is a smart move to prevent unscrupulous individuals from contacting domain owners and attempting to usurp the auction process.

One suggestion I have for Moniker is to add a link to the auction somewhere. Although many Whois lookup services won’t be willing to link to a competitor’s auction, there’s nothing they can do if the Admin Name is “Pending Auction:” This will allow people who search for a domain name to see where the auction is. At the very least, they should change the Registrant to “ Pending Auction.”

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. Nice catch Elliot. They must only do it for “some” auctions as I have in the showcase auction and no privacy is on that.

    I have listed at $79 with no reserve and that does not have privacy.

    I checked another that I have listed with a higher starting price (basically a reserve) and privacy is on that one. So it would appear that they do it on domains listed with a higher starting price then $59, $79 and $99.

  2. In reply to Adam above, they are not permanently changing the whois info. They are doing it for the names that are at auction.

    If you send a domain name to one of their auctions, it is supposed to be an exclusive listing. You agree to that when submitting the domains.

    I agree with Elliot, that they should put a link to the domain auction, to possibly drive more traffic to the listing.

  3. Hi El,

    I brought this issue up a year ago with Snapnames, when they started doing this. They will, at your request, maintain your name on the whois. However, I prefer the “privacy” listing process they are using now. But YOUR idea is perfect, because it will let the OWNER of the domain know that the whois changed because it is in auction. Even some sort of “ID code” that the seller/owner of the domain recognizes in the whois would be smart.

    SnapMon can be the winner, but I’m not giving out free advice anymore…

    @Adam — it’s not that much of a freakout unless you aren’t communicating with the SnapMon team or aren’t following the domains you’re auctioning. No worries, just stay aware!

  4. eh, looks like they’re going a little aggressive. They just put one of my domains with “pending auction” that hasn’t even been submitted for an auction 🙂 They’ll fix it though, no biggie.

    BTW, you should all monitor your domains for changes like this with DomainTools. I get an alert any time a whois for my domains changes, which is how I noticed the change on one random domain held at Moniker.

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