What We Lose Without Whois Records

I think GDPR has made domain investing more challenging for the past few years. Despite the fact that GDPR regulations cover Europeans and European companies, some registrars have opted to block public WHOIS data across the board, while allowing registrants to opt out if they wish. Domain registrants in the US have been largely spared by this, but that is going to change in a couple of months.

As I shared on Friday evening, GoDaddy is planning to remove public Whois records in June. I am disappointed with this because Whois records offer valuable information about domain name registrants which can be used to inquire about domain name purchases, perform due diligence on a prospective purchase, and to do general research about domain registrants.

Putting politics aside (please), I want to share how GoDaddy Whois records provided insight into domain registrations for New York Times journalists investigating anti-lockdown protests:

Although this particular investigative research focused on politically charged domain name registrations, it would not be limited to politics. Domain registration information can be used to investigate criminal activity, business news and acquisitions, sports and entertainment deals, and other important news topics.

Yes, many people spend the extra few dollars for Whois privacy, but obviously some do not. In addition, DomainTools provides a valuable resource with its historical Whois tool, but that is only helpful if there are public Whois records available at the outset, otherwise these Whois records can not be indexed for future investigative research.

When the largest domain registrar in the world removes public Whois records by default, we are losing a valuable resource. Obviously, my interest is primarily related to buying and selling domain names (and tracking domain name sales), but there are other reasons for why I think it will be a major net loss when Whois records disappear.

Notably, I do not think GoDaddy is making this decision in order to keep inquiries within its own walled garden. I understand there are changes on the horizon, particularly related to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Regardless of why public Whois records are being eliminated, I think the loss of them will reverberate well beyond the domain investment space.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com 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

2 COMMENTS

  1. Domain name whois is a valuable tool within the domain Industry. But I won’t miss the spam it creates.
    Most end-users do not know that domain whois exists.
    Domain lander pages are even more important now, with for sale and contact information. Common sense.

  2. Just use the reel in the bait trick..
    Click contact and put down..I want to buy your domain for 100000milions…
    You will definitely get a reply fast and you will khow who the owner is….

    Money talks.Money always excites your testosterone.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Fox.org UDRP Decision is Upsetting

0
Last night, I saw that WIPO had posted an update regarding the Fox.org UDRP. Fox.org is a domain name registered in 1996, and I...

CEO of NFT.com Shares Domain Name Acquisition Learnings

0
Jordan Fried is the owner of some exceptional domain names. A few of the domain names he owns include NFT.com, PuertoRico.com, and Fried.com. This...

Taking a Blog Break

45
I have been writing articles on my blog since 2007. I have been fortunate to have the advertising support of many domain industry companies...

Some Thoughts About 2023

3
As the year winds down, I have been thinking about what to expect for the upcoming year. I am hopeful that it will be...

How I Am Preparing for the New Year

4
Less than a week remains in 2022. This is generally a quiet week in terms of domain name sales, so I tend to spend...