How Does Whois Data Help Your Business?

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Andrew Allemann has written about the pending changes to the Whois records system. I also wrote about the changes to Whois that will be necessary for domain registrars to comply with GDPR.

Without a doubt, changes to the Whois system is going to cause major issues for anyone who buys domain names that are registered, especially domain name investors. Not only will it likely become much harder to get in touch with domain name owners to make a purchase inquiry, but it could become more difficult to track the provenance of a domain name. This could effectively make it more risky to buy a domain name from a third party.

From my perspective, drastic changes to the Whois system could make domain name theft an even bigger problem than it already is.

Zak Muscovitch, Interim General Counsel of the Internet Commerce Association is attending the ICANN 61 meeting in Puerto Rico to monitor changes to the Whois system and to represent domain investors and domain owners. With the interim Whois-like system being discussed and debated, Zak is seeking input from domain investors and domain name owners whose businesses may be impacted from the changes. You can contact Zak via the ICA contact page.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you are welcome to leave them here or reach out directly to Zak.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I check 100s of who is records daily. From checking who is history to tracking down my own domains at oddball registrars.. it’s a vital service that needs exist publicly.

  2. If WhoIs searches no longer reveal contact information seems highly likely type in traffic to these domains will go up materially in order to determine whether there is a for sale page and/or contact email address. More type in traffic only helps the long term value of domains. Not sure this change is bad for all domain investors.

    • That’s true, but acquiring domain names privately will become much more difficult.

      For instance, if you want to buy Example.com and the domain does not resolve, how would you go about doing that?

    • Active investors that buy/sell for a living will be impacted on buy side. I’m a passive investor that doesnt regularly buy on aftermarket, and doesn’t sell. Increased traffic is more important to me than buying more domains.

      If you need to replenish inventory these changes do not give you any reason to sell cheap.

  3. Who.is data should not be hidden, many individual try to find out the information from it, but at one end it is good, as who.is normally consider as “Information leakage” of any domain.

  4. If whois info gets hidden, then there should at least be a link on the domain whois page that you can click to send a message to the domain registrant. Some country code extensions have this. One plus of the whois info being hidden is that you won’t be endlessly spammed with phone calls and emails from foreign Wed design and SEO companies. Another side effect is it will be harder to contact owners of expiring domains to see if they will sell to you before it ends in auction.

    • I would be surprised if there isn’t some sort of registrant contact communication to opt into. But perhaps the big industry players want customer contact info private. Traffic to their proprietary and customer domains would increase. Domain investors would not have access to contact information but registrars would. Clearly data is a competitive advantage.

  5. Verification of legitimate ownership is a valuable asset to have for anyone buying domains. It seems that by locking it down, it does create a security concern for buyers. I wonder if they are aware of the potential chaos that could result from such a decision?

    Real estate records are generally publicly listed with the county (USA), you would think domain assets whois records would remain going in a similar direction.

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