Whois privacy is a fairly inexpensive (or free) tool that allows domain owners to keep their registration details private. It is surprising to see that some (perhaps many) people still seem to think Whois privacy is a tool that is used primarily for scammers. From my perspective, using a proxy for Whois privacy is a helpful and legitimate tool for a number of reasons.
I want to share 6 reasons why domain name owners would use Whois privacy on their domain names:
- Prevent third parties from obtaining personal information about where a domain registrant lives.
- Robocalling telemarketers use public Whois information to call or text domain registrants to sell anything from logo design to websites and SEO work.
- Allow people to exercise their First Amendment rights without exposing their name (unless a court intervenes).
- Keep new products, services, and businesses private so companies can’t see what domain names their competitors are buying.
- Make it more difficult for thieves to know what email address and other contact information is used for a domain registration to prevent theft via hacking or social engineering.
- Keep embarrassing domain registrations private.
As with any tool that has millions of users, I am sure there are many other reasons for why people use Whois privacy, and I would invite people to share other legitimate reasons for using it.
One thing people need to realize when they enable a privacy proxy for Whois is that the registration information may become public. In the case of a UDRP filing, court order, subpoena, or some other legal action, the registrant information may be revealed by the domain registrar. Additionally, adding Whois privacy after a domain name was already registered publicly may prevent people from seeing the current registrant, but there are tools allowing people to see a historic Whois listing.
I use Whois privacy on a few of my domain name registrations. Uniregistry offers free Whois privacy on domain names that are registered there, and I have been using it on domain names I register there. Although it won’t stop the robocalling and spamming because the majority of my domain names have public Whois information, if it reduces the amount of calls and texts I receive, it will have saved me some time.