Whois Privacy can hide your personal information such as domain registrant, address and telephone number. There are many people who will use whois online tool to find out about the owner of the site. The ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) requires the webmasters to make their personal information available via the WHOIS directories. It also states that anyone has the right to lookup for the WHOis of your domain name. However, with WHOIS privacy being offered by domain registrars, the risks can be alleviated.
Avoid Identity Theft and Email Spams from Sales People
These people may be identity thieves that want to use your personal information for mischievous purposes. They may use the email listed in your whois record to spam your business email. This will cause problems for both you and the customers. Some sales people will lookup for your whois record to send sales letter to your email. As a result, you will experience a large volume of spam in your inbox.
When you purchase the WHOIS privacy, all your personal information on the WHOIS record will become hidden. No one will be able to use any email address collection program to collect the whois information. The domain name register will legally replace your WHOIS with a fake email address, telephone and physical address. Usually, they will change the email address in the Whois database every few days. There is a small fee to pay for the whois privacy and it usually costs $10 - $20. Some domain registrars such as Namecheap offer free whois privacy during the first year whenever you buy a new domain name with them. It may be an additional cost to get the privacy protection but it is worthwhile if you are concerned about protecting your personal information.
Domain Extensions that Already Come With WHOIS Protection
There are a number of domain extensions that are already protected with domain privacy for example, .at, .ca, .de, .eu and .us. It is important to always buy a domain and the domain privacy from a reputable domain registrars. This is because there are lots of scam privacy protection services that will take back their promise of keeping your whois information private after taking your money and sell it to the third party.
Some Risks Associated to Buying a WHOIS Protection for Your Domain Name
The Official Owner of the Domain
There may be some risks associated with the purchase of whois privacy. According to the ICANN regulations, the registrant that is listed in the Whois record is the official owner of the domain. Most domain registrars will put their company name on the name section so this basically mean that you are transferring ownership to the registrar. Of course, some domain registrars will set up the right Terms of Service to protect you. Some domain registrars offer the Set Registrant option to allow you to set the name of the domain owner and hide other personal information.
However, you still retain the full benefits as the owner of the domain. You will be able to perform all kinds of tasks such as renew or transfer your domain. Once you have purchased the privacy protection for your domain, you can manage it from your domain management dashboard. You will have to assign it to each individual domain manually. You can buy the privacy protections in bulk to save money. The private registration can be assigned to any existing domain name regardless of whether you just register the domain or it has already been registered for a while.
Your Customers May Think You Are Running a Scam E-commerce Store
Another downside is that your customers won't be able to determine whether you are a legitimate business when you hide your whois information. They may think that you are not a trustworthy shopping site when they see that your whois information is not visible to the public. Ecommerce sites who hide their whois information may rank in lower search positions. However, this should not be a major concern if your site is well optimized for the SEO.
Alternatives to Using WHOIS Protection to Hide Your Personal Information
If you don't want to buy whois protection, you must remember to use a different email address to register for the domain. You can use this email account to receive spam. For the address, you can get a P.O. Box address and use that for registering the domain instead. However, it can be quite expensive to get a P.O. Box address compared to buying the domain privacy protection.