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Is it a Good Idea to Embrace Domain Registration Privacy Today?

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James Helliwell
October 12, 2016

James Helliwell
James Helliwell has written 4 articles for CGIDir.
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With the proliferation of spammers across the web, leaving email address and contact details visible on the web can be a costly mistake. Spammers use automated solutions to gather email addresses from easy to reach sources. One of such sources is the WHOIS database which holds domain registration information.

To help customers avoid this, domain name registrars offer domain registration privacy modes, where the registrar’s contact information is displayed where yours should appear. This makes it harder or almost impossible for spammers and shady users of WHOIS to get hold of your contact information.

Like most things, however, there are upsides and downsides to choosing to go the domain privacy route. Here is a look below:

Why you should embrace domain privacy

As mentioned above, domain name privacy ensures that all your private information can be hidden from prying eyes. This comes with some benefits. They include:

Avoiding domain name acquisition demands

When you are the owner of a high value domain that you do not intend to sell, you may be inundated with emails or calls from people enquiring about capturing the domain. This is of course only possible if your registration details are available in the open for them to see. Domain privacy ensures that there will be no details to use for contacting you. This doesn’t fully cancel out the possibility of being contacted to sell your domain but it significantly reduces the number of potential buyers. 

Avoid Domain Hijacking

Domain hijacking used to be a big issue in the past, but recently, modern domain registrars lock domain transfers by default after you acquire the domain. When the lock is in place, it is impossible for hijackers to gain access to your domain unless they have access to your domain registration email.  By hiding your personal information with domain registration, you add one more hurdle to the process. This makes it extremely difficult for anyone to harvest the data and attempt to gain access to your account.

Why you should ignore domain registration privacy

The positive impact of domain name registration will count for nothing if the possible negative impact affects you more as a result of your niche or nature of domain usage.

Reduced trust

Many segments of the consumer population are more sophisticated than ever. Private registrations can end up becoming a red flag for customers and potential customers especially in situations where the company is unable to provide a physical address or phone number on its website. Many of them will see a private registration as a pointer that the company has something to hide. Business investigators hold the belief that private registrations call into question the company’s legitimacy.

Negative influence on SEO

There is some evidence that private registrations are a red flag for the search engines. However, there is no clear-cut directive from Google on this front. They may be sceptical about a private registration when there are other red flags of note, but they haven’t explicitly blacklisted private registrations. In fact, there are many websites with great SEO results who have domain registration privacy settings activated.

So what now?

If you the security of your account details is paramount, you should consider using domain registration privacy. However, if you intend to run a people oriented business, it is important to consider how failed authenticity queries can affect the growth of your business.

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