GoDaddy to Remove Public Whois Information

According to an email sent out by GoDaddy, the American Internet domain registrar and web hosting company will be removing Public Whois information. The email in question had the following subject line: “On May 18, 2020 we are retiring Privacy for Backorders.”

The email then went on to say, “We’re working on rolling out changes to better ensure your personal data is hidden in the public WHOIS database, for free. As part of that effort, we’re ending support for our Private Domain Backorder add-on product. We expect these changes to be live in early June.”

What this means for consumers is that GoDaddy will be switching up how Whois records for domain names have been recorded and stored. This could have a huge impact on both customers and domain investors.

Paul Bindel, VP of Operations at GoDaddy Registrar, said, “Due to changing privacy regulations in the U.S. and around the world, GoDaddy is in the process of making some changes to align our offerings similar to what we did in GDPR regions.“

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law that helps protect data and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area. The law also restricts the transfer of data outside of these two areas. For people using GoDaddy’s services in these regions, much of the private information like email address, phone number, and mailing address has been redacted.

While it is unclear what the changing privacy regulation he is referring to, it could possibly be the California Consumer Privacy Act, which was enacted about a year and a half ago. Currently, United States email addresses have not been redacted, but it is possible that a similar policy might be incorporated into the region starting in early June.

This new policy is likely to have massive depreciation on domain investors, particularly those who use Whois information to buy and sell domain names for lead generation. Once these changes take effect, it will be impossible for the investors to find the domain registrars’ email address. Now, they will have to find a new method for emailing the domain registrant in order to offer to purchase the domain name.

Because it will become more difficult to figure out who is the owner of a domain and email them, it might mean there will be an increase in UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) filings. The UDRP was originally created by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to mediate any disputes about the registration of domain names.

People who are interested in buying the domain name might file a “blind” UDRP in order to learn whether or not the current registrant has legal rights to the domain name. People might turn to UDRP as a way to email the current registrant when it becomes impossible to do via WhoIS records.

There is also a rumor that users in the U.S. will be able to opt-out of this feature, and still have their information available; however, there is no proof that this will be the case.

What is Whois?

Whois is a “query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assigned an Internet resource.” This information might be a domain name, an autonomous system, or an IP block. Whois helps to collect and store the data table and puts it in a readable format.

Whois can be useful because it helps people learn more about the backend of a website. For example, if you wondered who was the hosting provider of a domain, you simply type in the domain name, and you can get that information quickly. Having access to this type of information has been useful to monitor domains and snap up domains when they do become available.

What Is A Private Domain Backorder?

When someone has already claimed and registered a domain name that you want, you can place a backorder on it. When (or if) the domain becomes available, the Domain Backorders will try to register the domain name for you.

Sometimes, domain names also go to auction, and if that is the case, the Domain Backorders will give you step-by-step instructions on how to participate in the bidding.

Once you have secured the backorder, you can decide what you want to do with it. Currently, you can either set it to private or public, but that might change starting in June. If you do set it to private, that means that no one can reach out to you, and your information won’t be publically accessible in the Whois database.

However, if your backorder wasn’t able to be completed, then you can either choose to reassign it to a different domain name or get a refund from the GoDaddy team.

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