Do Not Forget About Privacy When Buying a Domain
Private domain registration, sometimes called anonymous domain registration, is an effective way to keep your personal information from being exposed online. Normally, if you would like to own or manage a domain name, you are required to provide personal details about yourself to a private organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This powerful group, also called ICANN, works closely with the United States government to oversee the general stability of the global Internet. ICANN asks for the phone number, mailing address and email address of anyone who would like to register a domain, and then it shares this information in a public directory called WHOIS.
This directory can be accessed by anyone, including identity thieves and spammers, which is an obvious threat to the integrity of your personal information. Spammers often harvest email addresses and other personal details from the WHOIS directory, and there is little to prevent them from doing so. Many people simply do not wish have their information in such a vulnerable collection and are looking for an alternative. Private or anonymous domain names allow you to bypass this publication of personal details required by ICANN by allowing you to register under the name of a private company instead of yourself. These companies, called domain name registrars, are popular enterprises and easy to find with a simple Internet search. They offer you domain privacy in exchange for a modest annual fee.
The company substitutes your personal information in the WHOIS directory with its own details, thereby keeping anything relating you safe from public view. The average fee for private domain registration is about $10 a year. People choose private domain registration for a variety of reasons: to keep their domains safe from spam, to protect private family information on their website, and to ensure that their identities cannot be stolen. It's important to remember that even though you may purchase the protection of a domain name registrar, you still have to provide some personal information to the company itself, so you are not 100 percent anonymous. Although these companies pledge to keep your information safe, there are some legal situations in which domain registrars can be required to release certain details as required by law. By power of a cease and desist or legal subpoena, the company can be forced to release the information they have collected about their clients.
Unfortunately, private domain registration is also sometimes used for malicious purposes. Because it essentially allows you to mask your identity online, some people use private domain registration to post harmful or offensive material online, sometimes at the expense of innocent victims. Several scams designed to take advantage of the elderly have been traced by back to private domains. People also use private domain names to post negative information on political candidates' websites during high profile campaigns. For this reason, private domain name registrars post warnings that their services are not to be used for such reasons.