Anonymous Domain Name Registration

from the interesting-ideas dept

There has been all sorts of talk about how the whois database of domain name registrants needs to be cleaned up so that people can more easily track down who really owns various domain names. Plenty of people completely make up information to keep themselves anonymous, and Network Solutions makes it nearly impossible to change information – so that plenty of the information is completely out of date. In fact, in a toothless threat designed to show some muscle flexing, ICANN even threatened to take away Verisign’s (owners of Network Solutions) registrar abilities due to all the false info in the database. However, having registered a fair number of domains, I know that it’s a welcome mat for spammers who pull email addresses out of whois with glee. At the same time, there are certainly people who have a legitimate interest in owning domains anonymously. It’s not clear why they should be forced to reveal personal information. Along comes Go Daddy Software to the rescue. They’ve opened up a subsidiary to sell anonymous domain registrations – and they do it in a clever way. To get around the requirement for accurate information, they simply officially register the domain themselves. So, their information goes into the whois database, but then they create their own sub-database of who really owns the domain – and let the owners of the domain do whatever they want with it. Of course, I wonder how well this is going to work out when the first lawsuit comes along from someone trying to sue a domain owner – who goes after Go Daddy Software instead of the actual owner.

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