Privacy, Anonymity, Authenticity, Customers…..

It is possible to arrange a supposedly  “private domain” when one register a domain name. Legally one is required to keep the domain registration details up to date.

Currently the Internet Coalition for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) broadly requires that the mailing address, phone number and e-mail address of those owning/managing a domain name to be made publicly available through the “WHOIS” directories.

Some people do not want others to know who owns a domain, hence others offer “Domains by Proxy”. Essentially this means that “Domains by proxy” are listed as the owner of your domains.  They receive all emails sent to the owners and then send them on to you.  If you ever need to do something that requires you to prove ownership, then you need necessary documentation from “Domains by proxy” as you are not actually listed as the owner.

Would you trust a company when you did not know who it really was?

I believe that the public have a right to know who they are dealing with.  It is generally recommended to provide contact details on your website and to present a “human face”.   If you are in business and your domain name points to your business and your business details are on the web, then there is no point in having a private domain.  If people cannot “see” who you are, they sometimes wonder what you have to hide.

Who wants to hide?

Usually scammers, spammers, speculators… That said,  there may be political activists, controversial free speakers (or corporations posing as such?!) who feel they need to be anonymous.

If you really need to be anonymous, then a “private domain” may not actually be secure enough.

In most countries proxy owners are legally obliged to collect personal information from domain owners. They also require little persuasion to release domain owners’ contact information.

In that situation you are probably better of seeking other ways to be private.  possibly by having someone you trust to be the domain owner and be prepared to deal with correspondence for you – prerferably someone who can weed out any scam traffic!

Proxy Cost?

If you really want to keep your ownership of a domain name private use a proxy service,  the cost is roughly (US$10 per domain, per year), depending on who you use.

More info

For more information, wikipedia have a variety of articles:

and there are a variety of people advocating either way:

My take

Unless you really have something to hide, don’t bother – the inconvenience and possible loss of public trust are not worth it.   Already people think that itf a domain is anonymous then it must have something to hide.  Some people advocate that ISP’s should just block anonymous domains, since they are usually scammers and spammers.