What are the pros and cons of private domain registration? What is it? How can you do it?
I purposely do not share what I do online with close family and friends for several reasons. I had also written about why your family and friends will resist your side gigging activities if you told them about it.
Couple weeks back I was at a dinner with some of my wife’s friends. One of the attendees worked in the IT field and is passionate about operating in the online space.
Somehow during dinner the topic of social media came up and the discussions around it picked up some steam. I had made some comments that intrigued some individuals, and some questions followed after.
To best convey my point, I demonstrated the cause and effect of incorporating social media in one’s business by giving an example pertaining to one of my niche websites.
Couple nights back I received a message from this individual. One of his questions was around the privacy of my domain registration. He had apparently done his research to see that the website I provided as an example during dinner had a masked domain, in other words public records do not reveal my identity as the owner of the private domain.
If you don’t already know, domain registration records by default are publicly available through the WHOIS database. Simply type in the URL of any website or blog you want to learn more about and the results will provide you various details such as the owner of the URL, the server/host location, the registration date, expiration date, etc.
I like this tool because I have used it extensively in the past to contact web properties that I have been interested in acquiring. I have also used it to snatch up some popular domain names over the years on back order.
I once used it to purchase a domain name of a Fortune 500 company, only later to give it up for $2,000 after receiving threats from the company’s legal department. Still, I got $2,000 for a domain I paid $9.99 for, not too shabby
As it relates to the title of this post, whether you should mask your domain depends on your situation and long term objectives.
There are a handful of pros and cons to a private domain registration through domain masking. Some of these are as follows:
Employment – If you are employed and are not allowed to pursue other interests in your spare time, you may still be able to operate on the hush-hush with a private domain registration.
Even if you are allowed to, you may decide it is in your best interest to stay under the radar either because your website or blog conflicts with your employer’s interest, your industry or profession.
Acquisition Opportunities – I used the information in the WHOIS database to contact domain owners directly when I was interested in acquiring their website or blog. I suspect many do the same.
Many times the email ID that is registered in the WHOIS database is the owner’s personal and direct email address. Many times, they have another email address on their website or blog, one which they often times check a lot less frequently.
Think about your objective. Do you want to be an acquisition target? Do you want to make it easy for potential buyers to contact you? Even if you decide to go the private domain registration route, make sure there are ways to get in touch with you via your websites and blogs at least. You never know who is looking. I have sold two websites without having to solicit a buyer, including one for $250,000.
Cost – Private domain registration is not free, however the cost is minimal compared to the benefits of masking your domain if that supports your objectives.
Typically, private registration costs just as much as the actual domain does. If you purchase a domain for $9.99, chances are the registrar you bought your domain from will charge you another $9.99 for masking it. This is an annual fee similar to the fee for the domain itself.
Hide & Seek – Many also choose to mask their identity simply just because they can. Many don’t want family, friends and other colleagues to know what they do in their off time, at least until they become successful in many cases.
Some may not want their identity revealed, ever. Think about it. An activist or strong opinioned soul may decide to have their voice heard publicly without revealing their identity for safety and security purposes.
There can be countless other reasons, but because the process is so easy many decide to opt for private domain registration, at least in the initial stages.
I have all my domain names registered privately for a combination of many reasons. I do however have a way anyone can get in touch with me via my websites and blog. I have always used either GoDaddy or Site Build It! for domain purchasing, both of which offer the ability to mask domains.
There are other advantages and disadvantages as well involved with private domain registration that are not discussed in this post. But the few above should give you some of the more important key points to think about when registering your domain.
What about you. Did you opt for a private domain registration? Why or why not? What are some of the other pros and cons that come to mind?