I bought a couple of domain names recently. No, nothing mind-blowing is happening. I just had a few ideas I needed to try. I’m still working on them though. Acquiring a domain name is as easy as buying anything online. However, there is one little problem. You don’t get a hundred calls from people who “saw you bought a mobile phone so wondered if you needed apps for it” when you buy a new phone. It’s different for domain names.
WHOIS (pronounced who is) is literally a database for who owns which domain name. You have a person’s name, contact details and so on in a neatly organised record available publicly. Every domain registrar submits WHOIS data to the database. To sum it up, if you buy a domain name, your name and contact information are publicly associated with it.
But… The Spam?
Precisely. The spam. What about it? Let’s just say I’ve answered over two hundred calls in the last week because I registered a couple of domain names.
“Hi, I just saw you bought a domain name, <name here> recently. Do you need any services for it?”
“Umm. No, I’ve got it handled. Thank you.”
I don’t mind that it’s just people doing their jobs. Most client-poaching is done exactly like this. Did someone book a domain? Let’s call them and ask if they need to get a website developed. If not that, let’s just send them a text message.
It’s obvious but it gets extremely annoying if your phone only lives to see calls or messages like these for at least a week or so.
How To Avoid It?
Well, don’t make the same mistake I did. Most registrars offer a value-added service that lets you hide your WHOIS information. This is perfectly legal and is up to the registrar so they thought it’d be a great idea if they cashed in that little bargaining chip.
Now that I’ve been on the other side of the drama, I won’t mind paying that extra money. So, if you’re buying a domain name and don’t want people to contact you then don’t be Mr Scrooge and just go ahead and buy the add-on that lets you hide your information from the public WHOIS registry.
I won’t go into how ethical (or not) it is to ask money for something that should be an obvious service in the first place. Not here, at least.