GoDaddy masks expired domain whois to prevent auction circumvention
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Contact information made private after domain expires.
GoDaddy.com has started masking contact information in whois records of expired domains in an effort to prevent people from circumventing auctions and bothering domain owners.
The move, which the company announced today, is aimed at cutting down on email domain investors send to owners of expired domains. Domain investors see an expired domain auction for a domain they want and then contact the owner directly rather than competing in an auction.
This is a smart practice for domain investors as it often means they can get a domain for a lot less money than competing with dozens of other investors in an auction.
It can be good for the domain owner who makes money but bad for the auction service such as GoDaddy.
For its part, GoDaddy says it’s making the change to prevent people from harassing the current domain owner with so many emails: “Based on customer complaints, many investors participate in this practice, and some even hire outsourced teams.”
Of course, savvy domain investors can use DomainTools‘ historical whois to find out who the owner is. Many domain registrars already change the whois records upon expiration, and historical whois records are a goldmine for finding out who the owner is.
But this whois change will likely cut down on the apparent massive volume of email sent to owners of expired domains.
I’ve never had this happen for domains I own at GoDaddy. But I guess if I let them expire then they’re truly bad names.
The whois change won’t prevent people from transferring domains to another registrar during the expiration process. The whois will be reverted if the registrant requests the transfer authorization code.