It’s hypocritical for large companies to lobby against whois privacy services when they use them as well.
Why do so many large companies argue against whois privacy and whois proxy services when they use the same tools themselves?
It’s a frequently asked question, one that Kevin Murphy asked again today:
Sure, a lot of people hide their whois information for nefarious purposes. But for companies to label all whois privacy as “bad” when they do it themselves is hypocritical.
A number of companies use Mark Monitor’s affiliated companies to register domains and keep knowledge of the registrations away from the public. (Of course when they use the MarkMonitor name servers they often get outed).
There are plenty of competitive reasons to do this, such as a new product release.
I would consider this a fairly legitimate use of what is essentially a whois proxy service.
Sometimes big companies use it for questionable purposes. Consider Guthy-Renker, which recently registered a slew of domain names related to a recall of its popular Proactiv acne treatment. It registered the domains under the name of MarkMonitor’s DNStination, Inc.
At first I assumed it just wanted to keep the domains under wraps while it worked on a recall announcement. But it turns out its intentions were a bit more nefarious. It didn’t register the domain ProactivRecall.com because it wanted to save it for an announcement; it did it to keep information out of the public’s hands.
Guthy-Renker has no problem having the resolving yet stealthy (and non-indexed) domain PAbottlereplacement.com use its corporate information in whois, but it wants to hide the obvious domains from view.
Guthy-Renker’s activities around these domains spurred John Berryhill to comment:
When some of these folks come to understand the competitive intelligence available in domain name data, they’ll be singing a different tune about WHOIS privacy.
Let’s just not tell the SEC until we absolutely have to.
Indeed, there’s a lot of competitive intelligence in whois data. Just ask Fusible, an anonymous blog that writes almost exclusively about possible new product launches based on nameserver data courtesy of DailyChanges.com.
So are big companies willing to eliminate all forms of whois privacy and proxy just to go after some of the bad actors? Are they really willing to come forward and claim ownership of domain names the moment they register them?