Brands owners benefit from whois privacy, even though they’d prefer their adversaries not be able to use it.
There’s a common myth in intellectual property circles that, if it weren’t for whois privacy and proxy services, there would be a lot less bad stuff on the internet.
I can bust a hole right in the myth. But instead, I’d like to point out something these companies don’t often admit: they are some of the biggest users of whois privacy.
I was reminded of this while reviewing some notes from a recent .NYC Advisory Board meeting. .NYC doesn’t allow registrants to use whois privacy. That’s why, when two firms working on behalf of Michael Bloomberg registered a bunch of embarrassing domain names, I was able to easily find out who was behind it. During the meeting, someone pointed out that Bloomberg’s lawyers had to register the domains in their name, which ended up being rather embarrassing for them.
This is one of the reasons big corporations use whois privacy. They register some defensive domain names and don’t want to call attention to it. The other big reason is that they don’t want to tip off their new product plans.
One of the biggest suppliers of whois privacy services for these companies is brand protection company Mark Monitor, which registers domains for clients under then name DNStination Inc.
When ISIS (the payments company) started registering domains for a brand change, it used whois privacy.
When Bank of America registered hundreds of “sucks” and “blows” domain names for its executives, it used whois privacy.
And when Proactiv wanted to make its recall as quiet as possible, it used whois privacy.
So while IP interests and corporations bemoan the existence of whois privacy services, they should consider how they are already take advantage of its availability.