Alvin Brown considers the impact Whois changes will have on domain sales.
Over the last few weeks, a number of industry blogs have shared their insight pertaining to the impact of GDPR, the data protection law set to launch in late May, to the domain industry. GDPR applies to any companies that have data on EU residents.
As it pertains to the domain industry, one of the glaring areas of GDPR impact is the game-changing action companies are choosing to take in regards to Whois.
Many companies industry-wide are taking the stance of obfuscating all of Whois domain information to comply with GDPR, although it’s not completely necessary.
Let that sink in for a moment.
As a domain investor, if your domain selling strategy depends on buyers using Whois to make contact, then you’ll likely want to consider a different approach moving forward due to the GDPR reaction by companies.
I can’t tell you how many times in a given day I execute Whois inquiries for myself or on the behalf of clients in search of owning a particular domain.
A lack of public Whois is not only going to impact domain sales for domain investors, but possibly introduces changes in the Escrow process for domain ownership verification and the increased number of UDRP cases — no public access to Whois phone or mailing address.
There will likely remains a forwarding email address associated with the Whois record, but how likely is the general public to email a domain that looks like email@example.com?
Whether a pro or con, not having access to public Whois also rules out the opportunity for all parties involved to research a contact person or company — which can be a big deal when negotiating a domain transaction.
But one of the most intriguing thoughts that comes to mind was GDPR increasing the use of parking services and sales landers by domain owners. Domain owners are likely forced to take one of the following actions to keep realizing domain inquiries:
- Redirect domains to website or social platform profiles (i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
- Create and redirect to custom landing pages with contact form or seller contact information, or domain marketplaces using 3rd-party solutions (e.g., Efty, Sedo, etc.)
- Use domain parking services like Efty, Sedo, ParkLogic, Voodoo, ParkingCrew, DomainNameSales, or RookMedia to name a few
- Use domain registrar parking services in conjunction with for-sale links/forms.
Of course, domain parking revenues are not what they once were a decade or so ago, but sales landing and marketplace services like Efty and Sedo stand to benefit as an affordable alternative.
And as many domain investors weigh the consequences of no longer having access to public Whois, the same could be said for domain registrars and domain parking providers.
Have you considered how GDPR impacts future business?