Bravo FAQs: What Is Private Registration by Sam C. Chan
June 1, 2006

Private Registration is being offered by many domain name registration service providers, for a small fee per domain name, per year; on top of the regular annual registration fee.

Normally, when you register for a domain name, the registrant's identity and contact information, such as address, phone number and email address are listed in the public record database. Anyone can search those "whois" databases worldwide and harvest the information contained in the records.

With private registration, the registration provider is essentially designated as a proxythereby concealing your private information. There are 3 key pieces of information concerned here:

  • email address (typically the main concern)
  • contact info: physical address, phone and FAX numbers (optionally concealed)
  • registrant identity (true proxy, with implications on legal rights to domain name)

For majority of registrants, they're only interested in concealing the email address to avoid SPAM, by letting the provider deal with it. Some people might be concerned about publishing their street address and phone number publicly, especially if they already have private listing with the phone company. Finally, some might not wish to be associated with the domain in question and opt to remain completely anonymous.

What level of service is provided with the private registration feature?

The exactly level differs from one provider to another. Generally speaking, it's a bare-bone minimum level of proxy service. If someone took legal actions against your domain, or issued a warning, and you're served a legal document from the government or a law firm, you can reasonably expect that it will be forwarded to you. For anything less serious, the proxy essentially acts as a blackhole, for both electronic and physical (postal) correspondence.

You may also make a special 1-time arrangement with the provider, requesting them to answer a particular email (with advance notice), in order to authorize the transfer of the domain name out to another provider.

Why can't I simply "spoof" the information?

Supplying invalid information would cause you to be in technical limbo for certain processes. It is also a violation of ICANN rules (and possibly l0cal/federal/international laws as well). You run the risk of your domain being terminated per applicable rules and/or laws. This is similar to opening a bank account with fraudulent information, albeit a less serious offense. A proxy is the only valid and legal way to insulate yourself from the barrage of SPAM and intrusion of privacy.


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