What the mailman dragged in

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So, yesterday my mailman brought me yet another one of those Domain Registry of Amer*** letters. These letters are seriously annoying.  Take a look (click below to see bigger image) :

If you didn’t already know, these letters are a notorious marketing ploy.  They try to convince you to renew your domain name with them by sending you an official-looking notice, by postal mail.  If you follow the directions, not only will you pay an arm and a leg for a year of registration, but you’ll also be transferring your domain registration to another company. I often get letters from customers, who ask me, “How did these scumbags get my snail mail address?”  It’s actually really easy.  And sort of scary, too.

Your domain name’s ownership information (it’s also called the “WHOIS information”) is available in a public database – which can be accessed by anyone.  See for yourself right here.

This is the same reason you usually started getting boatloads of spam to the email address associated with your domain.

Obviously this is bad.  Only for specific reasons would you want to share your info (and I’ll tell you about those in a couple of weeks).  But as a general rule, it’s better to hide your contact information from public view.

So how can you hide your contact information?

Until now, there hasn’t been a lot you can do about it.  But because so many of you have been asking for it, we’ve added a sweet new feature called Domain WHOIS Privacy.  It basically removes your information from the WHOIS database.  You still own your domain, but now you won’t have to deal with all the spam, fake mail, and telemarketing calls.  Of course you always have the option to turn privacy off at any time, but I don’t recommend it.

I’ve got all my personal names, and even some of my business names, protected with Domain WHOIS Privacy.  It works wonders and the spam you get decreases considerably.

So if you want to add it to your existing domain(s), it’s only $6/year (which is like one or two lattes from Starbucks, depending on how complicated of a person you are). And it’s well worth it.  Here are some instructions on turning privacy on.

To make it a no brainer, we’ve bundled domain privacy with new .com domain registrations. For a short time, you can register new .coms for just 4 bucks if you add domain privacy when you order them.

I hope you like this new feature, and that it’ll help you as much as it has helped me.

Yours,

Fathi Said, CEO
IX Web Hosting

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17 Comments to "What the mailman dragged in"

  1. Wow, all that for an advertisement for something your company should offer to your customers as service. Spamming for 6 bucks a pop.

    • IX: Danny M. - -

      @Joe,

      We really appreciate the feedback you’ve provided to us. I agree that it would be excellent to offer domain privacy as a free service but unfortunately we are not able to at the moment. Hopefully this feature will be extended to our loyal customers in the future.

      Danny Mullins
      IX Web Hosting

  2. Anonymous -

    Would you mind sharing how exactly is IX hiding the personal info in the whois database ? Your post, while semi-humoristic and I don’t mind that, has very little useful information in it and sounds more like a marketing pledge that a real article.

    • IX: Kevin M. - -

      @FrederickSmith, You make a valid point, we have not gone into depth with the mechanics behind the scenes of how the privacy feature protects you.

      To better illustrate this, I ordered the privacy feature for one of my personal domains. I checked back in about 30 minutes and this was the WHOIS data now on my domain:


      Registrant:
      Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0128972709
      96 Mowat Ave
      Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
      CA

      Domain name: [removed].COM

      Administrative Contact:
      Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0128972709, [removed].com@contactprivacy.com
      96 Mowat Ave
      Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
      CA
      +1.4165385457
      Technical Contact:
      Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0128972709, [removed].com@contactprivacy.com
      96 Mowat Ave
      Toronto, ON M6K 3M1
      CA
      +1.4165385457

      To be transparent, I did remove my actual domain name from the above info ( [removed] ); it would be a conflict of interest to use this post to drive traffic to my domain.

      As you can see, the contact data no longer shows my Columbus, Ohio (USA) address. My email address is obscured, and will return a bounce back message directing the sender to the privacy site where they can fill out a captcha-protected form that will email me.

      Please let us know if you have additional questions!

      Kevin M.
      IX Tech

    • IX is not hiding the information, it is a simple thing that WHOIS information is not published by the domain registry if you chose Domain Privacy option. The information is very much useful for the users as the format of the above mentioned mail is threatening. It is good that IX is trying to reach its clients with this kind of blogs.

  3. I’m going to call your bluff.

    I’ve been with IXwebhosting on the order of 6 years. Either you have been doing a fine job of protecting my info, or they aren’t targeting me with snail mail like that. The only e-mail I get at my registry e-mail address is from IXwebhosting the ISP where it located; I have never given anyone else.

    Regarding e-mail, I have created my on web of mail aliases at my domain (A great feature!!!). Other than trusted parties, no one gets my prime address; they get an alias. Overwhelmingly, my spam is thru the aliases. Yes some comes to my primary address, maybe I sent a message to someone untrustworthy, or someone I trusted had their PC infected and their address book scraped. Then client side e-mail filters pick up almost of the slack.

    As for phone calls, this isn’t a problem either. My listed phone is my landline; it is not unlisted and is in my wife’s name. It is on the Do Not Call Registry. What unwelcome calls we receive are usually for her,

    Junk snail mail? Again, for her, because she’s the one who gets all the catalogs in the mail. Our address was changed early this this year, I haven’t updated my registry, and the junk mail is slowly coming to reflect the new address. So they’re getting my address from some other mailing list.

    So I won’t be buying your service.

    • Bill of Poway - -

      I have received the same solicitations illustrated from DRoA so he isn’t just making it up.

    • IX: Kevin M. - -

      Hello qka,

      I was just re-reading the comments on this blog post and noticed you stated that your address has changed and you have not updated the contact info for your domain(s).  This concerns me as it is one of the few reasons that ICANN, the international governing body for domain registrations, can delete a domain from the registry.  Please take a moment to update your information to come into compliance with ICANN’s regulations.

      For your reference, here a link to the ICANN rule:  http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/ra-agreement-21may09-en.htm#3.7.7.2

      I realize this seems to directly conflict with the Domain Privacy offering.  To clarify, the actual contact information is still maintained internally and any snail mail sent to the privatized address can be forwarded to the address on file.  Any emails sent to the privatized email address are auto-responded to with instructions on how to contact the domain contact.

      Thanks,
      Kevin M.
      IX Tech

  4. I get no spam. The technique is easy. It’s called Gmail. Maybe one or two a week sneak past the brilliant filtering. The Gmail spam folder shows about 20-30 spams a day. I’ve all but stopped checking for false positives. IT works.

  5. Larry Sue -

    Hi Faith,

    I tried following the directions, but they didn’t work! I could only get to my control panel, and not to the list of options depicted in the manual.

    Hmmm…
    Larry :)…

  6. Just a note in support of this service. 
    For years, I’ve registered my domain names through a domain registry. I got a normal amount of spam. A few years ago, they started offering a “who-is proof” service, which obfuscates the site owner on the who-is listing. Since then, I have not gotten any spam originating from who-is on the domains I have protected with who-is proof. I still get spam for those domains I have not protected. 
    This service is connected to the domain name registration, not to the hosting, and is a completely different service than either domain name registry or hosting. You don’t complain to the car mechanic when you take your car in for an oil change and he charges extra for a tune up. They are different jobs. In this case, the service to act as an email screening/forwarding service is well worth it. 

  7. I remember getting Domain Registration notices at my PO Box and wondered how on earth did they contact me. I almost fell victim to registering through one until I realized what I had been doing PRIOR to those notifications coming in. Spam in the domain email box was just that. I rarely come to IX to read mail there and it’s been a year since I’ve checked it thanks to Gmail. Where I started having issues was when people no longer associated with me and/or my fan based site could look up my site info. The whole domain page was published on a public forum. I was furious and there was nothing I could do. On that day, I went in and changed the information to generic wording and never looked back. Now if ICANN wants to delete my domain because if it, this is news to me. My info has been like that for over 5 years and I have no plans to change it. No spam, no unsolicited emails and no unwanted harassment. Thanks IX for 5+ years of patience with me and my site. 

    • IX: James H. - -

      Hello Lady Di,

      Thank you for your positive feedback. It is true that having invalid information for your WHOIS data is not a guarantee that you will have a dispute from ICANN. It would be safe to assume that many people have done so and experienced no issues. However, deletion or seizure of a domain is something we have seen several times and therefore we mentioned this rule in hopes to prevent such an inconvenience. Ultimately, enforcement of this rule is ICANN’s responsibility; we can only recommend compliance.

      Thanks again,
      James H.
      IX Web Hosting

  8. Jliddil -

    What is your stand on SOPA?

  9. This is a really good feature you have introduced to us, spamming and telemarketing calls are really annoying and irritating. Domain WHOIS privacy is fiteration process to spams and unnecessary calls.

  10. Unfortunately not a feature of all TLD’s in some area openness is mandatory

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