You’re registering your domain and the domain registrar offers you WHOIS Guard or Private Registration. What’s that all about?

I get this question quite often, “Should I but these private registration services?” The answer is: it’s not a bad idea.

I find it a not too distant cousin of blackmail. It’s a bit like when you have your new telephone number the phone company is going to list it in the Yellow Pages (link to Wikipedia entry for those of you under 28). I pay AT&T something like a dollar per month to not list my phone number publicly. Wouldn’t it seem logical to be the other way around? I could pay to have it listed? Anyway, enough of the philosophy behind it …

Here are your three options.

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Your Info

Registrant Contact:
Samuel P. Taylor, samuel@yahoo.com
298 Redwood Drive
Marin, CA 94293
(415) 999-3829

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WHOIS Guard

Registrant Contact:
WhoisGuard
WhoisGuard Protected
11400 Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

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Fake or Limited Info

Registrant Contact:
n/a, samuel@yahoo.com
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a, 94293

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Still wondering what to do? The private registration will use the typical scare tactics and tell you that your information is available to the public and the spammers are just waiting to pull your email into their database of spammy garbage and … they’re right. That is what will happen.

I generally advise people to use their Google Voice number or maybe a PO box if they don’t want to pay the few bucks per year per domain–it can add up if you’re a domain hoarder like, uh, some of us are. But if you’d like to just have one less place out there that has your info, Namecheap is a good registrar and they’ll give it to you for free for the first year and then it’s something like $2.88/year. GoDaddy charges a whopping $9.99 per year per domain.

[box]You can see your own WHOIS info at Domain Tools.[/box]

What do you usually do with your domains? Do you get the protection services? Just leave the real deal out there for the spammers? Or give your cousin’s neighbor’s address?

Is it worth the domain name protection of a service like WHOIS Guard?

Is it worth the domain name protection of a service like WHOIS Guard?