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.Us whois privacy is alive and well if you use Mark Monitor

May 8, 2012.us whois privacy, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, mark monitor, whois proxyComments Off on .Us whois privacy is alive and well if you use Mark Monitor

Mark Monitor helps keep .us domain registration records private.

It’s been years since the average consumer could register a .us domain name using whois privacy, thanks to a decision by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

But apparently if you’re a big brand you can still do it.

A company recently registered a slew of domain names related to dairy products, including BadDairy.com, DairyBad.com, and Bad-Dairy.com. Whomever registered these domains also registered versions under multiple top level domains including .net, .info, .biz, and .us.

The domains were registered to DNStination Inc., an affiliate of brand protection company Mark Monitor. And make no mistake; DNStination Inc. is effectively a proxy service for Mark Monitor customers. admin@dnstinations.com is currently associated with about 20,000 domain names. Big brands tend to use this service when they don’t want to tip off that they’re the registrant of a domain name (at least yet).

Take a look at the whois record for BadDairy.us:

us whois mark monitor

Let’s call a spade a spade: Mark Monitor is offering whois proxy services on .us domain names.


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Whois privacy. Even the Fortune 500 use it.

December 6, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, whois privacy, whois proxyComments Off on Whois privacy. Even the Fortune 500 use it.

It’s hypocritical for large companies to lobby against whois privacy services when they use them as well.

Why do so many large companies argue against whois privacy and whois proxy services when they use the same tools themselves?

It’s a frequently asked question, one that Kevin Murphy asked again today:

Sure, a lot of people hide their whois information for nefarious purposes. But for companies to label all whois privacy as “bad” when they do it themselves is hypocritical.

A number of companies use Mark Monitor’s affiliated companies to register domains and keep knowledge of the registrations away from the public. (Of course when they use the MarkMonitor name servers they often get outed).

There are plenty of competitive reasons to do this, such as a new product release.

I would consider this a fairly legitimate use of what is essentially a whois proxy service.

Sometimes big companies use it for questionable purposes. Consider Guthy-Renker, which recently registered a slew of domain names related to a recall of its popular Proactiv acne treatment. It registered the domains under the name of MarkMonitor’s DNStination, Inc.

At first I assumed it just wanted to keep the domains under wraps while it worked on a recall announcement. But it turns out its intentions were a bit more nefarious. It didn’t register the domain ProactivRecall.com because it wanted to save it for an announcement; it did it to keep information out of the public’s hands.

Guthy-Renker has no problem having the resolving yet stealthy (and non-indexed) domain PAbottlereplacement.com use its corporate information in whois, but it wants to hide the obvious domains from view.

Guthy-Renker’s activities around these domains spurred John Berryhill to comment:

When some of these folks come to understand the competitive intelligence available in domain name data, they’ll be singing a different tune about WHOIS privacy.

Let’s just not tell the SEC until we absolutely have to.

Indeed, there’s a lot of competitive intelligence in whois data. Just ask Fusible, an anonymous blog that writes almost exclusively about possible new product launches based on nameserver data courtesy of DailyChanges.com.

So are big companies willing to eliminate all forms of whois privacy and proxy just to go after some of the bad actors? Are they really willing to come forward and claim ownership of domain names the moment they register them?


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Related posts:

  1. Providing Whois Privacy Isn’t Free
  2. Domain Name Whois Privacy Has Its Limits
  3. Wikileaks Could Put More Pressure on Whois Privacy Services

ICANN May Test Whois Privacy and Proxy Services

September 29, 2010Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, whois privacy, whois proxyComments Off on ICANN May Test Whois Privacy and Proxy Services

How do whois privacy services respond to requests to reveal owner information?

The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) has asked ICANN to consider the cost and feasibility of extended whois studies. ICANN has already undertaken studies to determine what percentage of whois records are accurate. The next study is to see how whois privacy and whois proxy services respond to requests to reveal the actual owner of domain names.

The study would involve working with individuals, businesses, first responders, complaint centers, and law enforcement that have made requests to whois services to reveal or relay information to the actual registrant.

For each submitted request, researchers will then solicit secondary input from the associated Privacy/Proxy service provider and Registrar to determine if the request was received, relayed, responded to, or otherwise acted upon.

This may be a challenge. I suspect the services that easily hand information over to requesters will cooperate; those that don’t want respond to the query from the researchers.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

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Related posts:

  1. Wikileaks Could Put More Pressure on Whois Privacy Services
  2. Providing Whois Privacy Isn’t Free
  3. Domain Name Whois Privacy Has Its Limits

Wikileaks Could Put More Pressure on Whois Privacy Services

August 3, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, whois privacy, whois proxyComments Off on Wikileaks Could Put More Pressure on Whois Privacy Services

Could WikiLeaks backlash bring renewed attention to whois privacy services?

The backlash against WikiLeaks over its release of thousands of secret U.S. government documents about the war in Afghanistan is building. It’s never pretty when your web site is blamed for death.

And although the public now knows who is behind WikiLeaks, I think the situation may place more attention on the use of whois privacy and proxy services.

WikiLeaks.org was registered in 2006 using domain registrar Dynadot’s privacy service. The actual details of the whois record for WikiLeaks.org has changed many times. But as of today this is what it shows:

Registrant Name:John Shipton c/o Dynadot Privacy
Registrant Street1:PO Box 701
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:San Mateo
Registrant State/Province:CA
Registrant Postal Code:94401
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.6505854708
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email: privacy@dynadot.com

As a privacy service, Dynadot privacy shows the real name of the registrant but not the contact information.

This lack of transparency is sure to grab the attention of politicians. It’s attention that privacy and proxy services would rather not have.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

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Related posts:

  1. Providing Whois Privacy Isn’t Free
  2. Domain Name Whois Privacy Has Its Limits
  3. Fabulous Adds Physical Security and Whois Privacy

Providing Whois Privacy Isn’t Free

April 28, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, whois privacy, whois proxyComments Off on Providing Whois Privacy Isn’t Free

Running a whois privacy or proxy service costs money.

In the recent uproar about Name.com introducing a fee for whois privacy, a number of people have said that such a service costs the provider essentially nothing.

Without discussing the merits of Name.com’s new fee and how it communicated it, it’s worth pointing out that whois privacy does cost the registrar money.

First, there’s the legal set up fee and structure of an entity to act at the proxy. (There are two types of whois privacy services. Most are actually “proxy” services, which register the domain name and license it to the registrant.) That’s no small potatoes if done correctly. Then there’s the technology aspect.

But a bigger cost for domain privacy services is ongoing legal headaches. When a domain using a proxy service is served with a UDRP, the proxy service generally unmasks the whois information. But complainants sometimes argue that the proxy provider is actually the domain owner. Some panelists agree. Add to that frequent requests from law enforcement agencies and courts.

I was reminded of this today when I saw that a Florida man just filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against both GoDaddy and its Domains by Proxy, Inc. subsidiary. The man is claiming defamation because someone used Domains by Proxy to register a domain name that he says is being used to bad mouth his services.

So while the incremental cost of providing whois privacy for a domain name may be small, there are certainly costs.


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Related posts:

  1. GoDaddy offers free Whois privacy
  2. Domain Name Whois Privacy Has Its Limits
  3. GoDaddy Scores Another Whois Privacy Patent