All it takes is a thing called a WhoIs and anyone online can find out lots of information about you – that you have given them!
Firstly – what is a “WhoIs”? in technical terms a WhoIs is a query/response used for searching databases in order to determine information on an Internet Resource (i.e domain name, IP or other addressing schema)
In terms that you and I are more likely to understand, a WhoIs is service through a sit that tells you stuff about who registered a domain name.
You can query the WhoIs database through many, many web sites. Any domain registrar has a WhoIs page, all you have to do is plug in a domain name, verify that you’re human and then read the info.
See here for a WhoIs query page
The information returned as a result of a WhoIs is information you have given your domain registrar when you registered your domain name/s (if you don’t have a domain name you really should have one).
Results returned are things like: Which company your domain was registered through, when your domain was created, when it is up for renewal, when the info was updated, who the admin contact is (name address phone number, who the tech contact is (name address phone number), your domain nameservers, and more.
Every domain has registrant information attached to it – when you register you claim that the information you have provided is correct and accurate. It is legal too.
When you query a WhoIs database there is normally some small print stating that you’re using the information for legal purposes and that you’re not trawling the database, mining it for information – there are companies and individuals that do just this.
I have received so many letters in the past relating to domains that, to the layman, would say “hey, you’re going to loose your domain forever! call us to keep it!” when instead it says “hey, we’re a registrar who has nothing to do with you and just want to take you and your domain away from where is currently is”.
I’m sure my WhoIs information has been used for other purposes too.
However, all is not lost! Many reputable registrars give you a Private registration option which hides your information online and registers the domain By Proxy – exposing the proxy information, not yours.
Of course, legally, your information still has to be on file with your registrar but your information isn’t out there for the World to see.
What does this added extra cost? just a couple of bucks per year, per domain you own. Some registrars even give it away free when you have a few domains with them.
It is worth a look if you’re worried about exposing information about yourself online.
Author: Andy Quayle
Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.
Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.