Why it is Important to Register Private Domains (Avoiding Domain Scams and Spam)
Every time you register a domain name you will be asked to give your personal details, including your name, number, and address. This is logged by the registrar and used to lock your details to that domain for the entirety of the time it is registered to you.
It is standard practice and countless novice webmasters will allow this to happen without a second thought. But when your details are registered like this it means they will show up on a Who-Is Search, which can be performed by anyone.
Not only can someone find out exactly who you are by searching for your domain, but these searches are conducted automatically by spammers and scammers every single day. They trawl for new domain registrations, gather all of the email addresses, and then hit them one by one with spam that is often ridiculous, even though they are apparently trying to sell a legitimate product.
Fortunately, you can stop this from happening simply by making sure you tick the “Privacy” feature. Some domain providers will charge for this, but the better ones let you do it for free.
As I was writing this, I checked my spam folder and had just received an email. So, to show you how absurd these are, here it is.
Dear web owner
Hope you well.
Work with a reputed leading Search Engine Optimization Company having the experience of getting our customer’s websites top in Google and producing high revenue with big page rank.
I was looking related to your business and saw your website not on first page for relevant and user oriented keywords pertaining to your domain so
I was wondering.
If you want getting Search engine optimization done for your website.
You Can contact me with:-
I’d be happy to send you our package, pricing and past work details, if you’d like to assess our work.
Feel free to discuss any other any queries any time.
Thanks & Wishes
I didn’t change anything. The “you can contact me” mistake is all them. As is the company name at the bottom. This is proof that these guys use the same templates to spam the same nonsense, merely filling in relevant sections with their company name and contact details. Only in this case, this guy forgot to do that.
The Spammers Descend
I used to let this happen simply because the place I was registering domains at was charging me extra for the privacy option. I was launching a number of websites at the time so I needed quite a few domains and ended up ordering 4 or 5 without this feature checked.
In the 3 days that followed those registrations, I received over 150 emails. The bulk of these were from companies offering SEO and web design services, insisting they were the best, the cheapest and that I should hire them, because apparently they thought I based all my buying decisions on which random person was the first to spam me.
It was an annoyance, to say the least, but it crossed a line when the phone calls started. My number had been registered automatically by the domain registrar. I had simply clicked “next” and because they had my details, they did the honor of adding them to the form. To be fair to them, I agreed to it (albeit unknowingly) and the registration details did require a phone number.
After ignoring all of the emails, I received over 10 phone calls on the 4th day (reminiscent of the annoying IRS phone scam) and in the 2 weeks after registrations I ended up with about 20 in total. Obviously I lost my cool with them several times, but they kept calling. These days I try to do everything I can to stop them and have learned a few tricks to make my life easier.
How to Stop the Chaos
The first thing you should do is to pay more attention when you are buying a domain and to make sure you get one from a host that will give you this option for free. 123-Reg charge £4.99 a month for it, GoDaddy charge roughly the same I believe, while the likes of 1and1 offer it for free.
Secondly, if they persist with emails, you can report them through this link. If they keep calling, you can request that your line provider block them. Don’t think for a minute that you can ask the spammers to remove you from their list, because there is no list. They just keep pelting random requests at anyone who was careless enough to leave their Who-Is data.
Finally, if you register do the private option and the spam is still coming through (it happens) then you need to take it up with the registrar. Tell them that you take your privacy very seriously. Threaten a class action lawsuit if you must. Whatever. Just let them know that it is unacceptable, that they are to blame, you are angry, and it needs to stop.
At the very least it should give them a kick up the backside and ensure they offer you some kind of compensation.