Is It Legal To Mask The Domain Name Owner’s Identity In The WHOIS Information?

Domain Name Ownership Privacy has been a hot topic recently. Many domain name owners user third party “Privacy Protection” or “Proxy Registration” services to mask their true identity. Domain Name Privacy is like having an unlisted phone number, which is not available in any telephone directory or online database. This means that by doing a WHOIS Search, your domain name registrant information shows up with masked or pseudo information belonging to a mail or email forwarding service. This article deals with the legality of masking your domain name ownership identity.

Does The Privacy Service Become The Owner?

The owner of a domain name can be identified by the WHOIS records of the domain. The Registrant information is to clearly indicate the Name, Address, Email Address and Contact Number of the owner of the domain name. But when a privacy service is turned on, you don’t get to see these. Hence, an important question that arises is whether the person named as the Registrant is the defacto owner.

In a famous cyber-squatting case of SolidHost v. NameCheap, the latter was a Privacy Protection provider, who had their contact details mentioned as the owner of the domain name. Solid Host insisted that they reveal the true identity of the domain owner, which they refused. Solid Host sued NameCheap in California. In an interim motion, the court held that NameCheap, by listing itself as the owner of a domain name in dispute was contributing to cyber-squatting although the real owner maybe a different person, for whom NameCheap was only holding the domain name in trust. This judgement was received with a bit of criticism and a lot of two pence from most people.

In another case, where the Registrar of the Domain Name went Bankrupt and was still listed as the domain Registrant, the court ordered the litigating partners of the business to reveal the domain ownership information and handover the details to ICANN, which would then facilitate the transfer and move the domains over to a new Registrar.

What Are Legitimate Uses For Domain Name Privacy Protection?

Domain Name Privacy is important in many cases, especially for legitimate business purposes where company’s want to obscurely purchase domain names to secure them for future product launches or for internal business purposes. Non Government agencies, like news broadcasters, investigative journalists, whistle blowers and even researchers may want to stay anonymous while booking domain names and may want to mask their identity for their own safety.

So Is It Legal?

The ICANN website states that: “Privacy and proxy services are outside the scope of the 2001 RAA and 2009 RAA. To determine who is involved in a domain name behind a proxy or privacy service, please refer to the service provider’s terms of service. If you have a complaint involving a law or regulation, you may want to refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement agency within your jurisdiction or seek legal counsel.”

It goes on to state that: ” The 2013 RAA requires that privacy and proxy service providers: Disclose service terms (including pricing), on its website and/or registrar’s website and abide by such terms; Publish an abuse/infringement point of contact; Disclose the business contact information on its website and/or registrar’s website; and Publish and abide by terms of service and description of procedures on its website and/or registrar’s website, such as handling of abuse or trademark infringement reports, communication handling, conditions of ending service, Whois data publication conditions, and access to support services.”

The clincher is when ICANN mentions that “Please note that displaying privacy or proxy protected Whois data is not itself inaccurate. Please only submit a complaint if you are unable to contact the domain name holder because of inaccurate privacy or proxy service Whois data.” This means that only if you are not able to trace the true identity of the owner after due diligence checking, only then can you complain to ICANN and they will attempt to trace the true owner.

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Easy To Follow Ideas About Search Engine Optimization That Will Really Help You

 

You could be the most ambitious person on the planet when it comes to creating a website with all the bells and whistles that people will love, but unless your visitors can find your site when they search specific terms, your efforts are just going to be wasted. Read these tips and make the most of your efforts.

 

On your website, headings are going to play a vital role in organizing information. So you need to use only a single H1 tag when you are putting your page together. You can use various subheading tags, like H2-H6, but keep things neat and clean by only using one main H1 tag.

 

To search engine optimize your website, don't include more than 150 internal linking hyperlinks on your home page. Too many internal links on one page can dilute a web page's search engine rank. Huge numbers of links also make it hard for visitors to find the information that they need quickly.

 

To ensure that your website is as easy as possible to crawl, keep your site architecture flat. Don't use too many sub folders, instead use descriptive names for each page. Keep your pages with the most competitive keywords in their names, close to the root folder, so they will gain a higher page rank.

 

A great way to optimize your search engine is to provide use internal links. This means you have an easy access to links within your own site. This provides an easier database for customers of viewers to use and will end up boosting the amount of traffic you have.

 

Find some SEO forums that take site review requests. Participate in the forums then ask fellow members to take look at your website. When someone you don't know well visits your website they can analyze it critically and unemotional, then highlight mistakes and suggest ways for you to improve your website's search engine optimization.

 

While purchasing a domain name may seem like the right way to go, many search engines do not recommend it. Some search engines have a long delay for adding new sites to their existing lists, and last thing you want is to delay getting new visitors. Using your existing website is more feasible, since the wait time for some engines is up to a full year.

 

Decide whether or not you want to use a link farm. Link farms are sites without content that just have thousands of links. This is generally seen as a negative thing. However, these do appear in search engines, and can help you rise in the ranks. It is your decision as to what is most important: rapport with other sites, or search engine rankings.

 

As mentioned at the start of this article, it's very important that you do not allow your efforts to go to waste. Learning the proper optimization tactics for the search engines out there is how your site or business goes from a simple start-up to being a legitimate and popular brand online. Use the tips you've just read to your advantage in SEO.

 

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