Dear NodeSpace, I just purchased a domain the other day and within the last 72 hours, I've received SIX calls trying to sell me SEO and website design services!! Did my domain registrar sell my information? Sincerely, Frustrated Dot Com
Dear "Frustrated", We hear you! These spam calls, texts, and emails are absolutely ridiculous and it's a real problem. The short answer is no, your information wasn't sold. It was scraped. There's a lot going on when you register your perfect domain and we're going to clear up the process and what you can do to make these calls stop.
Registering your domain
The process starts when you register a domain. This can either be through your web host or an exclusive registrar such as NameCheap.com. In order to purchase the domain, you have to give up some personal details like your name, address, email, and phone number. You might think these are just for billing, but the agency that oversees domain name registration at the top, ICANN - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - requires it. When your domain is registered, it's really being registered with ICANN who keeps track of all the .com, .net, .tech, .blog, etc. domains. This information goes into what's called a public "Who Is" (commonly styled as "WHOIS") record. This allows anyone in the world to see who owns which domain along with some information like where it was registered (the "registrar"), the creation date (when it was first registered), and expiration date among other things. These calls, text messages, and emails were all obtained by scrapers that monitor WHOIS for new domain registrations. When they see a new one, they immediately grab the registrant information (your information) and market with it.
Keeping your private info private
Unlike your doctor's office which is required to keep your info private by law, there's no real privacy when it comes to domain names. But there is a solution. It's called ID Protection and it might be called something different by the company that sold you your domain. It's typically an addon-service as the domain registrar appears to register your domain on their behalf. It usually comes with an additional cost because of this. Since the domain registrar "registered" your domain as theirs, (don't worry, it's not actually theirs. You still have full access to use it as you wish.) their information goes on record instead of yours. This means that you won't get text messages, phone calls, or emails.
NodeSpace will add ID Protection on to your domain for $7.95/year
WHOIS privacy for cheap
If you don't want to pay for this service, we have a few recommendations. If you don't mind the occasional junk mail, you can use your real address. Or, you can get a local post office box and use that as your address. Depending on where you live and PO box availability, they can be $20/year from the USPS. To stop spam calls and texts, swap your phone number out for a free Google Voice number. Google Voice will screen calls, too. To stop spam emails, you can create a junk email address on Gmail, Yahoo, GMX, etc. but make sure you don't lose access to that email address! If you move your domain to a new registrar, you'll need access to the email on file to prove you actually own the domain. Hopefully this clears up why you get all those annoying calls. We're proactively working with ICANN to help change this policy so you're not hit with spam the moment you start your next great idea. NodeSpace is a domain register through Enom. Domains can be registered with or without hosting service from our store. Don't forget to sign up for ID Protection or use the tips in this article to help save you from spam. NodeSpace support is always happy to help you out.