I run into a lot of interesting domain data and I think I will start sharing some of the stuff I run into, so today I will start off with a pretty interesting one. Invalid Whois Data.
There are pretty substantial risks involved with having invalid whois data for your domain name, so much so that your domain can be deleted (released from the registry). Often times, domain names with invalid whois data can lead to a domain being put in Registrar Hold status for an example to get your attention, which takes down any associated website with it. Not getting domain renewal emails is another potential, the risks are real.
Anybody can file a Whois Inaccuracy Complaint with ICANN for many reasons, like an invalid email address, “fake” names, invalid phone number etc. associated with any domain name registered. To stay compliant, in general domain registrars are required to have customers keep valid whois data on domains registered with them.
In general, there is no way for me to come up with what is valid and what is not on “all” domain names. Even a computer program would struggle trying to figure out if a mailing address is correct or the “registrant name” provided is real or even if an email address is valid (working). One thing that I can do, is search for “known” email addresses that registrars use for invalid email address for the registrant.
Well, I did a search this morning using only two email addresses via two popular domain name registrars and the numbers are pretty staggering all considering. Two registrars, two emails only and the numbers total up quickly!
The two email addresses are:
firstname.lastname@example.org (GoDaddy) (821,591)
email@example.com (Network Solutions) (483,613)
When you start considering domain names under privacy protection and have invalid email addresses which would not match the above and those numbers I’m sure would rapidly grow. Start adding in invalid “names”, “phone numbers” and again, the number grows!
A couple examples of these domain names and we find many valuable assets with invalid whois data!
AAA.com owned by The American Automobile Association, Inc. and a domain name that has been registered since 1990! Technically speaking, the whois is invalid due to firstname.lastname@example.org listed as the registrant email address.
CreditCards.com, Restaurant.com, Savings.com, Credit.com, Makita.com, Data.com, Dog.com, Fish.com, Bahamas.com, Horse.com, Arizona.com, Broadway.com, GNC.com, Subaru.com, Polaris.com, Kubota.com, Buttons.com
I could keep going and going with very valuable domain names that are currently at some risk, simply due to an invalid whois record, displaying an invalid registrant email address. A complaint can be filed against any one of these domain names and if not corrected by the registrant, there is potential that something could be done with the domain name. Registrar Hold and even deletion is a potential.
There are many reasons behind invalid whois, often times problems can occur during a transfer in from a registrar. The registrant may input the data, technical error, registrar games etc.
All of the domain names I checked, have proper admin or technical contact information, but for whatever reason the “most important” registrant email address is invalid. Technically, the domains are not in compliance and sustain invalid whois data.
Be sure to check YOUR contact information within your domain registrar accounts. Often times it is not the easiest to do this and will take some work on your behalf depending upon the registrar you use, but it is up to you to provide valid contact information.