- Selling of WHOIS history illegal?

I have a question about

I stumbled upon the site today, and I’m shocked. I did a search on my domain and they have tons of records on me since 2005. This really annoys me, because I pay for whois protection for what then? if someone can just go possibly buy it here? This seems to be the only site I find where you can purchase these records as well.

Is this even legal?

The data in this whois database is provided to you for information
purposes only, that is, to assist you in obtaining information about or
related to a domain name registration record. We make this information
available “as is,” and do not guarantee its accuracy. By submitting a
whois query, you agree that you will use this data only for lawful
purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data to: (1)
enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that stress or load
this whois database system providing you this information; or (2) allow,
enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass unsolicited,
commercial advertising or solicitations via direct mail, electronic
mail, or by telephone. The compilation, repackaging, dissemination or
other use of this data is expressly prohibited without prior written
consent from us.

I can’t see where ICANN has given them permission on the site to post it, let alone resell the records. At the very least it seems what they’re doing is very much so against ICANN’s rules (and my domains are all with ICANN accredited registrars).

Can anything be done about this, or have they got a loophole somewhere?

ICANN (the regulatory agency) has no say in this.
The quote is from the Verisign website. Verisign manages the registry for .com and .net domains.

Verisign operates a thin registry unlike other extensions (.info, .ca…) which use a thick registry. The quote refers to the thin registry info held by Versign.

If you do a whois at you will see no info about the domain owner. This more detailed info is held by each registrar (Godaddy, Enom…) who do not have the same restrictive notice as Verisign. This thin registry was a real problem when RegisterFly lost its ICANN accreditation as no-one else had access to the owner lists -which had to be subpoenaed from Registerfly.

Other registries (info, .ca…) use a thick registry where all info is held by the registry and not each individual registrar.

My understanding is that DomainTools pulls its info from each registrar’s database. DomainTools (Name Intellegence) have built up a huge internal database as their main business is providing WHOIS, DNS and domain management services to large industry players including NetSol, Yahoo and Godady (see more customers in link):

I hope this explanation helps but I suspect it doesn’t make you any happier. :cool:

Ah, that makes things more clear. Thanks for the explanation. (Though you’re right, doesn’t make me any happier).

I noticed you said that the information is held at eNom where my domain is at and they don’t have the same restrictive notice; but it seems they have a shorter variation of it if you whois directly from their site:

Access to eNom’s Whois information is for informational purposes only. eNom makes this information available “as is,” and does not guarantee its accuracy. The compilation, repackaging, dissemination or other use of eNom’s Whois information in its entirety, or a substantial portion thereof, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of eNom. By accessing and using our Whois information, you agree to these terms.

So this would mean that eNom would have to be the ones to take this up with domaintools? or are they nearly powerless as well?

Edit: But I guess if they’re a client they probably have permission… oh well… this really makes buying whois protection nearly pointless unless you had it from the get go. what a shame.

Why do you want to hide your whois? Sometimes hiding is very suspicious thing. And anyway goverment will be able to get whois info be patient

It doesn’t matter… I don’t care about the government or law enforcement having my information if the need arises. eNom has everything about me on file. I simply do not want it public. I own a forum and sometimes we need to ban users - these users aren’t exactly right in the head and obsess about finding my information to “punish” me for banning them. I’d rather not let these stupid kids get hold of it. They’ve gone as far as trying to fraud eNom into handing it over claiming they were from law enforcement. :nono: Whois protection has worked out perfect for a long time, but if this site is selling all the past history, it’ll be over. Sure I could come after crazy idiots but I have better things to spend my time on, and I’d rather avoid the problem altogether. Not to mention having the information public is just a breeding ground for fraud and spam issues.

Anyway, thanks all for the advice. I’ve gone ahead and just emailed eNom for their take on this, because I’m curious.

I’m going to bring this thread back from the dead to see if anyone has any new information on how DomainTools manages to get away with this.

Having a lot of forums visited I have never seen that and I’m not quite sure at all if something has changed

As a saying in the U.S. goes, it’s because…they can.

OTOH, DomainTools isn’t exactly automated. Someone has to use their WHOIS
to make a query, they search using the authoritative registrar’s WHOIS result,
then they make their own copy.

Out of my seven domain names, about three have no WHOIS history results in
DomainTools at all. I’d imagine there will be if ever they’re searched in there.

Finally and as mentioned before, they are essentially partners with some larger
registrars. If anyone thinks DomainTools is arguably violating the WHOIS policy
of the registrar by what they’re doing, unfortunately only the registrar gets to
really decide that.

There goes another example of “If you have enough money you can buy anything”

The web is out of control right now and there’s no way you can stop that. You can even find classified information that should only be available to the authorities. Everyone who owns a blog, forum or any kind of website is “searchable”.

My suggestion would be to let them know just enough information about you and some fake email address which you occasionally check and if they see that you made your personal information public they won’t search to know more about you and this way at least part of yuor personal information won’t be revealed.

Wow, and they even charge you to block history on a domain.

Domain Tools offers Domain History Blocking for the purpose of domain sales or other short term purposes. The rate is $10.00 per domain name per day

$10.00 a DAY to keep my information… well, mine? I should have the right to tell them not to give that to anyone, right? Or at least get money since they’re making a profit off my information?

looks like very nice service they are providing.

I certainly agree that it’s not right that domaintools is making money off our information. I think that their permission from ICANN to do this is questionable and even suspicious. Could domain tools be working with ICANN in any way?

Just got around to reading the email and saw this. Figured I’d post whatever I can remember from when I researched this for a while, but it’s not going to help you.

In the time that I’ve posted this, nothing has changed. I remember sending them a few emails about asking if they would just take my information off and they refused to, saying it wasn’t possible to do so. Months later, they start changing, yes $10 per DAY to hide it. So much for it being “impossible.”

I agree with theowl. There’s tons of information on the internet so it’s harder to stay private, but domaintools doesn’t need to make it any easier and certainly it’s immoral to profit from it. It’s just wrong. There’s plenty of reasons why someone would just want their information to stay private and the “if you’re doing nothing wrong, you don’t need to hide” mantra is bogus. People who are doing illegal things will be caught anyway. For domaintools to champion that their database helps everyone by find phishing and fraud site owners… while they’d gleefully take $10 a DAY to guard it, is total bull as well. (The fraudsters could probably afford it!)

I still don’t believe what they do is legitimate. They’re still the only ones doing it, and I’ve tried to talk with my registrar which was enom about what they think of it… and I never got a response back. Perhaps they really are partners and don’t care - but you’d think there’s a conflict on interest there considering how these sites try to sell you whois protection all the time.

Otherwise, they’re getting away with it because they can. There was only one documented post online that I read somewhere a while back regarding how domaintools has no co uk domain whois history. Supposedly the uk registry got angry with them and chose to enforce their message:

This WHOIS information is provided for free by Nominet UK the central registry
for . uk domain names. This information and the uk WHOIS are:

Copyright Nominet UK 1996 - 2010.

You may not access the .uk WHOIS or use any data from it except as permitted
by the terms of use available in full at nominet whois, which
includes restrictions on: b use of the data for advertising, or its
repackaging, recompilation, redistribution or reuse[/b] (B) obscuring, removing
or hiding any or all of this notice and (C) exceeding query rate or volume
limits. The data is provided on an ‘as-is’ basis and may lag behind the
register. Access may be withdrawn or restricted at any time.

Don’t know if it’s true or not, but that’s supposed to be why you can’t look up history for any . co . uk domain.

Only time will tell if this business that domain tools has is really legitimate, and if it’s not… nothing will ever happen to it until someone with some power and money to fight them over it makes a big stink. That’s just how it goes. I still wouldn’t mind having my information off of there but I’ve given up since I have no other ideas and can’t afford to obsess about it.

I agree with dan8081, it seems that domaintools are catering for spammers and hackers.
I found a site/service that records and supplies trustworthiness and privacy ratings and domaintools is on there.
mywot dot com slash en slash scorecard slash whois dot domaintools dot com

Maybe they should start getting more negative ratings and comments, I think they deserve it.

I agree with dan8081, it seems that domaintools are catering for spammers and hackers.

I use it to moderate web hosting forums. It sure helps finding out if someone’s claims are true or bogus. So, there are legitimate uses for this. :slight_smile:

Maybe they should start getting more negative ratings and comments, I think they deserve it.

So far they still the best whois service and they the most used

I came across this post while searching for a way to delete my domains historical data.

I hate, hate, HATE this Domain Tools company. I hope they go bankrupt but I’m sure they will just resell the data to the next company. I won’t go into details, but someone actually used the data there to visit my home!

I hate all of these similar companies, Intelius, etc. I think our country should implement strict privacy measures, it’s way too easy now for any nutjob to locate you. Only the police and government should have access when needed, that’s it.

As far as domains go, I’m NEVER going to use a home address again. For public records, I’m sure there is a way to keep you hidden as well without doing it illegally.

I mean, really, what’s the point of such services? There is no LEGITIMATE reason for it unless you’re an investigator, hence the police/government only.