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10|10|2009 01:07 pm EDT

Privacy Protection for .CA Domain Names Kills Business for Domainers

by Zak Muscovitch in Categories: Editorial

Guest contributor Zak Muscovitch is a domain name lawyer, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been practising domain name law for ten years. Go to http://www.DNattorney.com and http://www.muscovitch.com.

Privacy Protection for domainers who have legitimate portfolios is a little like a burka on a bikini model.

Although keeping one’s domain name registration details private is an attractive concept and may even help wary registrants avoid imparting too much information to prospective domain name dispute claimants, in my humble opinion, the practice is a business killer in the .CA realm. As a domain name lawyer I can rarely find out who owns what to try and put together deals. I can’t trace the history of domains to perform due diligence. I can’t identify connections between web sites and domain owners. It stymies me. And if it stymies me from doing .CA deals, that means that it is hurting business for .CA owners , who dont need any more negative factors affecting the Canadian market than they already have. Sure I can sometimes use other methods, but the utility of domaintools.com whois archives is lessening as time goes on, because it carries no new information for most .ca’s since all recent records are privacy protected.

By way of background, CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority made privacy protection a “default setting” [ed. for individual registrants], and considered this move a leadership position in the Internet world. And I did too. I am a big fan of privacy and thought that CIRA’s privacy protection policy was extraordinarily progressive and consumer-friendly. But I was wrong. It kills business. Imagine a stock exchange where there are no listings….That is what has happened here. And the benefit of privacy is nil for a domainer who is trying to hide, because there a CDRP [ed:.CA Dispute Resolution Policy] reveals your identity anhow….and hiding can actually encourage a CDRP…So it gets you nowhere other than to avoid someone like me finding out what domain name you own so I can easily contact you and know who you are, to make a deal.

In the Canadian .CA realm, domains are extraordinarily underdeveloped so we need all the contact and attention that we can get – not privacy! We dont want a marketplace with hidden vendors. We want a marketplace with vendors showing their wares off in public and making themselves available to bargain with each other.

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16 Comments

Cole

October 10, 2009 @ 1:47 pm EDT

Great post Zak! I am a Canadian domainer, so I naturally own a handful of .CA domains. After receiving no direct inquiries for some of my best .CA’s, I decided to remove the privacy and expose myself to the world. While I haven’t closed any deals from doing this, I have received offers that grabbed my attention.

BullS

October 10, 2009 @ 2:31 pm EDT

What is there to hide??In all my websites, I put a picture of me and traffic gone up tremendously.

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Greg

October 10, 2009 @ 4:33 pm EDT

Though I don’t completely disagree with this, I’m not sure if it’s as big of a deal as you make it seem.

1) If a domain is for sale, a lot of the time the person who owns it will make their information public so that people can contact them (they SHOULD be doing this, anyways).

2) If someone wants to purchase a domain, if they visit the website they will find a method of contact. If it’s a parked page, there’s usually a ‘this domain is for sale’ link somewhere, and if it’s an active site there will be a ‘contact us’ section.

3) Domains that are for sale will usually be listed on domain sales sites (which will be noted on their parked page), which is how people find out that the domain is for sale in the first place.

If someone wants to sell a domain, and their WHOIS information is private, or they don’t have contact information on the actual site, then they aren’t very bright if you ask me.

Domain Developer

October 10, 2009 @ 5:27 pm EDT

@Greg

Don’t know how much .ca experience you have but Zak’s pretty much spot on in our experiences. “Everyone sells” for a price. Many times names are dead, no dns, nothing, and we want to buy them and develop them. BUT we can’t contact the owners.

Over time, people move onto domains outside the .ca space. Which is too bad for CIRA and the Canadian domain owner. That market may never mature.

– Richard

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enoss

October 11, 2009 @ 7:18 am EDT

zak, as I think you know we are the largest .ca registrar and are quite familiar with the workings of CIRA. while the timing is bad as the CIRA AGM just passed, you should really think about getting involved.

CIRA suffers deeply from a lack of involvement. we (bill, ross, etc.) would be happy to give you some background and get you going.

hey, maybe this will also be the way that we can actually meet george krikos! :-)

Zak Muscovitch

October 11, 2009 @ 7:37 am EDT

Thanks Elliot…you are of course right, and I would appreciate it. Many thanks. Hi George!

Idiot Domainer

October 11, 2009 @ 9:26 pm EDT

Highly doubt that will be what gets Kirikos out of his house. Only thing that would work would be to have a celebrity domainer death match with a million dollar purse. . . King vs GeorgeK

JoshP

October 12, 2009 @ 6:03 pm EDT

Id do it for FREE, twice!

Steve

October 12, 2009 @ 7:31 pm EDT

All owners of .ca domains can be contacted through the cira contact page. They forward your message to the admin contact for the domain. I like it, it keeps the spam down and any seriously interested parties usually can figure it out.
https://registrants.cira.ca/message/delivery/en

While finding out who the owner is can be a bit of work it is very possible.
I believe what will actually improve the .ca market is when anyone can register a .ca domain. Right now you need Canadian presence or have to be Canadian. This is a major roadblock to the extensions progress $$, imo.
Best Regards.

Frank Michlick

October 13, 2009 @ 12:00 am EDT

For those interested, the Domain Owner’s Association of Canada, which is currently being formed will be meeting on October 23rd in Toronto to formalize its organization. If you’re interested in attending, please sign up at http://doac.ca/ .

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