Is my contact information private? Does it appear in the WHOIS records?
As you may know, it's possible to use the "WHOIS" system to look up a contact postal address, telephone number and email address of any domain name owner.
We strongly dislike this system for privacy reasons. However, like all domain name registration companies, we are legally required to provide valid contact information for each domain name owner. That's where our WHOIS privacy service comes in.
On this page:
- Our free WHOIS privacy service
- Limitations of the privacy system
- Disabling WHOIS privacy protection
- WHOIS privacy protection for .us domain names
- WHOIS privacy protection for .uk domain names
- ICANN privacy obligations
Our free WHOIS privacy service
Most domain names registered with Tiger Technologies include free WHOIS privacy protection. This includes domain names ending in .com, .net, .org, .info, and .biz.
For these domain names, we'll act as a forwarding service to increase your privacy. The WHOIS information will show contact details that are valid ways to reach you (and which therefore meet the legal requirement that we publish your contact information), but which are less revealing. Specifically:
- We publish “Domain Administrator” instead of your personal name
- We publish our post office box address instead of your address.
- We publish our telephone number instead of your phone number.
- We publish a specially formatted email address that ends in "@whois.tigertech.net" instead of your real address. The special address forwards mail to your real email address.
This system gives you privacy protection against junk mail, sales calls, and spammers. We'll discard junk postal mail (including most non-registered mail) sent to our post office box, we'll tell most callers you prefer to be contacted only at addresses or phone numbers you post on your website (if any), and we'll apply our strongest spam filtering to the forwarding email address. We will forward any registered postal mail or phone messages related to legal issues, and our mail servers will forward non-spam email to you.
Although this system enhances your privacy, your rights are still protected:
- Any company/organization name you enter is still listed in the WHOIS records as the domain's legal owner, making your legal rights explicit.
- Legal notices will still reach you.
- Important email such as domain name transfer approval notices will still reach you.
- We still archive your real information with the ICANN escrow program, providing a third party with a true record of your domain name ownership in all cases.
There is no extra charge for WHOIS privacy, even though many other domain registration companies charge a substantial annual fee for similar services.
Limitations of the privacy system
The privacy system provides excellent protection against unwanted marketing and spam. It also provides good protection against casual strangers viewing your personal contact details. However, we should emphasize that it isn't foolproof. For example, we’re required to release your direct contact information to parties who have a legitimate need to contact you for legal reasons (such as law firms alleging copyright or trademark violations, or for UDRP proceedings). We may also disable the privacy feature if we receive reasonable allegations that you have violated our Terms of Service, or if you fail to provide your direct contact information to another party regarding legal issues.
In addition, WHOIS privacy for postal addresses and phone numbers is not available for domain names ending in .us due to legal restrictions from the United States Department of Commerce, which sets the requirements for all .us domain names. We still provide email forwarding for .us domain names, though.
Finally, WHOIS privacy was not enabled by default for some accounts opened before March 2004. If this applies to you, you can use your account management control panel to turn it on.
If you are extremely concerned about the privacy of your personal information, you may wish to use a post office box address or other non-revealing information, such as a work address and phone number, to make sure that more personal contact information is never revealed under any circumstances.
(We do require that you provide us with valid contact information so we can forward legal notices and other important messages to you. We also need to be able to contact you if there is a problem with your account. Please do not provide us with false contact information. We are legally required to suspend domain names if we find any false contact information.)
Disabling WHOIS privacy protection
Some customers may want their direct contact information displayed in the WHOIS records. For example, some people may be concerned that legal notices sent to their WHOIS contact address could be delayed in the forwarding process.
If you wish to have your direct contact information displayed in the WHOIS records, you can use your account management control panel to do so:
- Login to the account management control panel.
- If your account is a Web hosting account, click Billing and Contact Information (this step is not necessary for "domain name only" accounts).
- Click Update Contact Addresses.
- Scroll down to the section marked WHOIS Privacy Protection.
- Uncheck the checkboxes to disable privacy protection.
- Click Save Settings.
WHOIS privacy protection for .us domain names
WHOIS privacy for postal addresses and phone numbers is not available for domain names ending in .us due to legal restrictions from the United States Department of Commerce, which sets the requirements for all .us domain names. We still provide email forwarding for .us domain names as described above, though.
WHOIS privacy protection for .uk domain names
Nominet, the company that runs the WHOIS service for .uk domain names, has different rules. Although we're not allowed to mask the contact information we provide to them, they allow "non-trading individuals" (but not companies) to completely "opt-out" of having their address details published.
We'll tell Nominet to "opt out" your contact details if any WHOIS privacy options are enabled in our control panel (as they are by default) and your contact information does not include a company or organization name. If you want to your contact information to be publicly displayed, simply disable all WHOIS privacy in our control panel.
ICANN privacy obligations
ICANN, the central organization that regulates domain names, requires that we publish the following:
How do I report abuse of a domain name registration?
You can use our contact form.
How do I report infringement of trademarks or other rights of third parties?
You can use our contact form.
Under what circumstances will you relay communications from third parties to the customer?
E-mail sent to a WHOIS privacy address is automatically relayed. Registered postal mail is relayed; non-registered postal mail is discarded. Phone messages are relayed unless they are marketing or sales related.
Under what circumstances will you terminate service to the customer?
This is described in the “VIOLATIONS” section of Terms of Service.
Under what circumstances will you reveal and/or publish your customer’s identity and/or contact data?
We will do so if our customer fails to provide direct contact information to another party regarding legal issues.
What support services are offered to customers, and how can I access these services?
We provide full support for any issues regarding WHOIS privacy. You can use our contact form for assistance.