Published September 19, 2010
A recent ICANN sponsored study has found at least 18% of domain name registrations under the most popular 5 top level domain names are likely to have been registered using a privacy or proxy service.
ICANN-accredited registrars and some other registries must make available the identity and contact information of registrants through domain name Whois services.
This availability of information has seen some privacy conscious domain name registrants use third party services to keep those details away from public view.
Two types of services are most commonly used - privacy services and proxy services.
A privacy service simply provides alternate contact information belonging to the service provider. A proxy service acts as the registrant of a domain name, effectively sub-leasing the name to the "real" registrant.
ICANN's exploratory study of 2,400 .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz domain names taken from a March 2009 Whois Accuracy Study found 429 to be using a privacy or proxy service.
Extrapolating this data and including margins for error, ICANN says it is likely that at the time of extraction the total number of the 101 million top 5 gTLD domains represented by privacy or proxy services was between 17.7 and 18.4 million.
Given the growth in registration numbers to over 115 million domain names as of January 2010, the actual number of privacy/proxy registrations among the top five gTLDs is likely to be far higher.
Read more of the ICANN domain name privacy study here (PDF).
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