Many of my clients ask me if they should add the privacy option to their domain name. For those of you who don't know, the privacy option allows another company to really take ownership of your domain so that your name and address do not show up when someone does a lookup on your domain name.
You can do your own lookup here. Type in a domain name such as cindycullen.com and you will see the information that is displayed about the owner of the domain. Getting privacy added to your domain will show a generic company name instead of your own.
I rarely ever suggest that you get the privacy option for a couple of reasons:
- You don't really own the domain - Chances that the fake company will keep control of your domain are slim, but bottom line, they have their name on it, not you. I don't know how that would play out in court, but I like to keep my domain names under my control. I feel safer with my name on it.
- SSL Certificates require them - If you get an SSL certificate for taking credit cards or social security numbers on your site you MUST have the domain registered in your company name. You must show the SSL certification issuer that you actually own the domain name. That's what SSL certificates are for. They check to make sure that the domain you are actually going to pull up on your computer is legitimately who they say they are. They can't do that if you are hiding behind a fake company.
- Your customers will trust you more - If you are in business, then you should have nothing to hide. People want to know that they are paying an actual person or business. They will have more trust in your site if you appear to have nothing to hide. Hiding behind a fake company name doesn't make most people feel very comfortable, so they may not buy from you. People on buy from companies and people whom they trust.
If you are worried about putting your address out there, then use a PO Box. That's exactly what I did. It allows me to have a business address which is different from my home and still use my real address. It's worth the extra effort to run to the Post Office to get my mail than to appear shady or sneaky with a fake company name I'm hiding behind.
So, then you may ask why do I offer the privacy option with my domain names? The answer is because some of my clients still prefer to remain hidden. And that's ok. If they just have a personal site and don't depend on an income from that site, it's a perfectly legitimate option. Some of my clients also choose not go agree with my opinions about the privacy option. That's ok too. It's just my opinion and even though, it's a very rare occasion, I have been known to be wrong about once a year or so 😉