Have you ever sold a domain name that was just sitting in your registrar account? Maybe it was for that idea you had, but never found the time to develop. Perhaps it was for a business or website you once ran and then let go by the wayside. Then one day, out of the blue, that dormant domain turned into a winning lottery ticket. You got a random call or email from an interested party and the next thing you know that domain (which you’ve forgotten why you even renew it each year) is sold for $3,000 or $30,000 or more. A nice, unexpected financial windfall. It happens. Well, it happened. Now, if you want to play the domain name lottery, you’re going to have to more actively buy a ticket, thanks to GDPR.
Are you wondering what GDPR means for you? Sure, you are, everyone is. And everyone, on some level, is probably a bit confused. From businesses to individuals, from website owners to website visitors, the new European Union data protection rules will likely impact you. You surely have already felt its impact on your email inbox, as it has swelled with GDPR related notices, updates, and opt-in requests, probably from many companies and websites that at first glance you never even heard of (or didn’t know you had any prior contact with.)
The introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations, which go into effect today, have put tech companies’ development teams on task for months, even years, updating and changing systems and policies in order to be in compliance with today’s brave (well, more private) new world. While technically these new regulations apply to the data of residents of the European Union, when it comes to the Internet, for all practical purposes we live in one big online world. Not only is everyone potentially connected, but everywhere is connected. If you have an online presence of any sort, you likely have visitors from around the globe. When it comes to the Internet, we are the world. As a result, while the EU may be driving these new regulations, unless you are able to (and desire to) actively block any users or traffic from the EU, the changes being made to comply with GDPR will affect users from all regions.
And that’s where GDPR has taken away your “free” domain lottery ticket. Given the blanket data and privacy changes being made, public “WhoIs” information has essentially gone dark. That means that there is no longer a relatively easy way for that random interested buyer to find out who owns an unused domain they may be willing to pay good money for. That means that there is no longer a way for those random unused domains sitting in your account to turn into a lottery ticket on their own. If you want even the remote possibility for someone to find you and contact you about purchasing a domain that you own, you will now have to take active steps to make sure your information is available and that the name is listed “for sale” in a public domain name marketplace.
Active domain investors are well-aware of this and have taken steps to ensure their portfolios are ready for sale, and many have long had websites and sales landing pages that their registered domains point to. For us regular folk, who are sitting on a bunch of domains we don’t use but aren’t actively trying to sell, it’s time to get up off the couch and do something.
First, check with your registrar and see if they are offering the opportunity to “opt-in” to make certain contact information public. This may or may not be possible for you. Second, it’s time to consider listing your dormant domains “for sale” on domain name marketplaces. With the lack of publicly available whois information, folks interested in buying an already registered domain name will have no choice but to flock to marketplaces such as Sedo.com, Names.club, Afternic, and others. While selling one of your unused domain names for a financial gain is certainly not guaranteed, if your name is not listed somewhere so that you can be contacted, the chances of a random sale are virtually nil.
Like a lottery, you have to be in it to win it!