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What would you do when the domain buyer won’t update the WHOIS ?


If you sell domain names in bulk via certain market places, the new owner can be tardy in updating the domain’s WHOIS in the process.

Apparently, this can cause a lot of problems in the long run.

A domain investor shared his gripe on DNForum, describing this problematic situation:

“I’m suddenly getting flooded with email confirmation requests and expiration notices for domains I sold years ago via a certain large domain name brokerage. I don’t know what that brokerage tells buyers, but it appears that nearly every buyer has kept MY whois information in all 4 contacts for the domains. I have no way of knowing who the buyer is, so I’m stuck.

This causes a lot of problems — first of all, if the domain owner does something illegal or even spammy, I’m going to be blamed as the “registered owner”. Second, it increases my spam. I’ve been getting a flood of spam about Dubai real estate, and I had no idea why. It turns out a domain I sold is redirected to a Dubai real estate site. Third, the buyer is not going to receive the expiration notice.”

While some domain buyers aren’t familiar with updating the domain ownership records, some can be outright “lazy”; this type of tardiness can cost them the domain, long run.


The domain investor is pondering his options over this, not sure what to do:

“So… what should I do? Should I attempt to recover the domains, since they are “registered” to me? Should I file an “invalid whois” complaint, which could result in the domain being dropped? Should I just let expiring domains expire, and deal with the wrath of an angry buyer who had no warning”

In cases such as this, one can definitely report the domain to ICANN, as inaccurate WHOIS info is not permissible. That’s another reason why ICANN requires Registrars to enforce verification of emails – or phone numbers – since January 2014.

To report such issues with the WHOIS, you can use this Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form with ICANN.

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3 Responses to “What would you do when the domain buyer won’t update the WHOIS ?”
  1. Richard says:

    If the buyer is not tech savvy, I tell them in the sales process to update their whois info or else they risk losing the domain. now nameservers are a different story ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Richard says:

    Now that I think about it, they could have gone through a broker or just want to be in stealth mode. I didn’t read the OP, if it was a third party vendor I would try to get them to forward the message of updating the info (bring up privacy option if they’re unaware). Most investors probably wouldn’t do this if the domain was “shelf” quality, it just seems like good business ethics to me.

  3. JF Mayer says:

    Yes, such things happen… Now, each time I sell a domain name, I check the Whois and, if the details have not been changed on the following day, I send a reminder every day to the buyer for explaining what remains to be done. The last name that I sold – last week – is still waiting for the new owner’s nameservers, despite two reminders about that… At least the name of the new owner is correct, this is what matters.
    But this supposes to be able to contact the owner, obviously.

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