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I own a couple of domains where I currently have "WHOIS privacy", so my contact info is not revealed in the WHOIS database. I've learned that this arrangement has a significant pitfall, that is, it's the privacy company that really owns the domain, and they license it to me. That seems bad.

I'm not a business, so the only address I can currently list is my home address, which I'm uncomfortable doing.

Therefore, I was thinking about renting a small P.O. box and using that as the address of record. Are there any significant drawbacks of this approach?

One possibility is that people might actually send me snail mail that I need to see, meaning that I might need to actually check the P.O. box instead of ignoring it. Does this happen? (I haven't had any forwarded to me in ~10 years of owning a domain, but that could mean I just haven't caught the attention of folks who would do it.)

Are there other risks or drawbacks?

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What do you mean the WHOIS privacy company licenses the domain to you? Where did you get this information from? – Belmin Fernandez Mar 10 '12 at 19:51
He is actually correct. Leagaly the company/person who is on the whois record is the "owner" of the domain. Of corse there has been no instances where this company has taken ownership of the domain, but it is possible. With all the US government seizures coming around you can never be too careful. – Reid Mar 10 '12 at 20:04
@Beaming, see e.g.… – Reid Mar 10 '12 at 20:06
Um, what are the odds that you both have the same name? But I digress: I am skeptical of just how much of a legal standing does a WHOIS record actually have. Nevertheless, nice to know. Thanks gentlemen (or gentleman). – Belmin Fernandez Mar 10 '12 at 20:15
@BeamingMel-Bin I was thinking the exact same thing (in terms of the names) – Reid Mar 10 '12 at 21:26

Here's some advice:

Stop worrying about it.

I'm not sure why, but many people have an unjustified paranoia about things internet related. Your personal information is available to almost anyone via dozens of ways.

Your bank, the gas station, the restaurant you had lunch at, the post office, etc. all have information about you, available to a wide swath of people that you have no idea even have access to the information, that puts you at far greater risk then anything in your WHOIS information.

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I realize all those things are true, but currently my physical home address is not available with a trivial google. Adding it to the WHOIS record will change that. I think it's perfectly fair to want to keep my physical home address out of the hands of everyone who can google. – Reid Mar 11 '12 at 16:38

I have all of the mail from my domains come to my work address. If people need to get ahold of you they generally wont use the whois record to find you. That being said I get about 5 pieces of junk mail a month from the "domain registry of america". I can not see any drawbacks of putting your P.O. as the address on your whois record just so long as you put your real name on the record.

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