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I remember the claim that if you have registered example.com you should never use ...@example.com for owner, admin-c, tech-c or zone-c. The reason given was that if the registrar goes bankrupt the domain example.com also stops working. You could loose the domain if the NIC can't get in touch with you.

Now I can't find a source and doubt the validity of that claim. As long as nameserver and mail server stay up, the email address should be fine. I also checked what other companies do and I found that almost everyone uses its own primary domain.

google.com          dns-admin@google.com
twitter.com         domains@twitter.com
ycombinator.com     kirsty@ycombinator.com, rtm@ycombinator.com
wikipedia.com       dns-admin@wikimedia.org
spiegel.de          barbara_haeberlin@spiegel.de
bmw.com             *emphasized text*domadm@bmw.de, domains@bmw.de  
heise.de            hostmaster@heise.de
baidu.com           domainmaster@baidu.com
microsoft.com       domains@microsoft.com, msnhst@microsoft.com
amazon.com          hostmaster@amazon.com
linkedin.com        hostmaster@linkedin.com
ebay.com            hostmaster@ebay.com

Is there any foundation to the claim that you should never use your own domain name for WHOIS records?


P.S. Please don't argue that it's unlikely that registrars go bankrupt. I've been through that. It was a de Domain and it fell back to DENIC. They sent a letter at the postal address of the WHOIS owner record (which was a German address and thankfully correct). I don't remember if they also sent an email.

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"We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion" My questions starts with "Is there any foundation" and I think this is asking for facts, references, or specific expertise. I'm not a native speaker, so if I am wrong, please don't vote for close but please help me the edit the question to make it better. –  Ludwig Weinzierl Nov 2 '12 at 19:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

FWIW, I've had my own domain name since before you had to pay for them, and I don't think there's any foundation for that claim. If you're worried about the registrar going bankrupt, sure, perhaps it's a valid thing to do... but then you have to worry about the provider of your alternate contact email going bankrupt as well.

For maximum redundancy you'd want, yourself, to have colo'd machines in as many jurisdictions as possible, each with multiple domains, each from a different registrar, with all the machines as backup MXs for each other. But that seems a bit overly paranoid.

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"have colo'd machines in as many jurisdictions as possible" made me smile and you certainly have a point. Just as a remark: I don't think the alternative email provider going bankrupt is the same, because as long as my registrar is available I can easly change the WHOIS entries to another email address. The registrar going bankrupt however can end in a situation with no contact person and you have to wait until the NIC gets in touch with you. –  Ludwig Weinzierl Nov 2 '12 at 20:05

There are procedures in place (following registrar bankruptcies) to allow a "De-accredited Registrar" to transition their registrations to another registrar. I've read that this process is supposed to take 3-4 weeks. Part of the solution is every registrar is required to backup all registration data, public and "privacy guard" data, to a 3rd party escrow service, so even if the registrar completely disappears the domain owners can still be identified.

I cannot think of any situation where having non-@example.com contact information would save you from the headache. The bankrupt registrar will not revoke the registrations recorded in the controlling registry--but no one will be able to renew them either. So it's possible your domain could expire in that 3-4 week transition period. The registrar would not be able to contact you by @example.com email, but should be able to contact you by your other WHOIS information. Or YOU contact them because you've just watched your domain expire and want to pay to get it back online ASAP. Once they have your renewal payment, your @example.com point of contact is now working again.

I think the more important takeaway is inaccurate WHOIS data (past addresses, disconnected phone numbers, email you cannot check, and possibly 3rd-party WHOIS privacy guards) can get you locked out of your domain in the registrar bankruptcy scenario. The new registrar is going to go by the WHOIS information to create your new account with them. If you cannot prove the domain belongs to you, then the original bankruptcy has in effect caused you to lose your domain.

A good mitigation strategy for the "3-4 week expiration window" scenario would be simply renewing your domain to give it a +1 year expiration padding.

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