GoDaddy is cheap, yes. You can register a domain for one of the lowest costs in the industry. However, there is a drawback to the low price that most people new to the world of website building are not aware of. Registering with GoDaddy can make you a spam magnet.
When you register a domain, your information is submitted to WHOIS (a database of information on EVERY domain address out there on the internet). Some domain registrars will mask your information so your contact information is anonymized. For example, if you do a WHOIS search on Rolf.org, you find this information:
Registrant Name:The Rolf Institute Registrant Organization:The Rolf Institute Registrant Street1:5055 Chaparral Ct., Ste 103 Registrant Street2: Registrant Street3: Registrant City:Boulder Registrant State/Province:Colorado Registrant Postal Code:80301 Registrant Country:US Registrant Phone:+1.4495903 Registrant Phone Ext.: Registrant FAX: Registrant FAX Ext.: Registrant Email:email@example.com
As you can see, a lot of information is available on the owner of Rolf.org. It’s not a big problem since it’s a business address and a business email address (although I’m not sure Susan likes getting the spam she gets as a result of this listing).
But what if you’re a small business, like, say, a Rolfer who may not even HAVE a business address yet? What if the domain registrar puts up your contact information then? The only contact information you’ve given them is your home address, your personal phone number, and your email address, right? Guess what shows up then. For an unfortunate example, check out the information available on this WHOIS record for a Rolfer in Orange County (breathingandwalking.com).
Technical Contact: Corona, Nicole firstname.lastname@example.org 4619 1/2 West Point Loma Blvd San Diego, California 92107 United States (714) 261-1275
Both Rolf.org and Breathingandwalking.com have used GoDaddy as the domain registrar. They have chosen to use the GoDaddy standard domain registration which costs roughly $6/year. Unfortunately, ALL their contact information has now gone live on the internet for spambots to cull their information to use and abuse. To avoid this, you have to pay GoDaddy an extra $10/year for private registration PER DOMAIN. They will then register your information into the WHOIS database with anonymized information. So if you want to register with privacy, you have to pay about $16/year PER DOMAIN.
If you’re going to register your domain with another domain registrar, the prices can be a little better. Bluehost, for example, offers domains with privacy for $15/year. I personally prefer to use Dreamhost because they charge $10/year per domain and there are no issues whatsoever with privacy. By default, Dreamhost anonymizes your WHOIS listings, so you never have to go out of your way to hide your contact info from spammers. So with Dreamhost, privacy is the default, and you save a couple bucks a year on your domain registration fees.