Recently I had the “opportunity” when registering a domain to also purchase a .us domain for the same name in a package deal. There was a pdf download on Gandi of different Terms and Conditions for .us domains, but no summary of differences was readable on the site itself while shopping. Perhaps there would have been if I had been using Safari or some browser that displays pdf instead of downloading it.

And there is substantial difference with a dot us domain, which is that a .us domain holder cannot use any protection of their contact information. Shortly after taking the bait, the calls began to come in, call center noise behind voices assuring me that they can construct a new website, do publicity, etc. for my newly purchased domain. I began answering calls from unknown numbers by saying “I don’t want a website” and hanging up while they were protesting about how they could inject my SEO with steroids.

I took two lessons from this mistake, the first being that the TLD (Top Level Domain) owners are marketing people and not techs, so they have configured the requirements to be able to expose any holder’s contact information. Any doubt of this intent is dispelled by going to Neustar’s page at for the TLD and seeing this statement:

“Neustar, a leading provider of registry services, manages .us on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce.”

The second is that domain registrars are not our friends. The contact privacy feature is generally sold as an extra feature or given as a well-advertised perk, but the lack of it is not mentioned when selecting .us domains at Gandi’s site. Gandi will do nothing to get that domain out of my quiver short of going through full ID faxing and form-filling. So getting rid of a dot us domain is tedious and requires documentation, yet I bought in with a few clicks after they pushed the package deal to the top of the list and lowered the entry bar with no overt mention of the rattlesnake lounging on top of it.

Also, it’s obvious from the Neustar site that .us is not terribly popular, given the dull list of buy-in on the menu at Neustar, the United States business with the German spelling of New in their name…


Thus the promotions. If there’s a wider lesson here, it’s “Beware of the Promotions”.

I recommend moving registrars every so often anyway: Hover lost me when they began putting Facebook and Google tracker scripts on the payments page. Like I wanted my credit card info and billing address run through their data mills. Gandi is now on the questionable list as well, no hurry, when I get time. All they had to do was warn me, but it was a sales experience and not collaborative.

All that said, you may have different emotional needs, so if you want to meet new people at random and inconvenient times and have repetitive conversations about how you don’t want to purchase services, a .us domain is a great way to get started.

Carl Krall