When you initiate a fresh domain name registration at DH, the first screen checks availability of the name and the next screen takes the whois details.
In this second screen the form is pre-filled with your actual name, address and phone nr, and your DH account primary email address … which might be considered an inadvisable set of presets … but the situation saved because at the top of the form is a pre-selected radio button saying “Use DreamHost’s free WHOIS privacy service”.
A customer who registers many domain names soon becomes accustomed to accepting the default settings on this form.
When the TLD is one for which DH cannot offer whois privacy, the screen looks similar to the familiar one, except that the pre-selected radio button saying “Use DreamHost’s free WHOIS privacy service” is missing.
There is no advisory, nor any pop-up, about the risks of accepting the default settings.
If a customer carelessly accepts the default settings, as they are accustomed to doing at this stage, then their name, address and phone nr … and perhaps worst of all, their DH account primary email address … become published in the whois.
Is this a case of careless customers getting what they deserve? Or is it a case of DH procedures being badly designed? Or both?
My opinion: it’s the second. Experienced customers who pay reasonable attention to procedure can very easily be misled into making a mistake at this point.