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If you use shady tactics, or try to post slander, etc, then I can see where you might not want anybody to know...
in this "day and age", I believe is all about accountability for what you post...
(just my opinion...)
I use it all the time to avoid junk mail, solicitations, etc.
Most registrars these days offer "private registration" for an extra fee (some offer it free). It basically puts a third party's information in place of yours and any relevant contacts are forwarded to you.
Is there a way of opting out of WHOIS for .com sites likes you can for .co.uk? Or maybe a way around it?
Currently there's no opting out of WHOIS for .com domain names. But as the others have said, you can use your registrar's WHOIS privacy or another set of contact data (if any).
Didn't .us opt to ban whois proxy agents about a year ago?
Has this caused any problems?
The .US Registry completely banned WHOIS proxy services for .US domain names. And a lot of registrants lost theirs.
(2) Voice-mail service. (Can be as cheap as free. You usually get this as a free service with VOIP dial-in numbers, and at least one VOIP service is now offering free dial-in.)
(3) Disposible Email Address. (A service that will let you create I think 200 addresses is only $10/year).
(4) Use a company name and role, rather than a personal name.
If you have more than a small handful of domains, this is cheaper than privacy services, and certainly looks more legitimate.