I recently received an offer for an advertisement on my blog. This isn’t entirely extraordinary, I’ve received a few here and there since I started blogging. I suppose it’s a minor validation if someone wants to pay me to be seen. If I’ve garnered that kind of attention from readers and people that care about those kinds of numbers then I can at least grant them an audience, right? Of course, those past offers came to my inbox – you know that little envelope icon? It links to my email address set up for this blog. In case you feel compelled to send me something, there you go – firstname.lastname@example.org. But what happens when this cold call isn’t in the form of an email, but an actual phone call?
I’m sure some people find it odd to list a cell phone as a primary phone number but it’s mostly a reflection of the times that that be my situation. Sure, my phone can do all kinds of fun internet-y things, apps, text messages and games but it is first and foremost a telephone. I find that I sometimes forget the primary purpose of these devices, but yes…it is a Phone first. And as a phone, it’s the number I use for forms that require such when ordering something, like a custom domain name.
I registered tobesugarfree.com almost 3 years ago and didn’t think anything of the contact information form asking for a phone number, until this latest call. A gentleman called my personal cell phone wondering if I would be interested in hosting an advertisement on my blog. I have nothing against advertising on a blog. If you’ve gotten to the point that a few images and hyperlinks can offset whatever cost you have for doing your thing online, more power to you. Right now, it isn’t for me. My biggest concern was how this person – this stranger – had my cell phone number.
It turns out the site Domain Tools (http://domaintools.com) pulls more than just domain server information. If you have a custom domain set up for your blog, podcast or whatever, do yourself a favor and look up your site on Domain Tools and make sure whatever information you can find there is information you’re comfortable being publicly accessible. Email is one thing, but my phone number is a different vial of insulin.
I appreciate that the blog advertisement offerer was upfront about how they found my contact information. Even if they didn’t get the opportunity to advertise here. I’m sure there will be countless opportunities in their future.
But yea, check out what’s in the public record and make sure it’s not too public.