Network Solutions Offers Enhanced Whois Lookup

Want detailed information about a particular Web site? Network Solutions has significantly enhanced its classic Whois service, providing richer information and more useful tools than most other domain lookup services.

Looking up domain ownership information is useful for search marketers investigating partners or competitors. It’s also useful for searchers wanting to check the validity of a Web site’s information by seeing who’s pulling the levers behind the curtain.

Most whois services provide the name, address, registration dates, and domain server information for a site. These days, privacy and spam concerns have made getting this information somewhat more difficult than in the past. If a particular whois service doesn’t have domain records you want in its database, you may need to click additional links or enter a scrambled code designed to thwart bots to get the information.

Network Solutions has done away with these hurdles in its whois lookup service, providing domain lookup information across multiple whois databases. Users can look up Web sites in all domains and extensions, regardless of where they’re registered.

Users can search by domain name, IP address, or network information center (NIC) handle. If the domain exists, results show all the ownership information listed above and a bunch of additional information not readily available in one place elsewhere on the Web.

For starters, users get a thumbnail image of the home page, provided by Thumbshots.org. If available, they’ll also see the title, meta description, and keywords data associated with the home page.

Another really helpful feature shows the number of listings for the site in the Open Directory Project. Click on the link, and all the listings pop up, including the category, title, description, and URL for each.

There’s a similar feature for the Yahoo Directory, though it doesn’t appear to be working yet.

You also get the following information: IP address and location, server type, and whether the server is secure. There’s a “traffic ranking” that looks to be on a 1-10 scale, with a ranking of 1 being the most heavily trafficked.

Looking for a domain name? Network Solutions is selling some potentially useful services for that, as well. Last month, the company launched its Certified Offer Service, which acts as an intermediary between the user and the domain name’s current owner. The service makes an offer on the user’s behalf, keeping the user anonymous. If the offer is accepted, Network Solutions handles all the billing and domain transfer details. Neat.

A similar service allows the user to “backorder” a domain, in the event the current owner allows the registration to lapse. This service is also automated.

Network Solutions’ newly enhanced whois service deserves kudos for transforming a relatively dull but useful service into a tool that’s of value to search marketers and searchers. Check it out using your own Web site URL.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

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