What is WHOIS data used for?
The Email Hippo WHOIS data service provides users with a single source of machine readable data, all about domain registration details. It’s drawn together carefully from over two thousand domain registrar databases that are structured in different ways.
But why is WHOIS data valuable? What do people do with Whois data?
Every web domain that’s registered leaves a digital footprint in the form of a WHOIS registration. It’s basically a name and address form, listing who owns the domain, and who to contact when there are instances like technical issues, or admin queries.
WHOIS data literally answers the question - who is responsible for that domain?
Without the data gathered at the time of registering a domain, the internet would be more anonymous. There would be no clear, accessible pathway to find the real people who own domains. Whois is a valuable resource and a useful source of information - especially for businesses dealing in data, cyber security organisations and legal agencies.
Whois data is public and free. Depending on the preferences set at registration, it contains all the information needed to identify the entity that’s responsible for registering a domain. In the case of a small company, that might be the name and address details of an individual. In a large company that could be individual details for technical, administrative and owner contacts. Registrants can adjust their WHOIS settings to shield some data, but key elements of domain owner, date of registration and domain registrar are visible.
Why is WHOIS data valuable?
There are two main reasons why it’s valuable.
Data enhancement and Whois data - businesses who maintain and sell data use Whois data to add more detail about each business entity, and to segment data they provide so that it’s more valuable.
Simple example: French businesses selling services to new start-ups can buy lists of new domain registrations that are registered to addresses in France and use the data to provide a framework for a sales and marketing plan.
Cyber security and Whois data - Whois data helps make online bad actors visible. It might be used to prevent cyber crime happening in the first place, or to help make connections and track people down when offences have been committed.
Simple example: Checkout signup forms can prevent fulfillment of orders from email accounts with domains that have only been live for a short period of time.
Domain age WHOIS data
At the top of this article I mentioned that the WHOIS API sources over two thousand databases, and makes sense of the different structures to return readable data. One of the most valuable fields on a Whois registration is domain registration date. It can’t be left blank or shielded and it tells the real story of the age of the domain. Email Hippo WHOIS calculates the domain age across all formats and time zone adjustments and shows it as an international standard format, so it can be read and understood by machines and humans.
This augmented data relating to domain age is especially valuable, showing the relative age of domains and also the time they have left to expire. This can be helpful for companies wanting to discover golden domains or to use domain age data to add value to business datasets.
Whois data is valuable because it helps businesses and individuals make real connections to the real people behind every web domain.
For more reading about WHOIS data go to ICANN
More about the Email Hippo WHOIS API