Want detailed information about a particular web site? Network Solutions has significantly enhanced their 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 a useful tool for searchers wanting to check the validity of information on a web site 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 in its database, you might need to click additional links, or enter a scrambled code designed to thwart bots to get the information you're looking for.
Network Solutions has done away with these hurdles in its Whois lookup service, providing domain lookup information across multiple WHOIS databases. You can look up web sites in all domains and extensions regardless of where they are registered.
You can search by domain name, IP address, or NIC handle. If the domain exists, results show all of the ownership information listed above, but with a bunch of additional information that's not readily available in one place elsewhere on the web.
For starters, you get a thumbnail image of the home page, provided by Thumbshots. org. If available, you'll also see the title, meta description and keywords data associated with the home page.
Another really nice feature shows you the number of listings for the site in the Open Directory project. Click on the link and you'll see all of the listings, 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, as well as server type, and whether the server is secure. There's also a "traffic ranking" that looks to be on a 1-10 scale, with a ranking of 1 being the most heavily trafficked.
Network solutions is also selling some potentially useful services if you're on the lookout for a domain name. Last month, the company launched its Certified Offer Service, which acts as an intermediary between you and someone who currently owns a domain name. The service makes an offer on your behalf, while you stay anonymous. If the offer is accepted, Network Solutions handles all of the billing and domain transfer details. Neat.
A similar service allows you to "backorder" a domain, in the event that the current owner lets the registration lapse. This service is also automated.
The newly enhanced Whois service from Network Solutions deserves kudos for transforming a relatively dull but useful service into a tool that's of value to search marketers as well searchers. Check it out using your own web site URL.
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