The PCNames domain search engine does exactly what might be expected of it - it searches for domain names and returns results with details on their availability. It does this virtually instantaneously as well - when you being typing the engine offers details on .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz and .us. Ideally I would prefer to see a wider variety and from a British/European perspective the addition of .uk and .eu would be enormously helpful, but even without that, it's very useful.
Once a search has been run it is then possible to get WHOIS information to research the site, or if a site is available for registration the search engine provides a list of companies that can be used to register it. This is how the site makes money - not by direct reselling but from donations and commission from affiliates.
The benefits of the search engine are clear for those people who wish to register domain names. As a searcher the resource is also useful to quickly check not only to see if a domain is available or not, but to check on the ownership of the site - useful for authority checking, and as a quick way to locate a domain if you can't remember if a recently visited site was a .com or a .org for example.
The most impressive thing about this search engine is its speed; it really is lightening fast and will save you time immediately. There are also a variety of other tools available on the site as well, which are equally useful for web authors and searchers alike.
The Domain Suggestion function allows users to type in words, phrases or domains to get suggestions. I was impressed with some of the ideas that it came up with - based on the input of 'search engine watch' I got a number of interesting possible domain names to register, such as 'googlewatch.us' for example. In some instances I could also get more indepth suggestions, and pagerankwatch.net could be broken down to include .org, .info, .biz and .us.
The Word Search function allowed me to quickly see which domains were available, deleted or expired. I was astonished at the number of available domains that mentioned 'google' that hadn't been registered. Googlesite.org anyone?
The Dictionary tool showed available domains using names that could be found within a standard dictionary and Search and Replace allows searchers to replace one word with another to check availability of domain names.
All in all this is an excellent collection of niche resources focusing on domain names. While it is clearly aimed at individuals that wish to register domain names there are lots of ways in which an enterprising searcher could use the resources, both when training others and searching for themselves. This is certainly a site that I'll be adding to my own collection of well used resources.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!