Many of the key issues in discussion at the ICANN meeting in Cartagena December 5-10 have been well reported on, such as new gTLD program or .XXX sTLD approval, since the conclusion of conference last week. If you have never attended an ICANN conference, or you only follow current news updates of the major undertakings, then you may not be aware of the prolific amount of sessions that take place during the week-long ICANN conference. Topics vary wildly from technical policy and protocols to budget and operational discussions.
The sessions surrounding Whois policy and evolution was a topic of interest that I follow. One session in particular went into great detail about ‘What is Whois” and the definition of this. The Whois term is used in casual conversation with the assumption by many that it is referring to domain name registration data. However, if you listen to the first 20 minutes of the transcript from the session, the lesson learned was that the definition of the term Whois truly depends on the audience.
As riveting as the 20-minute discussion was about determining how and when to use the term Whois, the crux of the matter discussed later in the session is that the 25+year old protocol dating back to ARPANET era is in desperate need of revision. The Whois protocol has had small updates over the years. And, as the Internet has advanced, the Whois service has not. This is very apparent in Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). The ability to support local languages or scripts on input and output in domain name information registration data must evolve with Internet. This requires the advancement of Whois.
At DomainTools, being the largest aggregator of domain name registration data, we pride ourselves in striving to have the most accurate, up-to-date information. We are very supportive to the advancement of WHOIS, and improving local language support in both WHOIS data and Domain Names (IDNs).