Announcing the Newly Updated Reverse Whois Tool

| November 29, 2012

One of the DomainTools products that our members depend on most is our Reverse Whois Lookup, which identifies domains owned by a specific company or individual.  Longtime members will recall the original ‘Registrant Search’ launch in October of 2007, over five years ago.  Today DomainTools announces a significant update to Reverse Whois, focused on the tool’s UI and UX.

There are two main elements to making a powerful research tool.  1.  You have to have access to good data.
2.  You have to overlay that data with an effective and user-friendly presentation layer.   In the direction of #1, over the last five years DomainTools has heavily invested in our market-leading whois data set.  In fact, over the last 12 months we have probably made greater progress in data collection and processing than ever before.  Much of this happens behind the scenes to our users, however.

Over the last twelve months we have surveyed our Reverse Whois user base to uncover the product’s greatest weaknesses, to understand when our clients use a competitive product and why, and to sit with them as they walk our Product Managers through their use cases for both the old Reverse Whois tool and ongoing iterations of the new one.  Our users wanted the ability to lower report prices, to more surgically target domain and domain-owner criteria in the result set, to filter out unnecessary domains, and to increase their confidence that the results would be valuable for them or for their clients.  But it still had to be fast and the price had to be flat or down.  We have attempted to accomplish the most important of these criteria with this new release, and welcome your feedback.

UX is especially difficult when you are dealing with complex data parameters and blind result sets, such as the case with Reverse Whois.  Readers who also follow some of the more popular tech blogs will have noticed the increasing focus on design within the web/app communities.  It will likely surprise no one to learn that we do not have a professional UX designer on staff (if you know of any in Seattle please email me), so we have done our level best to steal design ideas from more sophisticated sites.  The presentation of the ‘AND’ , ‘OR’ and ‘NOT’ parameters within search is notoriously difficult and I am guessing some of you will recognize which site influenced how you see that presented in our new Reverse Whois tool.

On the topic of blind result sets, I would be remiss not to mention the very limited trial of our ‘interactive research mode’ for Reverse Whois.  This is not discussed on the site, nor available through the site itself.  In this mode users can actually view the domain result sets, and continue to iterate on their research.  It allows for a type of step function for domain ownership and domain connection investigations.  Due to the data access this mode allows, and the increased load on our systems, the trial interactive research view is being tested by a select few enterprise clients who have immediate needs for this level of access and can afford to pay the commensurate premium we need to charge to support it.  Over time we hope to productize this mode and offer it more broadly.  In the meantime serious inquiries can be sent to Susan Prosser, VP Partner and Industry Relations, via email:   susan (at) domaintools (dot) com.

This Reverse Whois release is a beginning, not an end.  We continue to add in more and better ccTLD data.  Improved whois data parsing is on the horizon, which will allow for an even greater level of sorting and filtering.  And at some point we hope to release the interactive research mode more broadly.

So go ahead and see what’s new with Reverse Whois and watch the overview video. Let us know your feedback on the enhancements.  And don’t forget to notice that there is no premium price for historical domains!

P.S. Read our press release here.



Category: Domain Tools Updates, Press, Reverse Whois

About the Author ()

Tim Chen is a proven business development and operational executive, having worked in and around Internet and software companies for over 15 years. Tim has been the CEO of DomainTools for four years, appointed during the May 2009 spin out of DomainTools from Thought Convergence, Inc. (TCI). Before joining DomainTools, Tim spent a year as TCI's Vice President of Corporate Development and 2.5 years leading the domain acquisition efforts for Internet REIT, one of the first venture funded domain investment companies. Tim started in the domain world in 2005 by incubating new business ideas with Mark Pincus (Founder of Zynga) and a small team of engineers in San Francisco. Prior to focusing on the domain and DNS communities, Tim spent seven years in business development executive roles with Internet and software companies in the Bay Area, and four years in the Corporate Finance group at J.P. Morgan in New York. Originally from Rochester, New York, Tim is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Haverford College, has an MBA from Stanford University, and sits on the board of, an automated retirement planning service.

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