If you aren’t using DomainTools, here are 5 ways to get started.
DomainTools, a product of Name Intelligence, is perhaps the most powerful repository of data for domainers. Here are five ways I use the site:
1. Verify ownership of big ticket domains. When I’m buying an expensive domain I like to verify that the person I’m buying it from actually owns it. DomainTools’ historical whois tool lets you see the whois record for a domain name. This feature prevented me from being scammed on a $5,000 purchase. It also comes in handing when you’re writing articles about domains. It’s how I figured out that Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff was the likely seller of the domain Bill.com recently.
2. Domain suggestions. I’m not always thrilled by the domain suggestions DomainTools provides. But I like how its shows you a side-by-side comparison of the available domains for each term is suggests. If you see a domain that is registered in .net or .org but not .com, it might be worth registering it.
3. Buying already registered domains. This weekend I was looking for a domain to register for a new site. I searched for availability on DomainTools, and for each domain it told me if the domain was listed for sale at Sedo, Afternic, TDNAM, or BuyDomains. If you’re looking to pick up some underpriced domains, do a “For Sale” search and select the “Under $2,000” category.
4. Find out who you’re dealing with before making an offer. DomainTools’ registrant search helps you understand the owner of a domain you might be interested in purchasing. When you search for the domain it tells you how many other domains the owner has registered. You can purchase a list of all of the domains; this is a controversial feature because it makes it easier to hijack someone’s entire portfolio of domains. However, merely knowing the number of domains is helpful and unharmful.
5. Typo tool. Want to know who is typosquatting on your web site? A quick search shows you possible typo domains, if they’re registered, and if they’ve been registered previously. I also like the “Registrant View”, which shows you who the culprit is. Somjai Santiratikul and Timothy Davids, I have my eye on you!
For all its power, DomainTools can be a valuable tool for domainers. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is going to start integrating DomainTools into its search (we don’t know how yet). Could Google use it to weed out domains that have changed ownership? After all, that’s one of the reasons Google became a domain registrar in the first place.
[This article was inspired in part by Peter Askew’s recent post at Domainer’s Gazette.]