Looking up potential domains at eNom? The company uses that data in many ways.
[UPDATED] Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt has referred to the data from eNom and its value to the company before, but its newly filed S-1 explains the value succinctly. It uses the data not only for its content business, but also to determine which domain names to acquire for its own portfolio:
Proprietary Data. In providing registration services for over 10 million domain names, our Registrar resolves an average of over 2 billion domain name system queries per day. Our Registrar also serviced, on average, more than 3 million domain name look-ups per day from potential customers seeking to register new websites or purchase existing domains during the first six months of 2010. These queries and look-ups provide insight into what consumers may be seeking online and represent a proprietary and valuable source of relevant information for our platform’s title generation algorithms and the algorithms we use to acquire undeveloped websites for our portfolio.
[Update: this doesn’t imply at all that the company engages in “front-running”, or registering a domain you lookup prior to you being able to register it. A Demand Media spokesperson confirmed to me that “Demand Media’s eNom subsidiary does not engage in the practice of “front-runningâ€ domains”.]
The S-1 also confirms something we already know: eNom keeps a number of its customers’ expired domains for itself:
Domain names not renewed by their prior registrants that meet certain of our criteria are acquired by us to augment our portfolio of undeveloped owned and operated websites. Our access to this stream of expiring names and visibility into the organic performance of those sites is a unique source of data and creates the potential for future growth for our Content & Media service offering.