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DomainTools is about to get more expensive for some users

Company is eliminating old plans in favor of new “Personal” accounts.

DomainToolsDomainTools began as a company catering to the domain name industry, but has shifted to the enterprise security market in recent years.

This summer, as part of that process, DomainTools is eliminating a number of grandfathered plans and pushing new accounts into a Personal plan. For many people, this will mean substantially higher prices.

The new Personal plans are $99 a month or $995 a year. DomainTools is offering a 30% off coupon code (upgradenow) to help with the transition.

Personal plans include new products previously available only to larger customers, including bulk parsed whois and reverse whois research mode, along with reverse IP. Personal membership also includes 5 Domain Reports per month (which individually cost $49 each).

Personal memberships have limits that some people might exceed. For example, Personal accounts can only monitor 1,000 domains per month. If you use domain monitors to track your portfolio for domain hijacking, this won’t be possible under the new plans for people with more than 1,000 domains.

Competitors to DomainTools have come on the scene in recent years. DomainIQ is aimed squarely at this market and has plans starting at $24.95 per month. Whoisology offers some free access to data and has extended plans starting at $30 per month.

Each service has different features and limits. Frankly, there’s no “best” choice for everyone; it really depends on what you’re using the services for.

Account migrations at DomainTools will begin June 25, but customers can upgrade early.

[Disclosure: I receive free access to DomainTools and DomainIQ.]

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  1. Joseph Peterson says

    For some of us, these domain-industry tools and related subscriptions add up to a few hundred bucks per month. The overhead expense of doing business in this sector isn’t negligible. Not quite at the level of a condo mortgage yet but getting there.

    Tried explaining this recently to a fellow who demanded that I surrender a domain to him “at cost” – i.e. for the price I myself had paid to buy it. Money spent maintaining memberships and time spent studying data must add to the retail price.

  2. thelegendaryjp says

    As one of those $30 a month grandfather account holders I am not too pleased obviously. They have now more than doubled the monthly fee even after the code. Because I asked for extra features, no but rather because if they were smart they looked at those throw in’s as a non factor to cost on their end and a justification to jack us grandfathered accounts up. Sorry only reason I remained a customer for over a decade was the fact it was $30, now time to say good bye. I appreciate their honoring us grandfathered accounts all these years but when the competition offers what I need at now less than half the price, no brainer. Don’t piss in my cereal and call it low fat milk, bad decision on their end and frankly a sign of a failing model. If their new sign up rate is so great at $99 why jack the thousands of $30 grandfathered accounts? Ill tell you why, greed and failure, I sense both strongly.

    Mr. Tim Chen, the grandfathered accounts like me didn’t ask for extra crap or to be jacked up over 100%, bad move. Ill give domaintools 72 hrs to reverse this or a major boycott is in order imo. We wouldn’t take this from cable/phone etc, why you?

    • jaybuk says

      My thoughts exactly. 7 year member @ $500 / year = $3,500. I cancelled my membership that was due to renew next month and I won’t look back. Bad move Mr. Chen….

    • Dave W. says

      The math is actually 400% increase for most Legacy customers. I’m pulling the plug June 24.

  3. David Yang (@davidnyang) says

    I am thinking of cancelling my account on Domaintools.com because of the change of upcoming unfair price. I am a legacy membership but I don’t think my usage monthly can fit the new price. Of course, I believe there will be some sever instead of domaintools.com shortly.

    • Dave W. says

      Going from less than $300yr to $1200 year is a 400% increase! Us legacy accounts built their business. This is how loyalty gets returned. There are plenty of other sources out there for the investigative research I do. This change will bite them and fail. By the way, anybody notice they have an “F” BBB rating? I’m cancelling June 24!

  4. Brad says

    I’m cancelling as well. I have no time for companies that don’t care about their most loyal customers and are only intersted in money grabs. I’ve referred hundreds of people to domain tools over the years.

  5. Brad Mugford says

    Future ex-subscriber here. To call this an “upgrade” is a joke.

    I have been paying $50/month for quite a while. The service came with 100 whois history lookups per month. Now for 2x the price, it comes with 25.

    Their new plan sucks. I suspect they are going to lose a lot of subscriptions.

    Brad

    • Brad says

      Yeah their brand monitors are being reduced from 10 to 3 and my monitors are going from 10K to 1K. I’m using 7K so their next higher plan doesn’t even cover me and that is even more crazy expensive.

      Like I said before, I don’t care about companies that don’t care about loyal customers. They are raising prices and reducing their offering by a ton. Greedy jerks.

  6. thelegendaryjp says

    Let me be clear, while I will still ditch them if they do not revise this release I am not against any increase in price. I pay $30 now, Id gladly pay $40 or more but when you jump to $99 and 30% discount that is greed.

    Like I said, 72 hours Mr. Chen, rethink the pricing FAST because after recommending people to domaintools for 12 years I am just as easily prepared to now spread the word why people should leave.

    Hope you guys did a risk/reward on this one.

    • Brad says

      Keep in mind its not just a price increase, they are also slashing the services offered. Every single service was slashed.

      Whois History – From 100 to 5
      Hosting History – From 100 to 5
      Domain Search – From 100 to 5
      Reverse IP Whois – From 100 to 5
      Reverse NS – From 10 to 5
      Reverse MX – From 100 to 5
      Domain Monitor – From 10,000 to 1,000
      Brand monitor – From 10 to 3
      Name Server Monitor – From 10 to 3
      Registrant Monitor – From 10 to 3
      IP Monitor – From 10 to 3

  7. Alexander says

    10 year customer here, too. Account closed. I am an ex-customer now.

    There has been only two services I used:
    Plain WHOIS and Whois History. I do not use ANY other service – NOTHING else.

    Well “Plain Whois” is made available by so many providers at zero cost – so the ONLY service I use that justifies a spending is WHOIS History. And I would even get only 25 per month now. Crap. At 25 per month that’s $US 4 per WHOIS history? If I would do only 10 History lockups – then it would be even $US 10 per lookup?

    Is there anyone else out there that offers say the last 10 years of WHOIS history of .com? Again: I absolutely do not need ANY of the other “services” offered by Domaintools.

    Is it possible to ONLY buy “Whois History” at Domaintools?

    Well: We domainers made them big and kept them alive over all these years – now they found people who pay more; and ditch us. Such is nature of business.

  8. Ryan says

    My paypal subscription is cancelled, enjoy trying to grab funds when you are denied.

    This is a good time for other companies to have a promo catch new customers, free money when it comes to the subscription model.

  9. thelegendaryjp says

    I have started to mobilize an effort to protest, first goal is 100-200 cancellations this week. I will do what I can until they reverse this new offering completely or give back the number of searches and lower the price increase to half of what they currently did or $49.99 for grandfathered and comparable increases to accounts paying more. That is already a generous bump for NOTHING!

    My suggestion % increase and don’t touch our limits, if anything you should offer MORE, you are doing the reverse of what big business does, cell bills etc go down, minutes go UP.

  10. Joseph Peterson says

    The articles that I wrote here at DNW for the past 2 years relied on DomainTools Whois History. I usually used (and could easily have exceeded) the full allotment of 50 per queries month.

    Mine was a paid membership. Now DomainTools has cut that number in half while doubling the price. So really the cost has quadrupled. Fortunately I just quit writing that series. With DomainTools’s new pricing model, I never would have written a single article here at DNW.

    Research-based articles are already unprofitable. So this price hike by DomainTools will actually push a certain kind of reporting toward extinction.

    It’s not that $100 per month is unaffordable. But 25 queries per month is pitifully small. Ideally I’d use 25+ per day! If professionals like me must conserve those queries like the last precious drops of water in a desert, then I’ll save them for my paying clients – not squander them on research for public readers.

    That isn’t cost-effective for ANY writer in this industry. Even the biggest news outlets – like DNW – wouldn’t be able to justify paying the new sticker price for the number of queries necessary to write the articles they have, in fact, already published.

    Hopefully DomainTools will rethink this move. They provide a good service, but perhaps they’ve grown out of touch with respect to part of their customer base in the domain industry.

  11. thelegendaryjp says

    I hear you Joe and at 25 Id be done by lunch! You are right the $100 isn’t the issue per say for us (while it may be for most) it fir me is the principle and disrespect to think you can bend me over at will.

    Also never thought about cost being quadrupled, very good point.

    I really think if Mr. Chen reads this there is no way they follow through on this, it is so disgusting.

    I have started one thread on it already and in 72 hrs will press forward and bigger, gives me a hobby this summer.

    1.Take dog for walk
    2.Use 1 search on whois every 36 hrs.
    3.Goal of getting 1000’s of customers to cancel domaintools membership

  12. Dan says

    Can’t believe they are hiking up the price so much! I will be canceling my membership as well. And read the “UPGRADENOW” offer for existing customers. The discount is for one month only or one year only. They force you into buying a full year to get the discount not just letting you have a discounted price for a year if you pay monthly. Also I get a year off pricing for being a multi-year customer then after year one I get totally screwed!! Bad move!!

  13. Brad Mugford says

    I have cancelled my membership.

    “Your DomainTools Professional Membership has been cancelled.

    We’re very sorry to see you go.

    Would you mind telling us why you’re leaving? It will help us improve our products and make our memberships more relevant for people like you.”

    Why do you think I am leaving? You are doubling the cost for far less services.
    That is a great way to lose long time customers.

    Brad

  14. Sandra says

    I am a Domain Tools member for over 11 years (I think that was shortly after they changed from whois.sc to domaintools.com).

    I have always been a free member. At the beginning, this included whois lookups, domain monitor, IP reverse lookups etc.

    Strangely enough, although they more and more minimized what you could get with the free plan, I still have got now all the monitors etc. Either this is in error or they grandfathered the free accounts as well.

    If they now change this all in June (I guess there will be no free plan and nothing below 90 per month), I will change to some other service. OK, I am not a great loss for them, but I referred many users to their good service. I never had to look else where.

    Now I will look at DomainIQ (haven’t heard of them before, thanks for the tip).

  15. Steve says

    They used the money they earned from “domainers” during their early days to develop their product in order to go after the more “corporate” clients. Now that they have a stable business with their corporate accounts they are throwing the “domainers” (their original customers) to the curb.

    I am perfectly OK with a price increase. But that is NOT their motive here. They want to rid themselves of “domainers”.

  16. thelegendaryjp says

    I dunno Steve why get rid of revenue? If this decision costs them business and they rid them selves of some domainers they will still carry some… I think its as simple as greed and mistaken your customer for a fool.

    There should be a domain tool hall of shame, they’d take #1 for this stunt.

    • Steve says

      Limiting WHOIS History to 25 from Unlimited is all you need to know. I don’t know anyone that could operate with that kind of limit.

      A price increase is one thing but limiting your services so severely is completely different.

      Domainers aren’t simply going to just pay the $99 a month. $4 per WHOIS History lookup. They have to know that. That’s why I think its not about price its about ridding themselves of Domainers. Not sure why, maybe from a brand perspective or maybe Domainers use their bandwidth and pay the least so they want them gone.

  17. Andrea Paladini says

    Laughable greedy, silly strategy … and they are ASKING FOR MORE while they are OFFERING LESS, slashing the services offered … sounds like their underlying business model is weak, that’s why they need to go this way …
    They have lost another customer, we are not using it anymore …
    Plus they should keep free Whois lookup, for people using it only, since Whois data are free, publicly accessible data.
    One month ago, after a clash with DT support, I wrote an email to Ammar (Kubba) about it, see an extract below.
    We are suggesting all our clients and contacts to avoid using DomainTools.
    I think they will lose a LOT of customers from now on …

    “I’ve been using DomainTools for my Whois lookups since 2010, with a personal account.
    After using it for 6 years without any particolar issue, at the beginning of March 2016 I noticed that they put the Lookup limit to just a few ones on my account.
    Please note that I’ve always used it only for lookups, while I’ve never used any of their other services, and that Whois data are free public data, publicly accessibile without charge.
    In the meantime they totally disabled the option to open a “free” account, forcing people to pay at least 99$/month even for just doing a few Whois lookups.
    In the last few days I talked to their Support, and their reply was suggesting me to use a different Whois data provider and cancelling my account.
    I’m used to pay for all useful services which are not freely and publicly accessibile (public resources).
    That said, IMHO, charging 99$/month for providing free public Whois data is “legalized extortion”.
    They should keep Whois lookups free, while charging users for all their other services, that would make more sense.
    Otherwise, if you need to force people to pay for free Whois lookups, that means that your other services you are offering are not so useful or attractive to end users, which means that your business model is weak, with no competitive advantages, probably doomed to fail.
    Unless they change this silly way of doing business, we are going to suggest all our many business contacts not to use their services.”

    Let’s BOYCOTT them! … bye bye DomainTools …

  18. Reality says

    I have a $49.95/month Professional Account and I currently use 10 registrant monitors. Apparently I’m “upgrading” to a limit of only 3 registrant monitors for an extra $50/month. In fact, all the limits are significantly decreased for twice the price! I’m cancelling my account.

  19. Meyer says

    DomainTools is now “dead to me” after 12 yrs.

    Remember, it was us that created their database by doing whois searches.

    Unfortunately, the competition does not have the depth that DT has.
    A smart competitor would make us an offer we can’t refuse.

    • Michael says

      Remember also it was Google that used our content and links to become who they are today.

      Maybe DomainTools gets more money from the corporate clients that use less resources. I’m not sure they care if the lose the smaller paying clients.

      IMO it may be time to try someone else. I stopped being a member back in 04. It’s easier to do a Whois from my server command prompt anyway.

      • Meyer says

        “DomainTools gets more money from the corporate clients that use less resources”
        You are correct. They know many legacy (low priced) customers will stay with them. For example, IP lawyers, brokers, top domainers, registrars, etc.
        Over the next 6 months, If they lose over 50% of their old customers, they will still be ahead.
        Lets pick a number – 1,000 old customers (old price $50). 250 stay with them at $ 100. And, 200 start paying $ 125. Revenue is now neutral. If they retain more, it is all profit.

      • David says

        Yep a few other firms are following and dumping the average JOE that built their business and focusing on the corporate clients that are happy to pay annually via invoices and cost is not really an issue…

  20. B Graves says

    The original deal was $99/year and I don’t remember having a limit on whois history searches either. My first invoice # in 2004 was around 600. In 2010 my invoice number was just under 1,000,000. They have been growing rapidly.

  21. thelegendaryjp says

    B Graves, that is unfortunately not a great indication of anything, what was the average invoice price, where they one time buys or long term memberships, how many returned that is what matters. What if 899,990 were $9.99? over a decade…

    End of day they screwed the 99 for the 1 they are the Martin Shkreil of the industry now.

    • B Graves says

      It’s not exact and could easily be manipulated but the number of invoices they were issuing seemed to be growing exponentially. I think my 2005 invoice was around 9k and my 2011 invoice was around 3,000,000.

  22. Ryan says

    Principal & Director
    DomainTools
    2008 – Present (8 years)Seattle, Washington

    AMMAR KUBBA What is the deal man? You don’t seem like a guy who rolls like this?

  23. Michael says

    Cancelled already. They wanted me to go from $12 to $99. Imagine if your insurance premium went up more than eight-fold! While I admit it was an important tool to me, this is just unacceptable.

  24. thelegendaryjp says

    Andrew care to take a shot at this, posted by Garth on Elliots blog…

    “Garth

    I don’t understand how this firm is allowed to profit from stored whois records anyway?

    ICANN whois terms:

    “You agree to use this data only for lawful purposes and further agree not to use this data (i) to allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by email, telephone, or facsimile of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising, or (ii) to enable high volume, automated, electronic processes to collect or compile this data for any purpose, including without limitation mining this data for your own personal or commercial purposes.”

  25. Mansour says

    If you are harvesting whois and making money out of it like son registrar it is ok to pay even $200 but if you are the regular Joe that you need them 10 times a month you should cancel you can get the same info free from many other places.
    Goodbye domain tools

  26. thelegendaryjp says

    Another sad part if this most do not realize. Over the last decade+ I have helped recover at least 100’s and hundreds of stolen domains. The whois history plays an extremely crucial role it making time lines, contacting rightful owners, evidence for rar’s to return names etc. I never charged anyone who asked me for help it is something I enjoyed doing.

    If I were to want to continue that the cost would be very large to me now or I would have to charge for the service.

    Seeing as I cannot justify a renewal then this guy is done recovering stolen names for people.

    This is not to mention the fact that it is now more risky for new domainers then it already was and for us old pro’s to do due diligence.

    Thanks Domaintools/Ammar Kubba/Tim Chen your price change and service claw back will lead to MORE crime and victims, security company LOL

  27. JZ says

    i was told almost a year ago when i complained about the price then that domainers didn’t make the bulk of their income and was not a focus for them and basically to find somewhere else because it was only going to get worse in that respect. it sure did.

  28. Dan says

    Got replies from Whoisology saying they will give some sort of discount and check on their Twitter feed for more info today.

    DomainIQ is not giving a discount here it is from them:

    Thank you for the email. The problem is twofold: a) we have no way to verify who is a Domain Tools customer or not and it would not be fair for our current customers if we ended up with a blanket discount which is inevitably where this would lead; b) we already charge considerably less than Domain Tools.

    If you have any questions, we would be happy to discuss them with you individually. Regards,

    Ivan

  29. thelegendaryjp says

    Just signed up for DomainIQ Pro at $49 and liking it so far as I play with it. Wish whois history was older but better than nothing and far better pricing then domaintools with lots of extra tools as well.

  30. George Shrubbery Jr. says

    I am OUT! Just kidding….The SECRET is… I never paid since I am not DUMB. So I am out of $0.00 with this deal. Every time they demanded RIDICULOUS amounts I went and searched for the info on multiple other free services. So, I am not really OUT as I never paid, but screw you (they do) WHOIS.SC aka DOMAIN FOOLS. And you unintels you ruined good company feeding their OBSESSIVE GREED… YOUR FAULT FOOLS! FINGER YOU 2 (a la créme).

  31. toddwilkie says

    Macnia, since you’ve stopped using domaintools, what websites are you using? I am a small novice domainer and I too used domaintools for YEARS and I’m disappointed with their new platform. It too expensive and too limiting for me. What have you found success with?

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