Reverse WHOIS service in action by searching for all Internet domains a company owns or is related to. We shall use the web-based reverse WHOIS service. An alternative would be to use the reverse WHOIS API, a RESTful solution which is also available with the same capabilities. We shall pick a popular brand as an example for our investigation, although it works for any other one you might be interested in. If you are a domainer, a marketer, a legal investigator, an IT security expert, or anyone interested in or working with Internet domains, you are in the right place. We present the Swiss Army knife designed to fit in your very pocket.
Table of Contents
- 1. Our tool: the Domain Research Suite
- 2. Our example: Eastman Kodak Companys
- 3. Summary
1. Our tool: the Domain Research Suite
WhoisXML API, Inc. has been collecting and normalizing ownership data of domains and IP netblocks for several years. While this information is publicly available on the Internet, it is scattered into highly distributed and not always coherent data sources. Hence, trying to get these data in a useful from is really a challenge. WHOIS data, for instance, come primarily from servers still using a protocol dating back to the early days of Internet, and the operators of these servers impose several limitations on queries.
WhoisXML API has the appropriate infrastructure and expertise to collect the huge set of all these data and put it into a normalized form facilitating efficient queries. This complete and coherent database of current and historic ownership (domain WHOIS) data is the solid basis of advanced domain research and monitoring tools, now integrated into a Domain Research Suite. What we demonstrate here is just a small part of its functionality. Namely, it makes it possible not only to find the owner of a particular domain, but also to pivot on its details, for instance, find the other domains belonging to the same owner. All of this can be used either interactively on a webpage or through RESTful APIs.
Now we shall act as an analyst and use interactive approach. To do so we visit the webpage of Domain Research Suite.
First, you need to register your free account (in case you do not yet have an account for this or any other API service here). The free account is perfectly sufficient if you want to give it a try, or you are in the occasional need of analyzing some pages. If you need more, you can purchase additional access at a reasonable price.
After logging in, you will see a page like this:
The available search and monitoring tools are all close at hand, on the panel on the left:
- The Search tools:
- Reverse WHOIS search;
- WHOIS History search;
- WHOIS Search;
- Domain Availability check;
- and the Monitoring tools:
- Domain Monitor;
- Registrant Monitor;
- Brand Monitor.
By default, we see the Reverse WHOIS search, the very tool we are about to take a good look at.
2. Our example: Eastman Kodak Company
As the author of this blog is also interested in photography, we opt for the Eastman Kodak Company, or Kodak in short, which has always played a significant role in both production and innovation for photographic technology. Let’s find out what they have on the web.
2.1 Basic search
First we do a basic search. After entering “Eastman Kodak Company” in the input field of basic search and pressing the “Search” button, we find the following:
Since we gave a rather specific company name, the simple search found a reasonable number of records. This is what we were primarily looking for: a complete list of domains actually owned by the Kodak Eastman company. But we can take a few more steps in the investigation.
We can look at the details of any of the domains, let’s see “kodak.com”. Clicking on the given line we have the following choices:
The WHOIS report will display the current WHOIS record and reveal contact information, relevant dates (like expiry), etc. What may be even more interesting is the Historic WHOIS report, which provides all the previous statuses of the WHOIS record of the domain, from the year 2012 on:
We omitted the details from the record in this screenshot, except for the relevant dates, but they are all there. And we have all the 12 versions of the WHOIS records the domain has had since 2012 in full detail. The cumulative numbers in the top blocks are also quite interesting as they can reveal company name changes, etc. “Records with public ownership data” is of particular interest, as the whole WHOIS ecosystem is currently undergoing significant changes due to new data protection regulations (notably the new GDPR of the European Union). As no better source of ownership information appears on the way, we still have WHOIS as the only method to find out who owns a domain.
Let us build a “Reverse WHOIS report” of “kodak.com”:
As you can see now, “kodak.com” has been searched for in all fields of WHOIS records, so the resulting page contains records which were registered under an alternative name of the company. For instance, the WHOIS record of “analogcloud.com” reveals that it was registered by “Eastman Kodak” (without “Company”). Another possibility is that the domain may be owned by a different company which has to do something with it (Affiliates, third party companies selling Kodak goods, etc.). To give an example from the present query, “islander.nf” is run by “Norfolk Island Data Services Ltd. Pty.”, but their administrative contact appears to coincide with that of the Eastman Kodak Company.
2.2 Advanced search
Let us now explore the “Advanced search” tab and more possibilities to pivot on. Within “Advanced search” we are also offered two options: “Anywhere” enables us to give multiple search terms to include or exclude as well as the choice of searching Actual, Historic or Recently updated records. Now we shall go for “Specific WHOIS fields”, which enables us to give conditions specific to fields of the WHOIS record, e.g. the Registrant’s country.
In particular, we shall look for actual domains
- having a name starting with “kodak” and
- having a registrant in Australia:
Let’s take a closer look at “kodakpixpro.com.au”. A WHOIS report reveals the following:
so it is owned by “Directed Electronics Australia Pty Ltd”. Notice the little red arrow after this Registrant Name: when clicking on, we are offered two options:
- Build Reverse WHOIS report
- Add to Registrant Monitor
So if we want to monitor the activity of this registrant, we can do that easily from here as well. But right now we go for the reverse WHOIS report. Indeed, we can pivot on the Registrant Name, resulting in the following:
They appear to be running 112 domains – a remarkable player of the market indeed. And we can continue our search on each domain by finding current or historic WHOIS records and then possibly pivoting on any fields in the resulting data.
We have demonstrated the Reverse WHOIS Search tool of WhoisXML API’s Domain Research Suite in action. It is an easy-to-use, flexible and pivotable tool, orchestrated with various other Search and Monitoring facilities. All of those are based on an accurate and coherent database of domain ownership data. Interested? Go and get your free account.