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Verisign and Afilias testing Whois killer

Kevin Murphy, October 25, 2017, 18:57:35 (UTC), Domain Tech

Verisign and Afilias have become the first two gTLD registries to start publicly testing a replacement for Whois.

Both companies have this week started piloting implementations of RDAP, the Registration Data Access Protocol, which is expected to usurp the decades-old Whois protocol before long.

Both pilots are in their very early stages and designed for a technical audience, so don’t expect your socks to be blown off.

The Verisign pilot offers a web-based, URL-based or command-line interface for querying registration records.

The output, by design, is in JSON format. This makes it easier for software to parse but it’s not currently very easy on the human eye.

To make it slightly more legible, you can install a JSON formatter browser extension, which are freely available for Chrome.

Afilias’ pilot is similar but does not currently have a friendly web interface.

Both pilots have rudimentary support for searching using wildcards, albeit with truncated result sets.

The two new pilots only currently cover Verisign’s .com and .net registries and Afilias’ .info.

While two other companies have notified ICANN that they intend to run RDAP pilots, these are the first two to go live.

It’s pretty much inevitable at this point that RDAP is going to replace Whois relatively soon.

Not only has ICANN has been practically champing at the bit to get RDAP compliance into its registry/registrar contracts, but it seems like the protocol could simplify the process of complying with incoming European Union privacy legislation.

RDAP helps standardize access control, meaning certain data fields might be restricted to certain classes of user. Cops and IP enforcers could get access to more Whois data than the average blogger or domainer, in other words.

As it happens, it’s highly possible that this kind of stratified Whois is something that will be legally mandated by the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect next May.

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Comments (7)

  1. JZ says:

    welp..this will kill my current method of domaining i guess. i just wait for people to contact me through whois and if they can’t..well shit i’ll have to make landers or something i guess. what a bunch of crap. domain whois access should be public, much like the phone book…opt out if you want but don’t restrict access..

  2. Theo Geurts says:

    Domain parking sounds like an option here and offer the option to mark the domain name for sale.

    Or redirect all domains to one contact form. Most registrars offer URL forward.

    No WHOIS required.

    • JZ says:

      i hope basic info like name, email address will still be available at least or the option to opt out of any kind of restrictions. i don’t like to park domains and like to keep the illusion that the domains are not actively for sale.

  3. JZ says:

    i really don’t know much about rdap but what does it mean for domainers and regular people who want to look up domain info?

    no more outbound contacting via whois info?

    no more looking up dozens of domains to see who owns what and the ability to contact them to try and buy?

    no more the average joe being able to contact domain owners to try and buy domain?

    if so..its going to put a huge dent in a lot of domainer pockets.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      At the very least, the combination of GDPR and RDAP means that a few years from now Whois is going to be completely unrecognisable.

  4. Richard Funden says:

    My first thought when I saw the headline:

    How are they testing the GDPR?

  5. abdussamad says:

    Parsing whois was always a PITA. I’m glad ICANN is finally making it machine parseable.

Leave a Reply to Richard Funden