Domain Name Tips and Tools

Many paid services are available to search the Internet for trademark issues.  Domain names are an important part of the search.  Some useful tools are:

Whois.net – search domains that contain a string.

Network-Tools.com – Domain and Network Lookups.

Beware, searches on available domain names are sometimes captured by web sites and they can register the domain before you … and then charge a high fee to release it.  Network Solutions was sued over this for doing this large-scale and the fees were not that high but this has happen elsewhere on a small scale and can cost thousands.

Tracing and looking up a domain can be complicated.  Some important points:

-Web hosting.  A “traceroute” can be performed to find out where a computer is located.  However, a domain does not have to be on just one computer.  www.example.com can be on one computer and www2.example.com can be on another.

-DNS servers.  The DNS server convert the domain name into the numerical address and the domain cannot function without it.  The DNS servers may or may not be the same as the host.  Multiple DNS server may be on different networks.  Some companies specialize in offering just this service.

-Mail servers.  E-mail services may or may not be on the same network as the host and/or DNS servers.  Backup e-mail services may also be on seperate networks.

-Domain types.  The 2-letter ending are iso codes for countries (.us, .uk, .tv, etc.).  Others are generic top level domains which may or may not have restrictions for registration.

-Domain registrars.  Domains types can have a “thick” or “thin” registry model.

A “thin” model is where the registry has no registrant information.  This data is maintained by the licensed registrars.  (This comes from concerns over the original monopoly situation of Network Solutions on com/net/org.)

A “thick” model is where the registry maintains all the registrant data.

Note that in almost cases domains are registered via licensed registrars who may also use resellers.  These resellers are not licensed directly but rather have an affiliate agreement with the licensed registrars.