Domaining, mobile tlds and automated whois queries

Domaining has been interesting me for a while. I think it mainly bugs me because I distinctly remember conversations from ~10 years ago about whether it was worth buying some generic .com domains that would be worth quite a packet these days. Darn it.

I don't think the game is over, however, but it is taking (in my mind) two divergent paths:

1. the .com tld and most cctlds look to me more like the (real world, bricks and mortar) property market - with money to be made in clever speculation but mostly in development. Buy a nice undeveloped plot, develop it and sell it for a multiple. 2. new tlds, where it is quite hard to predict the future value of the domains (.biz??? please).

One area that is ripe for the picking in my mind is mobile. There has not yet been a winner in the battle for hearts and minds that is the mobile internet (, etc.?) but mobile domains have a few characteristics that are unique relative to the regular domain markets:

- shortness is (even) better - all-number domains might make more sense because of the input method on many mobile devices

##What am I doing about it?

Well, I spent a bit of time yesterday (yes, it was Sunday, I'm soo cool) writing a script to let me easily check the availability of some of the domains I'm toying with buying up. This highlighted a couple of issues:

1. I don't have £150k. Any investors out there with that kind of money who fancy dabbling, I have identified a mobile niche you could pretty much own with an investment along those lines... Drop me a line :) 2. Automated whois queries are quite hard. Who decided that whois servers didn't need to return information in a standard format? Nice one.

It's not even easy to see if something is registered in an automated way (please, someone, correct me in the comments if I'm missing something):

whois -h

> Domain: anunregistereddomain > Status: FREE

whois -h


whois -h


What's that all about? Why not have a standard response?

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About the author
Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow

Will founded Distilled with Duncan in 2005. Since then, he has consulted with some of the world’s largest organisations and most famous websites, spoken at most major industry events and regularly appeared in local and national press. For the...   read more