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Re: NSI Bulletin 098-010 | Update on Whois

  • From: Derek Balling
  • Date: Wed Sep 02 12:33:18 1998

>Who said anything about usage charges? It looks like the proposed work
>mentioned by David Holtzman is to control _abuse_ of the whois service.
>Otherwise, the load on whois will grow without bounds and we'd
>eventually have to pay more in registration fees. Of course, that's just
>my figurin' and nothing official...

True, that's what his statement appears to say, however, who is to define
"abuse" of the whois service? 

As an example, a company I worked for a while back wanted to generate, on
their statistics reports for their customers' web sites, who each domain
was who was hitting their page, and who it belonged to (e.g. someone
looking just at "" might not correlate that to "O'Reilly and
Associates"). What we had then asked InterNIC for was a means of getting
that data WITHOUT using whois. (We knew it was readily available, and
publicly accessible, but wanted to avoid beating on the whois server to get
it when it came time to generate reports). The people we talked to at
InterNIC essentially told us to pound salt. My superior at the time had
mentioned that we had two ways of going about this, the "net-friendly" way,
and the "brute-force" way, and that InterNIC was forcing us to use the
brute force way which could cause their servers undue load.

Was this company "an abuser" because they wanted to do lookups of a useful
nature? (And yes, they put in caching and such so they wouldn't be querying
every domain every time.) Granted, I would define someone harvesting the
whois database for email addresses an abuser, but since I feel the abuse
use had "valid purpose", that it shouldn't be categorized as abuse. I bet
InterNIC would claim it was though.

It's a customer service issue... We are all (I assume) customers of
InterNIC. We pay them money for domain name registrations, and they are in
turn supposed to provide reliable whois service (among other things, of
course). If they're finding that load on the whois server is higher than
they expect, they might consider (a) finding WHY it is that high? are there
people like my old employer out there doing whois requests to get a single
field from a number of sites, (b) allow others to volunteer to host the
data and serve up requests. 

Just my $0.02 worth, everyone else's mileage is sure to vary.


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