10|23|2007 01:36 pm EDT
According to sources, Verisign, the operator of the generic TLDs .COM & .NET registry, is considering selling access to selected root dns server lookup data to registrars. The root servers are what make domain names work on the Internet, meaning that many domain queries hit these servers on their way to a site or an email recipient.
Why is this data so interesting? It contains the majority of failed lookups, meaning the Verisign nameservers will be hit and log the query, when someone enters a domain name that does not exist. While many domain-tasters have obtained this information directly from ISPs, getting this directly from Verisign would be a step up the chain, since Verisign manages two of the 13 root name servers.
It appears that Verisign will not be selling the entire lookup data, but rather provide a batched service which allows registrars to upload a list of names, and in return receive a report which lists which names encounter “lookup traffic” over a certain period of time. While it is not known how much will be charged for access to this service, sources speculate of costs up to a million dollars. There are also rumors circulating that if the resulting registration volume is deemed appropriate, the fee might be waived.
This data would basically allow to further define and qualify domain traffic before running domains through a real traffic tasting cycle. Why would people pay for this data though, when they still have to generate lists of names on their own? After all, tasting domains is essentially free, due to the full refund of the registration fee if a domain is deleted within the first five days. However this might change in the future, just like it already has for .ORG domains (the registry, PIR, now charges a penalty for an excessive amount of registration deletions) and in that scenario this service from Verisign may become more useful for a company searching for unregistered domains that receive traffic.