WHOIS history refers to the past WHOIS records of a domain name, which shows who has owned it in previous years. In particular, domain ownership history reveals these data points when available for every domain name:
- Number of historical records
- Number of changes detected
- Number of days the domain has been tracked
- WHOIS server
- Registrant contact details
- Administrative contact details
- Technical contact details
For the registrant, administrative, and technical contacts, domain history reveals the name, organization, street address, country, state, city, email address, and phone and fax number. For more information, you may visit DomainNameStat.
How Important Is WHOIS History?
In recent years, the importance of historical WHOIS records has been highlighted due to domain privacy redaction, pushed by the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018. With Whois History, even when most current WHOIS records are already redacted, we can still gain insights into domains and their past owners.
The current WHOIS lookup result for the domain name imctgroup[.]com, for instance, shows that registrant details were redacted by the registrar, thereby revealing only the registrant’s city and country.
However, WHOIS history would show that the domain name has 14 historical WHOIS records. The data includes the registrant name “M. Daood” from Egypt with the email address ***[email protected][.]com. These registrant details appeared on the domain history records from January 2016 to August 2017.
The domain name websitebuildersinfo[.]in, on the other hand, is available for registration. However, that does not mean that it hasn’t been used or registered before. Domain ownership history records reveal that one person owned the domain name from July 2016 to July 2017. The registrant name “R. Hawkins” with an address in New York owned it. An Outlook email address is also revealed in the domain name history records.
But how valuable is this historical WHOIS data for businesses? We explored three use cases below.
These days, opening or expanding a business requires owners to acquire corresponding domain names. But before buying a domain name, it’s important to check its domain ownership history first to avoid associations with shady personalities or organizations.
A domain name that has been used in malicious activities such as phishing or blackhat search engine optimization (SEO) could be blacklisted. Therefore, using the domain for business expansion purposes could do more harm than good.
By doing their best to avoid connections with malicious domains and entities, businesses can also protect their brand reputation. The danger of using a malicious domain name does not only lie in the possibility that it is blacklisted. Some clients may shy away from businesses that use ill-reputed domains as well.
For instance, an alleged scammer who used the Black Lives Matter movement to gain more than US$100,000 appears in the historical WHOIS record of about 240 domain names, including the following financial-related ones:
Obtaining domain names associated with a suspected scammer could make a business seem untrustworthy.
As with any partnership or business venture, organizations must do their due diligence to minimize exposure to risks. As such, they must investigate a vendor, contractor, or any third party before getting involved.
If the third party suffers from a cyber attack, its clients and partners could also be exposed. In fact, 53% of the data breaches that affected organizations were caused, directly or indirectly, by a third party. Such risk exposure has financial, reputational, and legal ramifications.
Domain ownership history can give insights into a domain name’s past connections and the activities for which they were used. This information can help business owners make better and more informed decisions. Domain history can make a difference in a business’s fate, specifically in terms of brand protection, business expansion, and third-party association.