[off-list] Re: High volume WHOIS queries

Rich Kulawiec rsk at gsp.org
Tue Mar 1 16:15:18 UTC 2005

On Tue, Mar 01, 2005 at 09:17:48AM -0500, Hannigan, Martin wrote:
> I don't know that this is the case, I suspect it's
> resource management. If the database is getting 
> slaughtered by applications on uncontrolled auto pilot,
> it's unusable for the rest of us.


So why not make it easy -- both for yourselves and for everyone else?

Just publish all WHOIS data on static web pages -- not even
marked up with HTML, just plain ASCII text -- whose URLs are
easy to construct, a la


and refresh them from backing store whenever the "real" data changes.
(And yes, I realize I'm using an example based on domains, not
networks, but I trust it's still applicable.)

This makes the load on the servers about as small as it's
going to get.  (Heck, they could be served from a cut-down web
server designed to serve static content only.)  It also makes
it trivially easy for people to look things up without worrying
about rate-limiting.  Heck, once the search engines indexed it,
it'd be even easier.

As to "...then the spammers will mass-harvest it...": they already HAVE.
They're busy selling it to each other on CD/DVD and via other means.
This has been going on for years, and however-they're-doing-it, they're
doing it well enough to acquire recently-modified data.

So that toothpaste is completely out of the tube and there's no way
to put it back in.  I don't think any substantive purpose is served
by pretending/wishing that it's otherwise: there's a demand for this
data, and plenty of money to be made by those who will supply it,
therefore it's going to be acquired and sold.

But the people who *can't* access the data -- not without taking measures
to evade the rate-blocking that's in place -- are abuse victims who are
trying to track down those responsible.

So I view the problem of overload on WHOIS servers as self-inflicted
damage, easily fixed by giving up the pretense that restricting access
to the data has any real value for anyone.  (Well, it *does* benefit
those selling it, but I trust that ensuring their profits isn't a goal
that anyone's particularly worried about. ;-) )


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