Offbeat Internet
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The Nicname protocol (Nicname) is also known as WhoIs. While the DNS servers store the actual Domain Name translation tables; Nicname servers store the unobscured human-readable database of IANA Domain Name leasee information, including contact information and lease period, provided by the Registrar (a potential privacy issue). Servers are accessed using a TelNet client.

ICANN has given rights to specific organizations to manage TLD registration, and these organizations operate Authoritive servers (including sometimes mirrored servers) where they keep the master database for each TLD under their jurisdiction. In order to make locating data easier, a number of Universities and other organizations operate their own servers, which aggregate the databases from each of these authoritive servers together into a single database. There can however be a significant delay from when the authoritive server posts data to when the aggregating server updates its database from the authoritive server. Below are addresses to both Authoritive and Aggregating public Nicname servers.
[IANA Port assignment = 43]

Aggregating Servers

Authoritive Servers

Links last verified June 2012 - (more recent addresses might be found at "")

Domain Names and Company Name Retrieval

Location of web information for particular companies based on their names has become an increasingly difficult problem as the web has grown. What is needed is high-capability directory service and search protocol. RFC2345 is a proposal to adapt the existing Nicname protocol for this purpose. Below are addresses to experimental servers based on this repurposing.

Experimental RFC2345 Servers