Does Google Use WhoIs Information?

It has long been speculated that Google may use Whois information to help determine quality, and much of that speculation stems from the following patent:

“Last year’s patent application from Google, Information retrieval based on historical data, also described the potential use of whois information to aid in the rankings of web pages, looking at information like as the length of the registration of a web site, or other aspects of the registration, such as:

  • Whether physically correct address information exists over a period of time,
  • Whether contact information for the domain changes relatively often,
  • Whether there is a relatively high number of changes between different name servers and hosting companies,
  • Whether there is known-bad contact information, name servers, and/or IP addresses associated with a domain”

Bill takes a closer look at this patent, compares it with a recent GoDaddy application, and speculates that recent decisions made by ICANN may put a damper on Google’s potential use of whois data.

  1. ToddWToddW05-10-2006

    Interesting patent to say the least. I can see where google is going with it… if the owner changes often, servers change often they could conclude it may not be quality but then again they are just speculating.

    Google and their views…. always looking do one better.

    Nothing wrong with that.

    It sure is nice viewing google’s ‘patents’ you can get some ideas what REALLY is going on there.

  2. BillBill05-11-2006

    I’m guessing that if they are using that whois information now, they may not be able to do so sometime in the future.

    A couple of those make assumptions that bother me, anyway.

    I’m not sure that it’s right to count against a site the fact that it is registered for only a year in advance. It’s not uncommon for some pretty good web hosts to cover the cost of registration as part of their yearly contract for hosting, meaning that there are some pretty good sites online who only have their sites registered for a year.

    There could be a flurry of changes to the registration information of a site, especially in a merger or change of ownership situation.

    Data that was intended only to provide a point of contact for technical issues is possibly being used to read much more into the information. I’m not sure that the section on domain names in that patent application was my favorite part of the document.

  3. John ScottJohn Scott05-11-2006

    I think it would be dumb of Google to use whois info, but then Google is know of known of implementing weird filters that don’t really make a of sense.

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