Did you know the first product DomainTools sold was an API? We built an innovative domain suggestion engine called Name Spinner (Now Domain Suggestions) that was —and still is—popular with registrars, likely driven to some extent by the crowded .com space.

Since then, we’ve build a solid set of research, history, and alert products for our members. But until recently, we haven’t been able to invest the time needed in order to make that data available through an API. We built a few data services for our Whois Lookup and Historical Whois products, and although the data services themselves were quite solid, the documentation was rough (or non-existent) and there was no way to sign up or manage your account without contacting our business development team.

Our new API product offering aims to change all that.

The data format defaults to JSON, not XML. When we asked our own engineers what changes we should make to the current XML format, they unanimously agreed we should drop it entirely in favor of JSON. If you haven’t done much research into that format, you should — it’s lightweight, self-describing, and very easy to parse in just about any language. Even though we ended up keeping XML as an option, and even made a human-friendly HTML version, we love JSON and we think you will, too.

We intentionally avoided SOAP, not because we have hygiene issues, but because we find the format very difficult to use and often complete overkill, especially for data services like ours.