This is bad. And less transparent. And less distributed. And more expensive.
But as long as we save one child... I mean, as long as at least one person makes a boat load of money, it will be worth it.
dig @a.gtld-servers.net example.com in soa
If you don't get NXDOMAIN then it's registered.
Until they start serving search adds instead...
Have you tried searching for a WHOIS record lately? Well over 90% of the records I have searched for in the past 2-3 years have been intentionally obfuscated by various systems as it is. This only accelerates their profits. This is, of course, the only thing the guys at ICANN have been interested in for some time (remember the auctions for gTLDs?).
Actually, yes. And for finding out who owns an IP block it is still surprisingly complete. I will sure miss being able to find complete netblocks to blackhole in the firewall.
Here's your answer:
"Requestors" – people who want to query the data maintained by ARDS – would have to apply for the right to access domain information.
Basically, they'd be extracting a licensing fee from the current people you go to for WHOIS lookups. Arguably this could be called "killing" WHOIS since it means taking away its... free spirit.
But how does my CLI pay the fee?
Take an astronaut to launch.