Cautionary Tale: Registrars get rich by screwing you out of money
My first foray into web design included a site with a handful of issues. The original designer/developer created it as a one-off and he didn't bother to mention to the owner that the name would expire in 2 years.
When I stepped in to take over, the name had expired and the registrar (InterNIC) was charging $250 USD to get it back. The site at the time was a general static business site that didn't have a big enough following to warrant the price of the .com name so we opted to move to .net. All in all, it took 5 years before the registrar finally released the name so we could finally recover it.
tl;dr: Don't trust registrars.
Considering the emergence of Domain Front Running:
This is where a domain registrar or an intermediary (like a domain lookup site) mines the searches for possibly attractive domains and then either sells the data to a third-party, or goes ahead and registers the name themselves ahead of you. In one case a registrar took advantage of what's known as the "grace period" and registered every single domain users looked up through them and held on to them for 5 days before releasing them back into the pool at no cost to themselves.
I have good reason to distrust 3rd party registrars. To compensate, I only use the whois of the TLD owner to do domain searches.
I have been using verisign to look-up .com/.net domains for years now but what I'd like to know is:
Who owns the following TLDs and where can I find their Whois search: