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I registered a new domain name a few days ago. Since then I've been getting quite a few e-mails advertising web development services to me.

It is clear to me where those companies got my e-mail from (namely via a WHOIS query). But how do they know that my domain name is a new one in the first place? Is there some public registry of recently registered domain names?

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    Short and simple answer. Some registries lease access to registrations, drops, and any other changes. Otherwise, if your domain name consists of recognized terms and common names, something similar to password cracking exists where queries based upon algorithms ferret out new domain names fairly fast. However, this requires a DNS that allows endless streams of queries. Most ISPs and telecos no longer allow this. It is possible to round-robin a bunch or anonymous proxies to bounce the queries off of, however, these too get shut down fairly quickly. Cheers!! – closetnoc Oct 19 '16 at 22:24
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Accredited registrars can access registry zone files in most cases. Zone files contain the list of all registered domains.

Depending on the registry, the list may be sorted by registration date, and/or periodically updated.

Long story short, that list could be (ab)used to determine new registrations. Once done, it's possible to fetch the details of the contact from the WHOIS and spam the new domain owner.

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