I haven't ever been able to make the smtp verify thing work...not sure I even know what it's supposed to do. The email parser is cool but I learned how do to do it so I don't need it anymore. Traceroute is great and the whois is indispensable and if you couple it with this tool [rwhois.net]....you be a bad dude.
Unfortunately, I am woefully ignorant of the entire mess...:)
Not really. I like the whois stuff, and I heard about the rwhois from somebody else here.
As far as tricks with it, not really. I'm too busy hip deep in research these days. Did you read the paper on the PageRank algo? Still trying to figure that out, along with the recent George W bush ranking, I've got some work to do :)
I've read so many stupid research papers lately...got a url for it? I probably have read it if someone here pointed it out. I usually go get them and print them out and put 'em in the stack to read.
Theres another tool at tamosoft.com thats really good too. It costs about $30 tho. SmartWhois.
PageRank...I think they intentionally set the damping factor to random values inside subsets of keyword and/or "themes" according to the phase of the moon...almost impossible to predict with differing weights across different searches.