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Domain Name Lessons from Napster

I first outline a brief history of free file-sharing technology, then draw some general and domain name lessons, then outline the what, how, and why that make your activism effective and necessary... The domain name industry is decentralized and atomic in that anyone from anywhere in the world can register a domain name, keep the ownershp name and address private, and host it from a country where the U.S. and European legal systems don't apply. Thus, legal action will only drive domain owners further underground. more»

New gTLDs String Theory for Bidders

The following is most of the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) strings applied for in the 2000 and 2003 applications. Some are two, and even one character ASCII strings. Some have since been approved, or disapproved (which of course means nothing in the 2008 round). It is a universe of 180 strings. Enjoy. more»

Chrome: Getting Microsoft's Goat

Historically there has been nothing which gets Microsoft's attention as fast as a platform for applications which threatens Windows dominance. Google's Chrome is obviously such a platform; Google can afford to challenge Microsoft; it's healthy for innovation that it does. Can Microsoft still rise to the challenge? Way back when I was at Microsoft -- 1991 to 1994, Lotus Notes was the threat du jour... Since I was responsible for the development of what was to become Microsoft Exchange, I was in charge of that war for a while... more»

New gTLDs Questions Not Answered: Which Kind of Auction?

I was expecting something that would discuss the unique properties, if any, of the domain name market, and the types of inventory theoretically available to allocate, and the expected outcomes for the various types of auctions, and some showing that for some desired policy goals, whether greatest gain to seller or lowest loss to buyer, or something entirely different, the expected outcomes. This would assist the better informed, bottom-up, stakeholder-driven, consensus policy making. Is the domain name market indistinguishable from the spectrum market? If name spaces are distinguishable from units of spectrum... more»

Copycat Web Malware Exploitation Kits are Faddish

or the cheap cybercriminals not wanting to invest a couple of thousand dollars into purchasing a cutting edge web malware exploitation kit with all the related and royalty free updates coming with it (a pirated copy of which they could ironically obtain several moths later), there are always the copycat malware kits... Taking into consideration the proprietary nature of some of the kits, the business model of malware kits was mostly relying on their exclusive nature next to the number, and diversity of the exploits included in order to improve the infection rate. This simplistic assumption on behalf of the coders totally ignored the possibility of their kits leaking to the general public... more»

Do "brandsucks.com" Names Really Have a "Destructive Potential"?

"'Sucks.com is the rightmost anchor of nearly 20,000 domains registered today. Two thousand domains have 'stinks.com' on the right and about the same number of domains begin with the term 'boycott'," write the authors of the recently released paper The Power of Internet Gripe Sites. According to their (interesting) study, 35% of the "brandsucks" domains are owned by the brand while 45% are available for registration. They thus advise brand owners "to take a serious look at the traffic that these names garner and the kind of unique marketing opportunity they can afford." ...I do not fully agree with their conclusions... more»

New Geographical Top-Level Domains and Auctions

I was surprised by ICANN's "Economic Case for Auctions in New gTLDs" paper especially with view to the latest presentation on the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) implementation process in Paris. That Paris presentation highlighted the protection of community interests such as religious organisations, geographically based communities or indigenous groups and suggested a preference of bona fide community-based applicants against pure generic applications for the same string. Contrary to this the only text passage in the current paper where ICANN considered the community-based applicants is "a 25% bidding credit could be offered to community-based bidders whose community is located primarily in least-developed countries". This reminds me of the discussion on discounts for HIV medicine... more»

Public Sharing and a New Strategy in Fighting Cyber Crime

A couple of years ago I started a mailing list where folks not necessarily involved with the vetted, trusted, closed and snobbish circles of cyber crime fighting (some founded by me) could share information and be informed of threats. In this post I explore some of the history behind information sharing online, and explain the concept behind the botnets mailing list... we may not be able to always share our resources, but it is time to change the tide of the cyber crime war, and strategize. One of the strategies we need to use, or at least try, is public information sharing of "lesser evils" already in the public domain. more»

ICANN Auctioning New Top-Level Domains: Serving Public Interest or Its Own?

ICANN has recently published a number of updates to the implementation program for new gTLDs. One of these updates is a paper by ICANN's "auction design consultant PowerAuctions LLC". The document makes a case for an auction to be held for the "resolution of contention among competing new gTLD applicants for identical or similar strings." In other words, two (or more) applicants for ".bank", or applicants for ".bank" and ".banks."... more»

Aircell vs. VoIP

Last week American Airlines launched their Aircell wireless Internet access on a limited number of flights. It didn't take long before a few folks tried to make voice and video calls (in violation of Aircell's terms-of-service according to their PR folks), and it didn't take long before someone figured a way around their voice/video blocking efforts. more»

IPv6's Long March

With the thousands of IPv6 controlled lights dimming over the 2008 Olympics, the long march on the road to IPv6 continues as the Olympic IPv6 Workout enters history. The early objective of full commercial deployment for 2008 proved elusive and more realistic goals were set and met with success. Not wasting any time, the starting shot toward commercial deployment followed on the heels of the closing ceremony with the august 25th announcement... more»

How Rise in Nationalism and Industry's Lack of Foresight Could Mean a Fragmented and Isolated Web

I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of the free flow of information on the internet -- what kinds of tools are available now and in the future for governments (especially repressive ones) to control content, isolate their people and keep any contrary viewpoints censored. I had an interesting conversation with a Practice Lead from IFTF.org. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a California based independent, nonprofit research group with 40 years of experience in identifying emerging trends that will transform global society... Turns out they are quite concerned about the fragmentation and control of the Internet as well. But will it be an inevitability? more»

Thoughts on the Best Western Compromise

The Sunday Herald reported on Sunday that Best Western was struck by a trojan attack that lead to the possible compromise of about 8 million victims. There is some debate as to the extent of the breach and not a small amount of rumor going around. I'm not entirely disposed to trust corporate press releases for the facts, nor am I going to blindly accept claims of security researchers whose first call is to the PR team when discovering a problem. That said, here is what seems to be the agreed upon facts... more»

New gTLDs: Comments on the Unsigned "The Economic Case for Auctions"

When Kurt Pritz briefed the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council (and observers) in Los Angeles April 10th and 11th, the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) process model flows transition through an "auction" state in two of the three paths where two or more applications existed for the same (or similar) strings. At that time Kurt, speaking for Staff, was clear that the existence of a well-defined community was not dispositive, which surprised the Council members from the Intellectual Property Constituency... more»

Spam Fighters: Revenge is a Dish Best Left in the Freezer and Forgotten

There's no denying that the fight against spam attracts a lot of crazies, both pro- and anti-spam. One of the common attributes of the anti-spam kooks is that they often think in terms of somehow taking revenge against the spammers -- regardless of who else gets hurt along the way. In 2005, that revenge came in the form of BlueFrog, a service which purported to launch what can only be called denial of service attacks against spammers' web sites... This week, a company called SpamZa was hurriedly making a similar mistake... more»

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