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Internet Governance: An Antispam Perspective

All those Internet Governance pundits who track ICANN the way paparazzi track Paris Hilton are barking up the wrong tree. They've mistaken the Department of Street Signs for the whole of the state. The real action involves words like rbldnsd, content filtering, and webs of trust. Welcome to the Internet! What's on the menu today? Spam, with some phish on the side! We've got email spam, Usenet spam, IRC spam, IM spam, Jabber spam, Web spam, blogs spam, and spam splogs. And next week we'll have some brand new VoIP spam for you. Now that we're a few years into the Cambrian explosion of messaging protocols, I'd like to present a few observations around a theme and offer some suggestions. more»

The Problem With HTTPS SSL Runs Deeper Than MD5

The recent research highlighting the alarming practice of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate Authority (CA) vendors using the MD5 hashing algorithm (which was known to be broken since 2005) has shown a major crack in the foundation of the Web. While the latest research has shown that fake SSL certificates with MD5 hashes can be forged to perfection when the CA (such as VeriSign's RapidSSL) uses predictable certificate fields, the bigger problem is that the web has fundamentally botched secure authentication. more»

Why New TLDs Don't Matter

Lost amid the furor about ICANN's rule change that may (or may not) lead to a flood of TLDs is the uncomfortable fact that almost without exception, the new TLDs created since 2000 have been utter failures. Other than perhaps .cat and .mobi, they've missed their estimates of the number of registrations by orders of magnitude, and they haven't gotten mindshare in the target community. So what went wrong? more»

Bringing Order to The World's Cybrary: New TLDs Make Sense to Organize the Chaos of the Internet

There has been considerable debate on whether the Internet needs new Top Level Domains. Advertising advocacy groups have objected to the expense of re-investment in online branding. There's a lot of work involved in telling the world .BEYONCE is where you will now find all official Beyonce related information. I'm wondering, why would anyone object to some order being applied to the internet? more»

Will Anyone Qualify As a Community TLD?

Some Top-Level Domain (TLD) applicants have been saying that they're "community" applications, which means that would avoid an auction and prevail over even deep-pocketed competitors. But according to ICANN's Applicant Guidebook, very few if any applications will qualify as a community. If you're an applicant who's been telling your supporters or investors that you're going to win because you're a community, you might want to take a step back. more»

Putting String Similarity into Context: Bulgaria's IDN (.бг) vs. Brazil's ccTLD (.br)

Bulgaria is a nation which is directly impacted by the current Fast Track automatic disqualification when Top-Level Domain (TLD) strings are "confusingly similar" to other TLDs, in this case an Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). Bulgaria has already been declined twice (in late 2009, and in May of 2010) to register the *.бг Cyrillic IDN on the premise that it looks confusingly similar to Brazil's *.br ASCII TLD. Being a native Bulgarian, I did not see how these two strings are similar more»

Google's Top-10 Search Terms Dominated By Trademarks

According to Google's 2006 Year-End Review, dubbed Zeitgeist, or the cultural climate of an era, a majority of the top-ten search terms for 2006 were trademarks. Topping the list is the registered BEBO mark which is held by Bebo.com LLC, a California company that runs a social networking website. Second on the list was MYSPACE, the registered mark associated with Newscorp's $580 million social-networking giant. Next, as a result of a majority of the world catching soccer fever over the summer, "world cup" ranked as the third most searched term... more»

Think China Is the Highest Spamming Country? Think Again

In my department, we block about 92% of our total email (around 2.5 billion per day) at the network edge without accepting the message. When we do that, we don't see any traffic from that IP anymore and don't keep stats on it due to the overwhelming volume of mail. However, we do keep stats on mail that we block with our content filter. I decided to go and calculate how much spam we receive from each country by mapping the source IP back to its source country... more»

Inside Bitcoins

Electronic money is not a new idea. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter 35 years ago (1978). Other forms of electronic money include payment processors, direct deposit, and digital currencies such as Bitcoin. What distinguishes Bitcoin from other electronic money is that it is a cryptocurrency... Will Bitcoin replace the dollar, euro, yen, franc, kroner, et al? Possible, but most authorities seem to be saying it is doubtful. more»

Why Brands Need Their Own TLD - The Mulberry-Sale Site that Scammed Me

As a seasoned internet user, even an old 'Domainer', I was there when ICANN launched the first round of New TLDs. I remember the criticism we received from the media back then. We were invited to countless roundtable discussions, press conferences, and local internet events at which we were expected to answer the key media question: "Why are new TLDs necessary?" Dot BIZ, .INFO, and four more were the test bed new TLDs -- I represented .BIZ in EMEA. more»

Will Splogs Kill .INFO Domains?

An article in the September issue of Wired explores search spam and the role of .info domain names. The article, titled "Spam + Blogs = Trouble" is a good overview of the problems of search spam, blog spam, and other various forms of web activity designed to take advantage of search engines. (The article will be online September 5, but you can read it on page 104 of the print edition that is available to subscribers now). For those not versed in search spam, it's basically creating multiple websites, typically auto-generated by computers, to get good search rankings and then monetize the resulting search traffic through AdSense or affiliate programs. The article focuses much of its attention to splogs, or auto-generated blogs... more»

Google: Not All ccTLD's Are Created Equally in Generic Search Rankings

There is a very interesting video posted on YouTube.com from Matt Cutts of Google who answered the question about how ccTLD's are viewed by Google especially when they are being used as domain hacks. Here is the question: "We have a vanity domain (http://ran.ge) that unfortunately isn't one of the generic TLDs, which means we can't set our geographic target in Webmaster Tools. Is there any way to still target our proper location?" more»

Apple's PR Nightmare: Open and "Fragmented" vs. Closed and "Integrated"

Over the weekend, I opined that closed app stores - meaning app stores, like iTunes, that restrict users from loading software from other sources (known as sideloading) - would not survive in a market where comparable alternatives, such as Google's Android OS, exist in an open ecosystem. In Apple's Q3 earnings call yesterday, Steve Jobs addressed the issue square on. more»

Why App Stores Won't Survive

The recent news that online retailing giant Amazon.com would open an app store to compete with Google's Android Market has set off a flurry of speculation about the future app store landscape. Within the next few months there will be no fewer than three major Android app stores... Several other major players have announced app store intentions though specifics are lacking. And of course, there are existing independent app stores that publish Android apps, such as GetJar, SlideMe and Appbrain. more»

How Do You Do Secure Bank Transactions on the Internet?

Banks love it when their customers do their transactions on line, since it is so much cheaper than when they use a bank-provided ATM, a phone call center, or, perish forbid, a live human teller. Customers like it too, since bank web sites are usually open 24/7, there's no line and no need to find a parking place. Unfortunately, crooks like on line banking too, since it offers the possibility of stealing lots of money. How can banks make their on line transactions more secure? more»