The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Monday, July 10, 2006

New DNS servers to help fight fraud and spam?

Interesting article in WiReD this morning. A new service, called OpenDNS is launching which is an alternative service to the DNS servers you're currently using. The advantages is that the database is being purged of phishes, frauds, and (hopefully soon) typo-squatters. IP caching is used to help popular sites load faster. Common typos are corrected for you.

The company will make its money by redirecting non-existent domain names to advertising pages, much as Verisign tried to do three years ago. The tactic was considered unethical and was condemned by ICANN when Verisign did it, but perhaps the market will be more accepting of OpenDNS because a) they're a DNS service not a registrar, and b) because it's strictly opt-in.

The comments on Slashdot have been mostly negative, pointing out all the ways in which this violates networking standards, may break existing infrastructure, lead to confusion, and win the war for the axis. The fact that spamming and phishing are being replaced with on-line advertising is not considered a great improvement.

Perhaps the biggest fear, at least for me, is that this is also a tool for censorship. Let's see if sites critical of OpenDNS have trouble loading in the future.

As for me, I think it's a good idea with some real potential. Let's see how things play out in the real world.


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