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Real Names Keywords vs DNS?

By nqnz in Internet
Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 09:30:47 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

Are companies going to dump DNS for a easier to use proprietary web navigation tool?

Last week I attended a European ISP conference. There was a very interesting presentation from a company called Real Names that is offering a product which sits over DNS. It is scary because a) they own it b) it is such an attractive marketing proposition and c) they have an alliance in place with Microsoft.

Basically the service seems to work like this. You buy a word or word combination from Real Names and link it to a url. If a user types this name into the address section of a recent version of IE they get directed to the web page that you specified.

Try it. If you have IE 5.something type in 'ford explorer' in the address section. This works because Real Names has done a deal with Microsoft and seeing IE has 90%+ browser market share most users can do this (or will be able to if they upgrade.)

Not only do you pay Real Names for the word -> url link but you also can get charged a per hit fee (if more users use your keyword than your limit.)

Now having seen it demoed I can tell you it would be such an easy sell to the corporate world. 'Don't bother about registering your domain name in every country just get a real name. You can link straight to a product - no need to ask users to type www.company.com/product/info'

My concern is that this would in some sense replace a core internet service with a proprietary technology. Do readers see this sort of thing as a threat to the open standards and philosophy that has built the web? Or is it an over ambitious attempt that won't end in anything?

I was surprised that I had never heard of this before. Are Real Name keywords bigger in the US?


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Real Names Keywords vs DNS? | 67 comments (67 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I prefer Copernic 2000 (1.76 / 13) (#1)
by NKJensen on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 05:53:37 AM EST

I use an add on program, Copernic 2000, which takes the query to a lot of search engines instead of the default Real Names search. I like it better than realnames since it also finds the horror stories about this or that.
From Denmark. I like it, I live there. France is another great place.
just toys (2.84 / 13) (#2)
by tokage on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 06:46:23 AM EST

I've seen but not looked into such thing as internet keywords etc until tonight. I think they're just fluff though, for AOL type users. They work on top of DNS, which cannot easily be replaced, and definetly not by key/real words. DNS and the internet are so inextractibly linked, I don't see it being replaced with some major infrastructure type changes, with tcp/ip etc. You could perhaps use something like realword to point to an IP and replace DNS, but it'd be really inefficient and pointless, when dns already exists and functions well enough. Keywords are kind of cool IMO, sometimes finding what you want online can be a pain, even if you know specifically what it is you're looking for. The only thing that bothers me is products like realword which use common household names/slogans will contribute(or at least not decrease) the amount of mindless dumb annoying slogans and advertisments in the world. Advertising is so annoying, on so many levels..how bright and loud it all is, to attract our attention..how it catagorizes people into demographics then tries to appeal to those markets etc. I dislike being reduced to an equation, to be exploited in whatever manner corporations feel will make them money. We're all running around making money by selling each other stuff we don't need, and convincing ourselves that we -have- to have these things(tech toys excluded, of course:P).

Technologies like keywords, bluetooth http://www.bluetooth.com and the like which add convenience and make things easier also give us less control over what exactly is going on, and leaves us vunerable to things like constant advertising, abuse by corporate powers, etc. Just a few random thoughts at 3:45am:)

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

Domains -> subdomains (2.83 / 12) (#3)
by Beorn on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 07:07:51 AM EST

I doubt alternative naming systems will gain support unless they're completely compatible with DNS. Even if IE5 supports RealNames, it may take years before a majority of IE users actually upgrades to IE5, and even 90% isn't good enough, so you'd need a regular domain as well. Then what would be the point?

My guess is that when there are no more sensible domain names left, new companies will use subdomains of their server / connection / software provider. This would allow for a domain name itself to indicate the quality of the service the site provides. Anyone can get a .com, but can anyone get a .sometrustedcompany.com?

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

I don't see a major problem here (3.00 / 16) (#4)
by Toojays on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 07:30:40 AM EST

Real Names isn't competing with DNS, Real Names uses DNS. So it's not like they are going to somehow "control" the internet with this. Even if it were exclusive to IE, it wouldn't be long before the other browsers had code to either clone IE's request to Real Names or just look it up in some other database. The only thing this will do is make things more convenient for consumers and make Real Names some money. I'm sure we wont see DNS phased out at all, in fact this is really only useful for HTTP. For all the other protocols (even FTP) people will still need the precision of DNS. There could be an issue with what Real Names does with the responsibility of owning a namespace. I don't think there is a legal reason as to why they couldn't sell "ford explorer" to General Motors, unless WIPO decide otherwise (can they do that?). It's just an entry in their database, but they would have serious credibility problems if they did stuff like that, so I doubt that we'll see that happening.

Re: I don't see a major problem here (2.00 / 1) (#38)
by nutate on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:39:57 PM EST

keywords.netscape.com has already duplicated the functionality, this is not a MS thing. It's an industry thang, some companies are playing, some aren't.

[ Parent ]

Re: I don't see a major problem here (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by nutate on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:41:23 PM EST

Err... i should clarify, typeing 'ford explorer' into netscape in linux does the same thing as it does in ms ie under windows. and it does so by referencing keywords.netscape.com

[ Parent ]

keywords.netscape.com - non-existant host/domain (none / 0) (#53)
by kmself on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 03:15:50 AM EST

Watchyew smokin', Lewis?

Netscape utilizes, AFAIK, Google, and dMoz, the Open Directory Project, for searches. There's a keywords option in Netscape Navigator (which I disable -- I don't trust sponsored search results). There is, AFAICT, no "keywords.netscape.com".

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

keyword.netscape.com (not keywords) (none / 0) (#63)
by nutate on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 12:49:22 PM EST

Name: keyword.netscape.com

sorry... it's keyword not keywords.

but yeah... anyhow, i think the point is moot and useless anyway.

and I haven't been smoking too much lately

[ Parent ]
heh (1.17 / 17) (#5)
by acb on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 07:32:06 AM EST

yet another way for them to make money

i dunno, this just seems awfully stupid, but i can't think of the words to expand on this at the moment.

heh, i do like the instant suspect thinking as soon as microsoft appears to be involved - conspiracy theory come to mind anyone? :P


--- acb #kuro5hin
A Positive Thing! (2.82 / 17) (#6)
by WWWWolf on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 08:36:21 AM EST

Just yesterday before I fell asleep, I had a horrible thought.

Corporations are domain-greedy. They might register a domain for every one of their products. This would lead also to registering of things like misspelled product names, or product-sux0rz.{com,net,org}.

But this is costly. What would be their next move? What would stop the corporations with a lot muscle from becoming domain registrars and handle their doman pollution all of their own?

Ugh. Someone please tell the corporations that Domain Space Pollution Is Not Cool, Honest.

I think this RealName idea is good, for various reasons - because the .com/.net/.org DNS space is so horribly cluttered with crap.

So what would this RealName thing do? Or a "free equivalent"? Or Netscape's "Internet Keywords"? Imagine the user's reactions:

  • "I typed 'Acme Spellchecker' and it jumped to http://www.acme-computing.com/products/spellchecker/ - great!"
  • "I typed 'Machosoft Download Assistant', but it didn't find anything [not registered keyword], but I found it from Machosoft's web site anyway.

I guess people don't care if they need to type the company's name or the products name, if they really want to find more information about some product from the Internet. People don't care where the information is, as long as it's possible for them to find it with relative ease.

  • "Now what was the company that made Flash? Uh, Macromedia? I wonder if there's anything about it in macromedia.com."
  • "Who made this Webwasher program, again? Dammit, can't remember, but I guess Yahoo has a link, and maybe it's available in Tucows."

But try to tell that to the corporations... "If The Boss can't remember our domain name but can remember product.com, we'll get product.com." =)

If there's anything that would lessen the corporate stupidity of registering every domain name that even sounds like the product... We're Happy To Accept It. DNS space should be for bigger entities (like corporations themselves), not for related concepts (like the products that companies make).

And I don't think this thing will lessen the popularity of DNS... and I'm quite sure "open" alternatives will surface, eventually, if the concept will catch on.

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

Re: A Positive Thing! (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by mbishop314 on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 01:12:32 PM EST

Another way of thinking about this is to realize that companies are "polluting the namespace" because DNS is being used for something it was not designed to do.

DNS was a system designed to map between host names and IP addresses. It was not designed to be used to create pointers to information. However, with the web, people have been using domain names as pointers to information. This is not what the system was designed to do but something that it could be subverted to do, and that is what all those extra-name registrations are doing.

We really want something like RN (though perhaps not managed by a single company ... a la InterNIC) so that we don't need to worry about this. If you think about it, Yahoo, DMOZ and various search engines are just ways of trying to do this.

[ Parent ]

Might be a good thing (1.86 / 15) (#7)
by uweber on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 08:44:34 AM EST

Something like this could be a good thing to counter the ever greater drive to register every domain somwhat related to some company, because now it would not matter if for example volkswagen would not register der-neue-passat.de to promote next years model because the user could just type in passat and would be right there (i doubt anyone else would want to sell a windsystem:-).

God damn this innovation crap (2.53 / 15) (#8)
by Defect on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 08:45:56 AM EST

I always hated how TV commercials stated "... or use AOL keyword 'blahblah'." We don't need any fricken keywords. What's the next step? Have every URL show up in a friendly Explorer interface?

"Let me just go click on my 'kuro5hin' folder and see how the latest discussion is going"

I am not an advocate for idiot-izing the web in any way and this seems like a huge step in that direction. New TLD's are being proposed for a reason, not so that more companies can buy them all up and then map the phrase "24 Hour Erection Drug" from the IE bar to their site.

If the internet stopped being so user friendly we'd stop having to worry about complete morons taking advantage of it.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Re: God damn this innovation crap (1.71 / 7) (#9)
by squigly on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 08:57:57 AM EST

IMHO, the web is idiotised, and was ever since the first person put up a photo of themselves. It was never really esigned for techies.

While we're at it, its no major issue to create a kuro5hin link on the desktop using kde.

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Re: God damn this innovation crap (2.66 / 6) (#13)
by Beorn on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 09:51:18 AM EST

IMHO, the web is idiotised, and was ever since the first person put up a photo of themselves. It was never really esigned for techies.

Yeah, we don't want the peasants to have access to free, unlimited information, now do we?

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

Re: God damn this innovation crap (2.20 / 5) (#14)
by squigly on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 10:04:09 AM EST

There's nothing wrong with the web being idiotised. Ease of use is a good thing.

(Although for free unlimited information - A random number generator will give you that. And overall it would probably be more accurate . God I'm cynical.)

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Re: God damn this innovation crap (1.20 / 5) (#17)
by Beorn on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 10:55:48 AM EST

There's nothing wrong with the web being idiotised. Ease of use is a good thing.

My point exactly. :)

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]
[ Parent ]

24 Hour Erection Drug (2.00 / 3) (#25)
by jxqvg on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 01:01:09 PM EST

Hmm... no results on IE5.5. Register your product with RealNames today!

[ Parent ]
Google and Altavista use Real Names too. (3.38 / 13) (#10)
by i on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 09:12:53 AM EST

Just search for "Ford Explorer" -- the very first link is marked with the superscript RN on Google, and with an arrow-and-target graphic on Altavista. Those links are by RN. Many other search engines/portals that I never use are also reportedly RN's partners. So yes, I'd say RN are big.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

We need decentralized (p2p) naming services (2.45 / 11) (#11)
by DontTreadOnMe on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 09:30:57 AM EST

Until we come up with a decentralized alternative to DNS (preferably something with peer to peer qualities, perhaps a hybrid heiarchical system with peer-to-peer features at each level of the heiarchy) we will have problems like this. Whether it is Real Names, ICANN, or Microsoft, somebody, somewhere, will always be in a position of near-monopolistic control of a centralized naming system. Such a situation is fraught with opportunity for abuse, and will almost certainly be abused as such power inevitably corrupts. Rather than bitching about RN or ICANN we should be developing a decentralized alternative to DNS.
http://openflick.org - Fighting Copyright with Free Media
Re: We need decentralized (p2p) naming services (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by GeekLawyer on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 04:57:58 PM EST

A system like this already exists. alternic.
They are having some trouble i think getting sysadmins to point nameservers to them though.
watch the hopes and dreams of your youth shatter:
endure the interminable decades....
die alone and anonymous

[ Parent ]
Re: We need decentralized (p2p) naming services (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by YellowBook on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 05:23:35 PM EST

<blockquote type="cite"> A system like this already exists. alternic.

Alternic is not "a decentralized alternative to DNS" (to quote the other poster). Alternic is a for-profit company serving their own set of (not-widely-recognized) top-level domains (i.e., an alternative DNS provider).

A more decentralized, open alternative DNS is <a href="http://www.opennic.unrated.net/>OpenNIC. Note that I say "alternative DNS" and not "alternative to DNS". OpenNIC uses DNS, but provides its own root servers with a democratic process for assigning names and preventing namespace pollution.

One of the main ideas in OpenNIC is "no generic TLDs". Every top-level domain is chartered, and only domains that meet the charter of that domain can be registered within that domain. This is to prevent the "register every permutation of my trademark" syndrome that's prevalent in ICANN's DNS.

[ Parent ]
Re: We need decentralized (p2p) naming services (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by mindstrm on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 11:52:28 AM EST

Alternic is *not* decentralized, and is not really any different than the current system.

[ Parent ]
blush !!! (none / 0) (#65)
by GeekLawyer on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 10:13:41 AM EST

oops, didnt read all the comment before replying. doh. forget what i said.
watch the hopes and dreams of your youth shatter:
endure the interminable decades....
die alone and anonymous

[ Parent ]
Why so damn decentralized.... (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by 11oh8 on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 07:42:53 PM EST

Alright, Napster is cool.. Seti@Home is cool... but not everything in the world needs to be so damn P2P.... and DNS is already pretty distributed.. the root servers are centralized but after that, everybody controls their own nameservers....

Centralization does give monopoly-type power to one organization (for profit or otherwise) but it also guarantees credibility.. What if we had a P2P type DNS as you suggest.. then it would be even easier for a company (let's say Microsoft since that's the target of everyone's conspiracy theories) to manipulate nameservers.. Say, MS runs a LOT of servers that are part of this P2P network.. They decide that linux.com should instead point to linuxsucks.microsoft.com... It would be very easy for them to do that and as a user, it would be difficult for me to prevent that...


[ Parent ]
Surely not a problem? (3.20 / 15) (#12)
by henley_regatta on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 09:46:34 AM EST

I can't see the problem here. What's the difference between typing a keyword in the URL bar compared to typing it into Google, or AltaVista, or Yahoo etc etc etc?

The service runs on top of DNS, so it's an extension not a replacement; no standards are at risk.

Sure, it's proprietary - but then so are all those search engines we love!

Re: Surely not a problem? (3.50 / 4) (#20)
by nutate on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 11:39:42 AM EST

I must agree wholeheartedly. When google was slightly more nascent, the RN used to say Real Names. So what if a company has found a way to make money off of other companies by "web trademarking" their product names. More power to them, a lot of companies don't use it (search for walkman on google, sony comes up second... ) Also, a search for 'Dodge Ram' for example doesn't lead me to a specific new IP/hostname for the vehicle, it merely gives me a link to the page within www.4adodge.com ... Overall, I think the point of the web has and always will be simplification of access to information.

This service isn't just commercial, (search for red cross on google), but I do wonder how much it costs them... Personally, I don't recall ever needing to click on the RealName link, but I'm sure it simplifies things for people looking for product brochures, etc. on the web. Certainly this is utter schlock compared to something like MathML support in standard browsers, but their isn't anything inherently bad or subversive about it.

[ Parent ]

Proprietary? (2.00 / 2) (#27)
by holdfast on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 01:55:39 PM EST

I use Google - and advise everyone who asks me about search engines to do as well.
I thought it ran on Linux. As far as I know only Micro$oft describes that as proprietary!

"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Re: Proprietary? (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by Broco on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 05:15:05 PM EST

I thought it ran on Linux. As far as I know only Micro$oft describes that as proprietary!

By that logic, you could say Windows is open because it runs on the open x86 platform, or that Hotmail was open because it ran on BSD. Google provides search services, and the software that does the searching is closed, so Google (and every other popular search engine) is definitely proprietary.

Speaking of which, I wonder how RMS goes about finding stuff on the Internet. And he must be scared every time he connects to a site in case it is running a proprietary web server and he is inadvertently supporting closed software. IMHO, it's best not to worry too much about whether or not software is open :).

Klingon function calls do not have "parameters" - they have "arguments" - and they ALWAYS WIN THEM.
[ Parent ]

RMS and Internet (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by kmself on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 03:11:49 AM EST

AFAIK, he doesn't.

The times I've communicated with him regarding a website, he's generally requested that content be mailed to him. I believe it's on account of his committment not to use any non-free software.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Nice Browser Enhancement, Not a Replacement of DNS (3.25 / 12) (#15)
by kunsan on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 10:06:38 AM EST

>>Do readers see this sort of thing as a threat to the
>>open standards and philosophy that has built the web?
>>Or is it an over ambitious attempt that won't end in


This is an easier (relative to your technical savvy) method to get information about commercial products straight from the horse's mouth (sorry for the American slang, but it fits). It is NOT a replacment for DNS.

As far as being overly ambitious, I do not know. However, I do think it is an idea that will succeed. In general, anything that makes life easier for Internet users (mostly www nowadays) will probably last, regardless of wether it is proprietary or open sourced.

Don't get all fired up just becuase MS is involved in this. In all probability, someone will reverse engineer this, port it to other browsers, and use it for non-corporate information.

With a gun in your mouth, you only speak in vowels -- Fight Club
Another Step towards an AOL'ed world (1.50 / 14) (#16)
by reverend_greg on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 10:08:39 AM EST

Keyword: A World of Computer Iliterate Dumbasses Who Wouldn't Know A Right-Click If It Bit Them In The Ars-Technica.

A form of censorship? (3.70 / 17) (#18)
by jabber on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 11:24:15 AM EST

Ok, so here's a thought: What if the default place that your browser/application looks is RN, and not DNS. What if RN remaps valid URLs to their client's 'paid-for' alternatives, such that www.linux.org is interpreted as "www.linug.org", a sting that is now associated with the URL www.microsoft.com/linux-myths.html? That's a bit extreme, but...

What if the same sort of URL for keyword substitution is done on a finer scale, so instead of finding a bug-list for ProductX version 1.2, you are redirected to a page that offers to sell you a competing product or an upgrade? All through the magic of RN, and IE's predominance.

The relatively few people who know about RealNames, and DNS for that matter, will be aware of the redirection potential, and will insist on using software that doesn't think FOR them. We already do this anyway. What about those people, the vast majority of PC users today, who simply don't know any better?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Re: A form of censorship? (4.00 / 2) (#51)
by kubalaaa on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 02:45:37 AM EST

I imagine whatever form of IP protection the courts imagine covers domain names would prevent this kind of hijacking; not to mention the huge uproar there would be. Maybe the linux geeks would be the first to complain, but nobody would be willing to use a browser that re-interpreted URLs for you. The most Microsoft could get away with is creating a faux-pro-linux site, filling it up with subtle propoganda, and registering it under the keyword Linux. But hey, what's to stop them from buying out Linux.com and doing the same thing? It's just not worth the risk of being found out.

The public's pretty stupid, but they don't like corporations proving it by pulling the wool over their eyes.

[ Parent ]

Privacy (3.42 / 14) (#19)
by thinthief on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 11:31:31 AM EST

Here's the problem. When you use internet keywords or "search with the address bar" (which you can diable in advanced internet options in IE, at least for now) you are basically just using a Microsoft owned search engine.

Basically they can track everything you search for, every site you try to reach, etc. It would be bad for any company to have this control, not just microsoft. At least when you're at yahoo.com it's obvious that yahoo knows what you click on. But people don't realize that IE is reporting all kinds of things they are doing to Microsoft (unless you disable all those options in the advanced tab, persumably).

It's one thing if when you type sex into the address bar the browser sticks a .com on the end like it used to. But it's another when the browser tells some centralized database that this IP address with this Browser asked for "sex" on this time and date, and oh, by the way, here's the whole cookie file with every site they visit, and here's their Windows product key, and here's all the software they have on their computer and here's all the files in the My Documents folder....

I'm over exadurating, of course, but we must stop these assults on our privacy when they are minor or else they will become major.

The one other problem I have is who gets to choose who gets what keywords. We have that problem with DNS now, but it will be even worse if the keyword system is controlled by a private corp without any accountablity to the gov't or the public.

Say I have a domain name, "purplefish.com" and then some company names itself PurpleFish. If they want my .com they have to go through some kind of offical process and argue/prove that they deserve it more than me.

If I have the Internet keyword PurpleFish, all they have to do is go to the company that owns internet keywords and say, hey, here's an extra 1000$ and they get the keyword purplefish. There are no recourse/options for people or companies without a lot of cash.

Sorry for the long post, but no one seems to have touched on these issues yet.

Old news (2.75 / 8) (#21)
by konstant on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 11:50:42 AM EST

RealNames has been around for a while. They used to have a deal with Altavista before that search engine went over to "editor's picks".

I wouldn't worry about them taking over the world. They've failed to do that for the last two years, so I expect they're either incompetent or possibly - wait for it - actually NOT part of a conspiracy to dominate the internet and rob you of your freedoms. I know that sounds crazy, but it's just a thought.

Re: Old news (2.66 / 3) (#23)
by thinthief on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 12:42:29 PM EST

I was not talking about Real Names specifically. In fact, I don't think realnames is what IE uses in America, but i could be wrong.

I was talking about the general concept of Internet Keywords. I'm not extremely worried about keywords taking over either, but if we wait until we are extremely worried to raise concerns about privacy, it may be to late.

[ Parent ]
Simple Solution: Use Dotted Quads. (2.42 / 7) (#22)
by jck2000 on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 12:02:57 PM EST

People should be using dotted quads, anyway (which I guess will someday be dotted hexes). Heck, 11-digit decimal numbers seem to work pretty well with phone numbers.

Of course, I am being facetious. I am surprised, however, I haven't heard of anyone trying to do a DNS-type substitution for phone numbers (though there are phone numbers that spell things (e.g., 1-800-BUY-TOYS)). I guess there are so many different phone numbers that no single number is important enough to draw attention to, whereas the top 100 or so web sites probably get 80%+ of the hits.

Re: Simple Solution: Use Dotted Quads. (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:08:25 PM EST

I have actually seen this - www.1800Flowers.com, for example. I've even seen TV offers, where the phone number to call also has 'www' and 'com' subscripts, so it is also used as the products domain name. Pretty smart, actually.
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]
Re: Simple Solution: Use Dotted Quads. (none / 0) (#59)
by mindstrm on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 11:51:15 AM EST

Actually, it'll be colon-hexes, (1234:4567:8FEB:4312:1235:2134:3423:3423)
With ':0000:' being abbreviated by '::'

The real problem is that DNS was not meant to be what it is today. It wasn't meant to be a universal lookup service for a billion websites, all with nice catchy names. It was meant to be heirarchial and to let people organize things at a network level, period.

[ Parent ]
BANGO# association etc. for WAP (none / 0) (#67)
by mv7 on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 12:59:27 PM EST

What about number-association, Bango#s...(Something like that.) They offer number-association with URLs in advance of WAP. In other words, you can type in 123 in the address and get directed to www.123.com. Typing in a long URL on a phone is sort of hard. And then there's cuecat. I see a lot of upstarts in regard to "convergence." I think there will be a winner here, someday, but that people shy away from something they fear might become a power baron, like NS. At the same time, you've got to have the right connections to garner acceptance. Maybe somebody could give me some more context here and fill in the blanks for me. Pluheese...

[ Parent ]
*yawn* Real names (4.06 / 16) (#24)
by mr on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 12:47:02 PM EST

> was surprised that I had never heard of this before. Are Real Name keywords bigger in the US?

Real Names tried to make a big splash for themselves 3-4 years ago. The only people who are buying into them (from what I can tell) is the big companies who spend $$$ on prime time television advertising. If the Real NAmes concept was working....you would have heard of it before now.

The real names logic is the same as buying the .tv domain, then telling people in the television industry that they should buy showname.tv domains, because .tv stands for television. Or the other .TLD's that say 'buy yourname.TLD so someone else doesn't.' FUD for marketers.

*IF* there were no search engines, the logic of real names would be great! But, with search engines, real names is an additional cost, with little benefit.

DNS (2.92 / 14) (#28)
by Signal 11 on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:09:35 PM EST

What you're really asking for is "How do we alleviate the congestion in the existing DNS hierarchy?" This keyword based system is just DNS, but with "www" and ".com" at the end scraped off. It won't do any good. What we really need is some kind of scope that we can apply dynamically - by geography, by content, by relevance, whatever. Like in C++ and most OOP languages, you have a scope to say what the variable applies to.

The DNS system desperately needs some kind of scoping mechanism to let us filter sites out while simultaniously allowing multiple sites with the same name to exist. Trademark law might help here, if we were to, say, break sites down into business categories. Then you'd select "Commercial - <class>" in a pulldown menu, and then search just within that scope.

~ Signal 11

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Re: DNS (2.33 / 3) (#29)
by aragorn on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:27:11 PM EST

That sounds basically the same as the idea of having more TLD's. (Except for the GUI). To sort of take your idea, maybe we could have a .auto TLD or even a .ford. Of course, then you start polluting the TLD namespace. Why not just have explorer.ford.com? Of course, since it seems like roughly half of the people on the internet have the intelligence of a turnip.... who knows.

[ Parent ]
Re: DNS (3.40 / 5) (#31)
by Red Moose on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:32:55 PM EST

On the topic of scraping off the "www" and "com" parts, I am becoming sick of "topics" being registered as .com domains. Companies should be forced to register the company name in the .com domain - be it .com.usa, .com.eu, or .com.wherever .

[ Parent ]
Re: DNS (the true question) (3.33 / 3) (#35)
by temujin on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:01:53 PM EST

I completely agree that DNS needs a replacement. The current namespace is polluted far beyond its original intent. Options? Usenet's naming convention seems to work and I'm sure there are plenty of other viable solutions, but the true question is enforcement. If you wish to create a cheap (free) directory, you'd need a fair amount of automation. How could you validate that an entity registering company FOO under the new .org was doing so under .org's intended (non-commerical) use?

In other words, the true question: How do you manage a centralized directory without a single point of authority?

Instead of hierarchy, what about anarchy?

You could argue that there's a need for both of these types of systems.

I'm very interested in this topic. Is anyone familiar with any ongoing research in a namespace system(s) that would suit today's (and tomorrow's) Internet? If not, want to start one?

[ Parent ]

Re: DNS (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by Simpleton on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 09:38:36 AM EST

I've been of the opinion that DNS, as an idea, has been broken from the point since it began being used on a large scale. DNS is basically a 1-to-1 mapping of name-to-ip. What you're suggesting--a scoping system of some sort, is basically just an extension of TLDs--which is basically what I always hear as a solution toward de-cluttering DNS. I think this is basically the wrong solution.

As I was saying, DNS is a 1-to-1 mapping system (code-wise, it is a hash with a character-string key... something like
look_up_ip( hostname );
). In my opinion, DNS should be more like a query into a database... a function of variable parameters:
look_up_ip( p1, p2, p3, ... );
where p1, p2, p3, ... are specifics relating to the site in question--that are intuitive and regulated. These could be given in dot-format. Order should not matter. If I wanted to find Coke's website, I would go to company.softdrink.coke, (or, well... coke.softdrink.company). Any softdrink made by a company would register the words 'company' and 'softdrink'. Any company based in a specific country would register that country's name as well (etc., etc., etc.) If, for example, company.softdrink was queried, though, I'd suggest a listing of sites that matched those keywords. The less specific the query, the more matches would be found... most likely a very small number of keywords (3-5, probably) would be needed to limit the results to just one site--and the names would be intuitive and (once you were familiar with the standards) obvious.

The requirement for a system like this would be real regulations--an approved set of catagories, the requirements that trademarks/names are registered only in combination with those catagories in which they apply, etc. With such a system, the URL of any company, person, government, etc, would be trivial. And space for new (and yet not garbled or overlong) domain names would be there for any entity that had a name/occupation/location/etc automatically.

[ Parent ]
XNS (2.25 / 4) (#30)
by swr on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:30:08 PM EST

This one looks interesting: XNS

Non-profit central authority, privacy guarantees, privacy enhancement / spam filtering, etc, etc. It looks like our best option, but it could take some time to catch on.

Re: XNS (2.20 / 5) (#33)
by Signal 11 on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:43:02 PM EST

XNS is proprietary.. they want to be the next network solutions. Like any "dot commie" dictator, once they're in power, they'll rewrite all the rules. Don't trust them. For that matter, don't trust DNS in general.. it's waaaay to political.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Re: XNS (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by swr on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 08:50:28 PM EST

XNS is proprietary.. they want to be the next network solutions. Like any "dot commie" dictator, once they're in power, they'll rewrite all the rules.

But XNS is non-profit. I would think that would make a big difference. Although the apparently close ties to OneName are interesting...

[ Parent ]
Hmm... (1.25 / 4) (#32)
by canthidefromme on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:33:55 PM EST

When I type 'Kuro5hin' in the address bar, and it took me to this site.

I assume that if type in any name, it will take me to the site. Or does k5 have a deal with the devil, or am I missing something?



Re: Hmm... (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 02:57:35 PM EST

Most browsers will attempt the .org .net .com TLD's before spitting out an error. Since there is no Kuro5hin.com (yet), you got the right site.
I'm not going out with a "meh". I plan to live, dammit. [ZorbaTHut]

[ Parent ]
Re: Hmm... (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by paranoidfish on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 05:15:26 AM EST

Since there is no Kuro5hin.com

There's no site, but Rusty already owns it, along with kuro5hin.net

[ Parent ]
Re: Hmm... (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by dead_radish on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:28:13 PM EST

You are - most browsers try to add www.X.com then .net, then. org if you type X.

But if you type in Barnes and Noble, you won't get www.bn.com - I would assume a real name would take you there. It's not just adding a .com, it's translating a word, or set of words, into a web address. You could link Hot Dog to www.food.com/choices/hotdog/ - just typing hotdog won't do that.

I knew I shoulda brought a crossbow. -- Largo. www.megatokyo.com
[ Parent ]

This is too AOLish for my tastes (2.00 / 4) (#43)
by nuggetman on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 05:26:53 PM EST

I'm sorry, but this just reek's of AOL's idea of making the world simpler by getting rid of www.com. In AOL's "Intro To Keywords" video they show how http://www.ebay.com/ is simplified to "eBay" as a keyword. Plus if this company can mass market this, you know that AOL is going to jump in and demand cash for idea stealing. Let's stick w/ our current www.com system - but give it a major overhaul.
- Colin
ICQ: 1826079
AIM: nuggetman 2000
E-Mail: nuggetman2000@mailandnews.com
I'd like to find your inner child and kick its little ass.
To pick some nits... (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by chuq_r on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 07:28:34 PM EST

AOL has actually had keywords for a very long time. Even before they had become a real ISP and were just a glorified BBS (which, I daresay, some would still say about them) they had that feature and many tech companies even at that time would set up an AOL Keyword to make it easy to navigate through their information boards. It wasn't really a feature that they came up with when they joined the 'net; just a feature they already had that worked pretty well when applied to the 'net.

I do agree that DNS needs a major overhaul. IM-not-so-HO, the DNS specification is somewhat incomplete or unclear at parts, and BIND isn't the greatest implementation of it that I've seen. Bugs, security problems and the like constantly plague it. (And since it's the de-facto standard, you see a lot of bug for bug compatibility with other DNS server software packages out there, too.) However, I'm not going to go into detail because it would both take far too long, and I want to give people the space to outright call me an idiot for not backing up my opinion with some proof. ;)

I don't see Real Names taking over the DNS service as it seems to really just be an extension to search engines. Alta Vista has used Real Names' service for quite a while. For just about every search you do, there's a box at the top of the resulting web page that shows if there was a Real Names result. It's actually even been useful to me in the past when I was explicitly trying to look up corporate-ish consumer-y type things. If companies want to pay Real Names to provide this service, I have no real problem with that. To me, it looks like yet another empty revenue model that everyone is so quick to fall for in this day of inflated stock prices in money-sink companies which don't turn profits, and business models that rarely work. If they want to throw their money away on that, they can go right ahead. *shrug*

Guess maybe I'm jaded about the business world...

[ Parent ]

Real Names work outside of IE. (3.00 / 5) (#44)
by zaugg on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 06:04:09 PM EST

I believe that most major search engines already support Real Names. (I only use Google myself.)

IE uses them as part of is url autosearch "feature." You can type any old combination of keywords in the address field, and it will search MSN, or a specified search engine.

So Real Names are just a way for parties to get top billing on search engines for a price -- not a serious competitor to DNS / URIs.


.sig free for eight months!

Dont need to pay (3.00 / 2) (#48)
by caled on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 10:12:24 PM EST

You don't have to pay, I just tried "kuro5hin" and it came just fine. It's kinda like the google "i feel lucky" button. Paying would just put you on the top of the list I guess, but thats useless if you are already there.

Re: Dont need to pay (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by rafael on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 01:58:32 AM EST

Isn't this the domain-autocomplete feature?

[ Parent ]
Re: Dont need to pay (none / 0) (#54)
by nuggetman on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 06:38:16 AM EST

No. Autocomplete is a feature coded into browsers by programmers. Real Names Keyword's is a feature stamped on top of DNS.
- Colin
ICQ: 1826079
AIM: nuggetman 2000
E-Mail: nuggetman2000@mailandnews.com
I'd like to find your inner child and kick its little ass.
[ Parent ]
Re: Dont need to pay (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by kubalaaa on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 02:38:44 AM EST

Don't be silly; that's just auto-complete; IE and Netscape will automatically turn "blah" into "www.blah.com" if it doesn't work otherwise. I think IE also goes through ".net" and ".org"

[ Parent ]
deciding what others are to think (4.50 / 2) (#56)
by Vspirit on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 10:25:19 AM EST

The threat in this system from Real Names is that it favours the idea of control.

In the scenario I am picturing, the mechanism will indirectly influence the choices of the users. It will appeal to large corporations, with enourmous capacities for marketing purposes. So instead of providing a technical superiour solution which actually helps the users to benefit, the solution is superior in marketing and the users will not get the results best for them, but the results best for the most paying corporation.

Sounds like a very appealing philosophy to a corporation such as Microsoft. Blindfolding and controlling.

If one wants to be innovative one are to create new technology. Creating closed systems is old technology. Be open.

Humm.. biased I may be, but so are the world to me.

why don't M$oft tale over DNS? (3.75 / 4) (#57)
by slapdash on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 10:25:38 AM EST

Realnames is old and pretty much useless. Just a company that wants to go IPO. The question is: why don't Microsoft just set up their own root servers and configure windows to use them as their nameservers? In a few months they can take over the vast majority of DNS and force everyone else to follow suit. Not a nice idea but I'm surprised they've never done it

Microsoft can't readily do that (2.00 / 2) (#64)
by Sam on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 06:29:31 PM EST

If Microsoft set up all the Windows desktops to directly query the root name servers, instead of querying from caching name servers as they currently do, there would be an outcry from the owners of the root name servers about all the extra traffic those queries generate.

99% of the desktop machines query their ISP's or their office's caching name servers instead of directly querying the root name servers. There is a good reason why it is this way.

- Sam
"Reality is the most perfect vision of God's will" -- Orson Scott Card
[ Parent ]
RealNames featured on AltaVista (4.00 / 3) (#58)
by Speare on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 11:25:04 AM EST

It's just a service. And the IE browser just happens to tie into the service.

Any number of such services could exist. Go write your own and strike deals (or implement plugins) for various browser makers to integrate your service, too.

If you go to altavista.com and enter "lord of the rings", you will get a link, above the search results, that reads:

    >) Lord of the Rings - Click on this Internet Keyword to go directly to the Lord of the Rings Web site.

(I changed the link there to go to the actual site, not the altavista.com click-through RealNames lookup.)

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
Realnames in IE (1.50 / 2) (#61)
by caine on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 02:41:46 PM EST

I'm running what I believe is the absolutely latest IE (5.50.4134.0600) and if I type in "ford explorer" I just get IE saying it can't find the webadress I wanted, and presents me with a search on the words. Where's the real names part coming in? Or is my IE just odd? =)


Won't replace DNS. (1.00 / 1) (#66)
by blogan on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 08:07:49 PM EST

What would you rather send e-mail to? bob@crazybob.com or "Bob@Crazy Bob"? The second one doesn't give me a sense of trust. What if paramount came out with a movie called "Crazy Bob"? Would bob need a new e-mail?

Real Names Keywords vs DNS? | 67 comments (67 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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