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Fastest computer, but still waiting for the answer

An American military supercomputer, assembled from components originally designed for video game machines, has reached a long-sought-after computing milestone by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second. – NY Times, Military Supercomputer Sets Record

If you have $133 million in spare change, you could have yourself one of these to install MS Office and type in your thesis.

So, are we getting closer to an answer to “The Last Question“? ūüôā

Categories: English Tags: ,

Change in course

April 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Lately, I’ve been inactive in this blog, and one of the main reasons for this was my plan to obtain a Juris Doctor. After being involved in Internet businesses for the past eight years, I’ve been able to appreciate the current legal structures (or lack of) and the scarcity of good lawyers who understand what is going on in the World Wide Web.

I still remember how one of the best law firms failed to understand the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, when my lawyer sent their client a C&D back in 2003. Much of the ignorance on Cyberlaw still permeates the legal community. And much of this is due to a lack of understanding on how the Internet works, from a consumer and commercial point of view.

I’ve just been accepted to the only Law School I was interested in, and the only one I applied to. For the next 3 and a half years, I will be building the skills necessary to put my grain of salt in the improvement of the necessary legal structures to support a safer and more efficient commercial operation through the net. So, look out for more legally oriented blog posts dealing with domains and internet business.

Categories: English Tags: , , ,

Poor Performance by SnapNames Viajes.com

April 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Last night I read of the auction for “viajes.com” (travel.com). I immediately placed a bid and began the process to determine the maximum amount I could afford for such a jewel of a name. My head spinning with plans…

This afternoon, I receive an email from SnapNames:

viajes.com auction

Notice the “To” field. Yes, it contains the emails of EVERYONE who participated in the auction. My personal email, without consent, accessible to everyone who participated in the auction.

RE: DNZoom

Sahar Sarid is one of the most active voices in the Domain industry and a leading domain investor. Recently, he launched a contest to determine the best features needed for domainers, to be incorporated in the recently launched DNZoom service. As a domain investor, I’d like to jump in with a few suggestions of what I believe is needed to improve the domain investment market:

These suggestions are in no particular order:

1. Have active offers with expiration dates or without expiring. I have seen way too often in the domain forums how sellers of the domain claim that they once received a “$x,xxx” offer for the domain once. Well, make this process transparent. I want to buy xyz.com, I give them a $xx,xxx offer that will expire in 2 months. I give them a $xx,xxx minus $x,xxx offer that will never expire. This offer is visible – it is active. Other buyers can see the active offers on the domain. The seller can choose to execute the sale based on these active offers any time they want.

This adds value to the market by establishing floors on demand for domains. This further increases the amount of data available for calculating the value of comparable domains. Active offers by reputable buyers could even serve as collateral for the owner of the domain to take out a loan.

2. Expiration dates for domains should be active. By this, I mean that there should be buttons for me to click on and have it add the date to my calendar. Palm, Google, Outlook. This way, as I search for domain names, I can click on this active link and instantly integrate it into my calendar system which will remind me when that domain is going to expire.

Furthermore, you could have a paid service of receiving an SMS alert when a domain is close to or has expired.

3. Group data on an industry and provide a perspective to domainers on how well they are performing on their monetization. (OK this is a bit hard to do) But imagine if I was in the¬† “travel” industry. How are my travel domains performing relative to the entire pool of travel related domain names? Which parking service is performing best for that industry. Perhaps lead generation by xyz parking company is proving to be more lucrative in this industry. Perhaps it is Cost Per Click by abc company.

4. On that same note, let domain holders know when specific industry domains are being sold. If I have a strong portfolio on “car” domains, it is more likely that I will pay a premium for a domain related to “cars”, because among other reasons, I have a multiplier effect in income when I hold many domains from one industry. So, identify or ask domain holders which industries they are interested in, and notify them when a domain has been put on sale or expiring auction.

5. Transparency on traffic and revenues! Offer the option to share certified income reports and/or traffic with prospective buyers, or simply to share it in a public space. If publicly shared, then integrate it into the whole search experience. This way, people can search the whois and see the field for traffic and revenue of that domain. Or search by traffic and/or revenue. Buyers can then make their offers in the style of Suggestion #1.

6. Open is the new black! Once you have gathered enough data, put it out to the world in the form of APIs. This will make the industry stronger, unleashing valuable data for bright minds that want to build applications we haven’t even imagined.

I hope many of you choose to participate in this contest and make this industry better.

RE: Delver

February 12, 2008 Leave a comment

As reported by ReadWriteWeb:

 The most impressive thing about the new search engine Delver is that it knows who you are and who your friends are even if you don’t import you address book or add your social networking profiles.

Hooray! Am I supposed to be happy that you know who I am, before I choose to tell you?

Instead, Delver leverages the social graph to map out a user’s social connections. Since everyone’s social graph is unique, like a fingerprint, the same query will yield vastly different results for each user.

Great! Now we can fingerprint anyone -not just criminals.

The results are more personal and meaningful to users than a generic search using ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ search engine.

In other words, now we can show you Viagra and Cialis ads only if you fit the “social profile”.

There were no comments from Big Brother.

Fraude en la Internet

January 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Ya sea que está haciendo negocios en la Internet, o solamente es un usuario navegando, el fraude en la Internet es un área que hay que entender y saber distinguir. Dado a la facilidad con la que cualquier persona se puede conectar y permanecer anónima, el fraude por Internet se ha convertido en un sistema muy lucrativo. Para evitar momentos desagradables y pérdidas económicas, conocer los tipos de fraude más populares en la Internet los ayudará a sacarle mayor provecho al Internet.
Tipos de Fraude Com√ļn por el Internet:

  1. Compradores pidiendo formas de pago inusuales. En mi tiempo operando una tienda virtual, recibía esporádicamente correos electrónicos de personas en países lejanos, como Nigeria, que deseaban hacer una compra de mis productos. Por lo general, necesitaban la dirección porque solo podían pagar con un cheque, o con un giro postal. Usted recibe el dinero y lo deposita en su banco. Varios días o semanas luego, el banco le informa que el pago se identificó fraudulento y le remueven el depósito de su cuenta, posiblemente enfrentando otros dolores de cabeza. Ya para ese tiempo, usted habrá enviado la mercancía y ni espere recuperarla. Otro sistema popular es ofrecerle un giro por una cantidad mayor del precio que usted pide. Luego le piden que le envíe la diferencia.
  2. Pescadores de data personal “Phishing”. La forma m√°s com√ļn de phishing es por medio del correo electr√≥nico. La persona env√≠a un mensaje en la forma de una advertencia que requiere usted visite una p√°gina para verificar sus datos. Sin embargo, estas p√°ginas son copias fatulas dise√Īadas para confundir al usuario en pensar que est√° en la p√°gina oficial y entrar los datos personales, como seguro social, n√ļmero de cuenta bancaria, y otra informaci√≥n personal que le permite al criminal tomar su identidad y robarle su dinero.

    Hay muchas formas de protegerse de un ataque de phishing. Siempre tenga sospechas cuando reciba un mensaje que le requiera confirmar sus datos personales y llame a la compa√Ī√≠a para confirmar que en realidad la comunicaci√≥n es de ellos. Por lo general, las comunicaciones oficiales de su compa√Ī√≠a van a venir con su nombre completo. Muchos de los correos fraudulentos no se refieren a usted por su nombre completo, sino que est√° escrito en un lenguaje gen√©rico sin proveer ning√ļn dato suyo. No obstante, debe de tambi√©n sospechar hasta de aquellos mensajes que vengan dirigidos a usted con su nombre completo y llamar a su compa√Ī√≠a.

  3. Sistemas de dinero r√°pido (HYIPs). Estos sistemas han existido desde mucho antes del Internet, pero han tomado una popularidad grand√≠sima con la llegada del Internet por la facilidad con la que es llegar a las v√≠ctimas. De la forma que funciona, es que crean un sistema de pagos acelerados, que promete unas ganancias muy atractivas. Suelen prometer que su dinero se va a multiplicar varias veces en muy poco tiempo. Comienzan pagando bien para que se riegue la voz y usted siga enviando m√°s dinero, hasta que llega la masa de personas a “invertir”. Cuando esa masa entra, ellos suspenden los pagos y desaparecen. Conozco personas que han perdido decenas de miles de d√≥lares, y m√°s importante aun, han perdido amistades por haberlas referido. Sea racional con sus inversiones y no caiga en esta trampa.
  4. Vendedores de s√ļper gangas. Seguro que a todos nos gusta una buena ganga, pero en el Internet hay que tener mucho cuidado con las ofertas demasiado de buenas. Afortunadamente, en el Internet hay much√≠simos recursos para confirmar con bastante probabilidad la veracidad del vendedor. En lugares de venta como eBay y Amazon, los m√°s populares medios de compra y venta en l√≠nea, existen sistemas de reputaci√≥n que indican cuan responsable es esa persona o comercio vendiendo y comprando. Muchas veces los vendedores de s√ļper gangas tienen un historial de ventas baj√≠simo, inclusive hasta en cero. Cuando vea un anuncio de venta por una persona o comercio con una reputaci√≥n de cero, d√©jele esa ganga a otro loco y no lo piense dos veces.

    Otra forma de gangas se da mucho en productos electr√≥nicos como las c√°maras. Los comerciantes inescrupulosos ofrecen el producto a un precio muy por debajo para lograr la venta y luego le incluyen muchos accesorios a precios alt√≠simos. Si usted se reh√ļsa a comprar los accesorios, prep√°rese a una pesadilla de inconvenientes que el comerciante le tiene guardada. Es muy f√°cil corroborar las pr√°cticas de los comercios haciendo una breve b√ļsqueda en los sistemas de b√ļsqueda c√≥mo Google y Yahoo.

  5. Ayuda a un extranjero con su fortuna. Termino con mi favorito y el que más personas se creen. La historia comienza con que necesitan su ayuda. Hay un rey o un ex presidente, alguien de mucha importancia y muchas riquezas que te ha identificado como la persona que le va a liberar los millones de dólares que tiene en un banco. A cambio, el muy generoso le va a dar parte de esos millones a usted, cuando logre sacar todos los fondos. Por favor, cierre ese mensaje tan pronto lea la primera oración. No existe tal rey. El criminal utiliza eso como una forma de entrada para sacarle sus datos personales y/o robarle dinero de su cuenta bancaria.

Quick Q&A: Could the value of a premium generic domain name depreciate?

January 25, 2008 2 comments

This is a debatable subject. The specific question I want to consider is: When a company accomplishes a dominant leadership position in an industry, how will the generic domain most descriptive of that industry be affected in its value?

Here are three examples to consider:

Books.com – This is a powerful generic domain. Yet, it would be interesting to learn how many actual type-in visitors it generates for Barnes and Nobles. The reason – Amazon.com. Amazon has become synonymous to books for most Americans. So, when people buy books, how much type-in traffic has Amazon taken from Books.com due to a powerful brand?

Auctions.com – You probably said it in your mind before actually reading it – eBay.com. Perhaps their success was greatly influenced by fate/luck, when they tried to register echobay.com as their website’s domain name and it had already been registered. This is why they had to shrink it into the catchy four letter word. Again, when you want to buy or sell in auction format, how likely would it be for you to type-in Auctions.com, rather than eBay.com.

Search.com – Some lawyers are even trying to stop reporters from using the term “googling”, as search giant Google overshadows even the phrase “to search” with the increasingly popular phrase “to google”. How would you think this change has had an impact on the value of Search.com?

If in these three cases you agree that the word actually lost value, rather than appreciated in value as a company grew into a leadership position of the industry, and you own a premium generic name for an industry in which a new company is growing to become a leader of that industry; then you should try to sell the domain name before the company establishes itself as the leader. Or at least for accounting/tax purposes, you should be able to begin a trend of depreciation from your asset as the company’s leadership position solidifies.

Italia.it Closes

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment

What a beautiful domain name. Apparently, the estimated budget of $45 million euros for development of this portal by the Italian government was insufficient. Italia.it was launched last February under heavy criticism for its high cost and complicated structure. The ephemeral website was finally closed by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Francesco Rutelli.

Complete story here (in Spanish): Italia cierra su página Italia.it 

Categories: Domains Tags: , , ,

Idea on Spam Reduction

January 18, 2008 Leave a comment

This is an idea that just occurred to me on dealing with Spam from a large email provider, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. Back in 2005, I had written a post on how effective Gmail had become on spam and how they could use that understanding to offer an attractive option to domain owners to have mail on their domain (which as we know now is a Google offering).

Currently, Google’s Gmail is ideally positioned to benefit from a largely ignored market of e-mail outsourcing. To that effect, the implementation of effective spamming tools, together with Gmail’s clean and organized web-format would benefit many individuals. More importantly it would benefit businesses, both large and small, for which Gmail could handle all of their e-mail traffic, hosting and storage needs.
The question then becomes how to extract the maximum value out of move to significantly reduce spam? To maintain Gmail’s current business model and improve their companies image Google should still maintain their free individual email accounts. However, to address the business communities’ needs for an efficient anti-spamming email service, Google could offer a subscription email solution.
Technically this would involve Google setting up private label paid accounts where companies and individuals could set Google as their mail server and view their e-mails in a Gmail’s online interface or through the clients PC based email programs; such as, Eudora and Outlook. (read more)

Despite advancement in this field, spam reaching our Inbox is still much higher than desired. Following on that note, I believe that an effective spam blocking tool could actually be your users. In a large enough pool, employing your users in a style similar to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, spam filtering could actually make your spam machine more precise in reducing spam. Here’s how I envision it:

  • Identify the spam reporting activity of your user base
  • Separate the x% of most active spam reporters within your user base
  • Analyze your active spam reporting group‚Äôs precision in actually reporting general spam, rather than personal specific mail which they report as spam incorrectly and filter out those who use the spam reporting tool incorrectly.
  • Now you should have a clean spam reporting pool (SRP) of users at a 9x% confidence level
  • Plug in those users who you identify from the SRP to be online, into your spam filter engine so that emails with a high spam score that are not high enough to be discarded in the automated process are first sent out to your online users in the SRP.
  • You should then receive a percentage response of Spam from these users that would tip over that email message into the Spam pool, before it is sent out to the general population.

This method can be most effective from a large user pool like that of Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, because many Spam efforts are directed to the email provider domain (gmail.com, hotmail.com). Gmail is in an even more advantageous position, given their management of Gmail for your domain, which could serve as an extra window on spammers focusing in a more heterogeneous domain attack.

Categories: Internet Tags: , , , , , ,

GoDaddy Coincidence?

January 9, 2008 3 comments

Following on the Network Solutions story about domain stealing or “front running“, I’d like to share a recent story of my own. I am currently learning to speak Russian, so I decided to check out a few Russian IDNs under the .com extension for availability. I found one which I was amazed to learn that was available: –Ĺ–Ķ–≤–Ķ—Ā—ā.com (google translation: Brides.com)

I began the process to register it at GoDaddy, but decided to come back to it later after I had asked a Russian friend of mine if it was the correct and most popular translation for “brides”. Today, I went back to check the availability and –Ĺ–Ķ–≤–Ķ—Ā—ā.com was registered on December 27th, 2007 to a person who’s name doesn’t appear even once under a Google search. I called the listed phone and it is “Temporarily Disconnected”.

bridewhois.jpg

Coincidentally, the address listed for the domain registration is 26 minutes from GoDaddy’s headquarters.

It was best not to register the name, because as my Russian friend clarified, the correct translation is –Ĺ–Ķ–≤–Ķ—Ā—ā–į, ending “a” and –Ĺ–Ķ–≤–Ķ—Ā—ā—č is the plural form. Both of the correct translations were registered a few years ago.