Security firm KnujOn (backwards for No Junk, reflecting the small outfit’s anti-spam roots) has a new report out this morning, pointing a finger at website registrars for facilitating a wide range of internet crime.
My story in today’s FT centres on the case KnujOn makes against eNom, the No. 2 seller of domain names and a profitable unit of Demand Media, which would probably prefer that any stink wait until after its anticipated IPO.
But the bigger picture is more important.
Maija Palmer and Richard Waters report on plans to expand dramatically the number of top-level web domains:
“A representative of the Pope has written to Icann with concerns over how it would ensure that sensitive religious domains – “.catholic”, “.muslim” or even “.god” – would not fall into the wrong hands. Public interest groups, meanwhile, fear that the changes mark part of a more general rewriting of the rules of the internet that could see free speech lose out to commercial interests.”
Forget the vanity licence plates and the personalised URLs: what about owning your own top-level internet domain name, to put yourself on a par with the .coms and .govs? You’ll probably be able to apply for one by the end of this year – though it’ll cost you $185,000.
There is a serious side to the explosion in top-level domain (TLD) names that is about hit the internet. When anyone can pay up to create one – not to mention the myriad of new URLs that will suddenly become available – how on earth will companies protect their trademarks? And how will internet users find their way around a confusing virtual world in which www.coca.cola could be competing for attention with www.cola.coke?