Archive for August, 2006

Domain names moving to be end-user unfriendly?

Monday, August 28th, 2006

News via CircleID – ICANN (the regulators who manage internet names) have proposed contracts that would allow pricing of domain names based on the perceived attractiveness of the name.  The article has a well-dissected example of how really popular names (the example always given is or could be very expensive, but what it really means is that all names are at risk.  Any domain name that can be made popular (think of or :) ) could have their price raised to be painful, all so that the registrars’ monopolies can be more valuable.

This is bad for the average domain-name user (purchaser) but is really even worse for the average web browsing user.  What if you wanted to find that cute boutique you found online last year, only to discover that it is gone and someone else paid more money for the domain?  Would you realize it was another shop and not the same one with a web redesign?  Or would it only be after you paid for an item and found out the quality was nothing like it used to be?

This ‘trust us, they won’t do it’ is ridiculous and sounds like the Telco proposals where they promise not to overcharge us for internet access… I’m not so trusting.  In a scarce-supply, regulated, environment, the reason you have price caps and regulation is to protect the users. Maybe the regulators need a reminder.

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Figuring out what is important

Friday, August 4th, 2006

Paul Thurrott doesn’t think Vista is ready yet but believes it could be by the deadline. However, the really important question he highlights – how do software companies figure out what is important? How do they balance the business need to launch, bugs and all, with the usability, or as he puts it balancing “when those smiles outnumber the screams”…

It’s a good read.

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Not quite neutral

Friday, August 4th, 2006

In an NYT Op-Ed, Mr. Timothy B. Lee argues that historical regulation of monopolies have turned against consumers, and that Congress ought to just let new technology fight it out since consumers can ‘rebel’.

Except they can’t.

Users are held hostage to one or two providers right now, and if my experience is any indication, both will be as horrible as they can get away with.  If neither one is restricted, they both will “protect” users from those horrible bandwidth hogs who won’t write checks… and the users will have no real choice in the end.

Lee has a good point – regulatory capture is a real danger, but his hope for ’several promising new technologies’ is just pie in the sky right now.  So let’s focus on the real danger and improve the legislation to handle an automatic sunset… perhaps after a certain period of time, or a certain amount of new market penetration, or by allowing the ‘promising new technologies’ unregulated reign, so even the existing carriers might try to build new networks.

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