Evolving online social conventions
Posted by aogFriday, 28 April 2006 at 21:53 TrackBack Ping URL

Weblog junk is one of my hobbies. I did a guest lecture for She Who Is Perfect In All Way’s computer security class and there was one interesting bit about something I have noticed an interesting evolution over the last few months.

One of the primary efforts in combatting junk was to ban domains (not one I put much effort in to myself, but many others did). The theory was that this was a way to raise the monetary costs of the junkers by forcing them to pay for new domains on a regular basis.

Apparently it had an effect in changing junker behavior, although not actually slowing them down. What we see now is that the junkers are colonizing other people’s domains, via two avenues:

  • Hacking unsecured websites, putting content there and then using that as base
  • Using free subdomains (such as those hosted by Blogspot)

The wave of junk from Blogspot hosted domains is so great that a number of weblogs have banned the entire domain (not me, they are all currently filter with the RE “–\w+–[a–z0–9]{4}\.blogspot”). But this is just the start. Blogspot will eventually make it too hard to grab new subdomains but there are hundreds of start up and little communities out there providing this kind of specialized hosting, handing out domains for free. Based on the junk I get, there are plenty who are susceptible to automated subdomain acquisition, thereby providing an endless series of effectively free, short term domain names.

The result of this, and something I do, is ban very high level domains (I’ve banned several top level country codes and I can’t believe I am the only one). The key question is whether participation in online communities will be a common enough thing that providers will have to police themselves or face an ostracism that their potential customers won’t tolerate.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
cjm Saturday, 29 April 2006 at 13:01

i see a strong move to invite-only online communities.

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