[policy] When Tech Meets Policy...

Barry Shein bzs at world.std.com
Wed Aug 15 21:55:48 UTC 2007

On August 15, 2007 at 14:38 aiversonlists at spamresource.com (Al Iverson) wrote:
 > On 8/15/07, Barry Shein <bzs at world.std.com> wrote:
 > >  > I am not sure tasting is criminal or fraud.
 > >
 > > Neither am I, we agree. I meant if there's subsequent criminality or
 > > fraud that should be dealt with separately.
 > Dumb question, not necessarily looking to call you or anyone out, but
 > I'm curious: What valid, legitimate, or likely to be used non-criminal
 > reasons are there for domain tasting?

Well, not all of us agree that these ad-only pages are particularly a
problem. They're certainly not necessarily criminal or fraudulent
except by some stretch.

It seems to me that this should be an issue between the domain
registrars and their customers, but maybe some over-arching policy is
making it difficult to do the right thing?

Charging a "re-stocking fee" sounded perfectly reasonable. I don't
think anyone has any *right* to "domain tasting", that is, to any
particular pricing structure. But I don't see why it requires anything
beyond some pricing solution as suggested.

 > Then my next question is, what reasons are there where it'd be
 > wise/useful/non-criminal to do it on a large scale?

It's a relatively passive activity when used for ad pages, no one
forces anyone to look at them. I'm not sure what the problem is with
that except it seems to offend some people's sensibilities.

If the behavior is used to hide illegal activity such as spamming
(e.g., botnet use) then that should be more of a reputation issue.

The example which came to mind was ordering a couple of hundred phone
lines. In the early days of the internet people like myself did that
for modem banks (there was a time it was a lot cheaper to punch up 256
1MBs than to try to demux T1s or T3s or PRIs, I think I still have
66-block punch tool scars in my palm.)

A friend who ran an ISP did that and the police showed up thinking he
might be setting up a boiler room (telephone stock scam.) He was
amused. They weren't sure what he was doing (internet? modems? WTF?)
but decided it wasn't a boiler room so left.

But that's what a lot of this reminds me of, except of course that
ordering hundreds of phone lines required some sort of credit
relationship with your local telco which seems to be what's
lacking here.

But obviously boiler room ops got away with it, that's why they were a
problem. I assume the telcos got better at screening such criminals,
they probably never paid their phone bills anyhow. But the concept of
ordering hundreds of phone lines wasn't at issue, just some borderline
criminal behavior and how to suppress it.

        -Barry Shein

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