Paul Hoffman

Paul Hoffman

Joined on February 15, 2005
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Featured Blogs

Proposal for Signing the DNSSEC Root

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is soliciting comments on signing the DNSSEC root. Ignore the caption on the page: this is not about DNSSEC deployment, which is already happening just fine. It's about who gets to sign the root zone. more

When Domain Names Aren’t Enough

A recent trend in the Japanese web advertising market may presage changes that could come to the Western world. ...some advertising in Japan now includes a picture of a filled-in browser search box instead of a domain name. The idea is that an advertiser can buy top-of-page advertising at the main search engines for various terms and then suggest to people reading their print ads to use those terms to search. more

Picking Domain Names by Search Results

There is a definite advantage to knowing what users look for when typing in domain names that they think should work. This article from Government Computer News shows an excellent example in .gov. "600,000 visitors a year to FirstGov try to find the federal government's Web site by typing into their browser", so they switched from to It wasn't mentioned in the article, but redirects automatically; this is more intelligence than I normally expect from US government web sites. more

The Future of Some Email May Not Use Email

Paul McNamara quotes me extensively in this piece on the EFF protest of Goodmail. When I say "the EFF has lost its mind", i really mean "the EFF has lost its way". In the early days, the EFF was about preventing the government from ruining the Internet commons, and preventing the government from putting walls on the frontier. These days, the EFF is more about preventing companies who have no power to regulate from doing things the EFF doesn't like. That is a huge change, and one that makes the EFF much less worthy of support... more

ICANN and Legalities

Bret Fausett points to two lawsuits against VeriSign and ICANN for violating U.S. anti-trust laws. They state the obvious: VeriSign and ICANN made an agreement that is to the large financial benefit of the two corporations and the financial detriment of nearly everyone else. The proposed contract is absurd, but so is ICANN's request that people comment on it before ICANN approves it. Anyone familiar with legal negotiations could see that there is no room for significant negotiation on the part of ICANN. more

ICANN’s Proposed Changes to IDN Registration

A month ago, ICANN announced that it had a large set of proposed changes to its "Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names". The original guidelines are fairly confusing and not widely deployed by the ccTLDs, so one would think that the proposed revisions would be clearer and more useful. No such luck. Instead of describing what the problems with the old guidelines were, the committee that put together the new proposal simply added a whole bunch more rules. more

The US Department of Commerce, the DNS Root, and ICANN

The recent announcement in eWeek titled "Feds Won't Let Go of Internet DNS" (slashdotted here) has some major internet policy implications. The short, careful wording appears to be more of a threat to ICANN than a power grab. In short, the US Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it was not going to stop overseeing ICANN's changes to the DNS root. ...Of course, they have done next to nothing to support DNSSEC or other proposal for securing the DNS, but it sounds reassuring. The last sentence shows that the Bush administration shares the Clinton administration's lack of understanding of how the internet should evolve... more

IDN Spoofing Solutions With Balance

Last week's tizzy about IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) spoofing was an interesting exercise in watching how people react to the unknown. The nearly-universal response to the problem that had been described in detail many years ago was "turn off IDNs" instead of "assume that the people who created IDNs knew about this, so let's do some research." The following is based on my thoughts this week. For those of you who are not familiar with my earlier work, I'm one of the authors of the IDN standards... more