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AOL 8.0 Parental Controls, New tricks

ICANN (Internet Certification Authority for Names and Numbers) is the governing body that regulates the deployment of TLDs (top level domains on the internet (.com, .net, .org, .edu, .mil, .gov, etc). Without such a body the naming system would fall into khaos. However, ICANN has also been criticized for their conservative nature and failure to address requests for new TLDs in a timely manner. Hence was born New.net.

For every domain, there is one or more computers somewhere in the world that actually stores it. When a user browses the internet, every time they enter or click a named address (ie http://www.somedomain.com/) that address must be translated by a DNS (Domain Name System) server managed by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) into a number called an IP address. You can think of it as a telephone directory for computers. Stored with the IP is the physical location of the server that houses the information you requested. The DNS servers at all ISPs are updated twice daily from master DNS servers controlled by ICANN accredited registrars.

New.net is a domain registrar that exists outside the ICANN DNS system to address the need for quicker adoption of proposed TLDs such as .shop, .xxx, .kids, .love, .golf, etc, which ICANN felt would just clutter the naming system. For their system to work at all, New.net had to strike up special deals with major ISPs such as Earthlink, Juno and Prodigy for their DNS servers to update from NEW.net as well as ICANN DNS servers. New.net is somewhat of a TLD rebel. Their approach was to muscle their way into the domain naming game without ICANN’s approval.

However, most ISPs such as AOL, MSN, Compuserve, etc., do not update their DNS servers from New.net. Subscribers to these ISPs looking up a .golf domain, for instance, might be told it does not exist even if that domain owner did register with New.net. To address this shortcoming, New.net created a downloadable plug-in for Internet Explorer that circumvents your ISP’s DNS server and goes straight to New.net for the domain look-up. Still, in order for it to work, people actually need to visit New.net, download and install the plug-in. And, there is also no guarantee that it will work. They have run into incompatibility issues that they have yet to fix.

As an added “bonus”, and in keeping with their rebelious nature, the New.net plug-in now directs users to something they call Quick. It muscles in and replaces the MSN domain name search if you type it incorrectly and the domain is not found. It also sends you to their own Quick directory. If you want the New.net TLD look- up plug-in, you MUST subject yourself to their Quick directory. They don’t give you a choice and THAT is where I have a problem with New.net.

I discovered this “new trick” of theirs when one day the New.net plug-in I had installed long ago started sending me to Quick without my permission. It’s very similar to the tactics employed by a XXX web directory that we often counsil users how to rid themselves of, also discussed in our online forum at http://surfsafety.com/frameset_forum.html

So great is my objection to New.net’s tactics that I have completely scrubbed any plans to deploy content under the SurfSafely.kids domain I once had registered with them. The rebel has overstepped their bounds and lost any support I may have once had for their business model, .kids not withstanding. If they continue down their present path, expect to see New.net dry up and fade away. Think very carefully about investing in a New.net TLD. You could be left high and dry if they do go away as I predict. I, for one, will not be “left holding the bag.”

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