Sometimes it's What Matt Doesn't Say That's Important


Recently Matt Cutts mentioned he attended Blog Conference for lawyers (don't bail yet it's worth the wait). However John Andrews did a nice bit of cyber-sluething and found something Matt didn't say about a database of online service providers discussed at that same conference

Now Matt didn’t identify it as such… that’s what you need me for :-) Matt simply commented on how Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation polled the table about DMCA takedown notices, and pointed out how easy it was to register as an Online Service Provider. But if I were Matt, and that was news to me, I would take a look at that US Copyright web site and when I saw page after page of webmasters listing all of their “other domains” I would say aaaahhhhh…. and fire off an email to a junior Googler to “organize this information”.


Warner Bros Entertainment for example listed and, which have WHois records assigned to Warner Entertainment, but they also included on the same registration form, which has a Whois registrant of Astro America, LLC in San Francisco. Nice find for Google, as this allows Google to associate with Warner Brothers when, based on Whois alone, that was not obvious public knowledge.

Tinfoil hats are available in the back of the room next to the doors as you exit ...


There is no doubt in my mind

There is no doubt in my mind that Google, Yahoo, and MSN have been looking for DBs like this for years, in an effort to link individuals and companies to any domain they own.

I'd be willing to bet that Shoe knows a ton about these types of DBs. (: j/k Shoe

If one looked at all the

If one looked at all the .edu xss spam ranking in Google would their view of Google's sophistication be diminished?

I can think of webmasters

I can think of webmasters with 100% clean sites (or so THEY say, anyway) banned by Google for whois commonalities....

Although I certainly believe that SE's can / do make use of this kind of information, I think it's only ever used when a manual investigation happens, and by the time SE engineers are crawling over your sites like that, you're already in trouble

The important thing to me is

The important thing to me is that this can't be proxied except through a lawyer, and that it adds $80 to the cost of launching a domain name (plus lawyer fees if you do use one as a registered agent). Since laywers are not known for their generosity, using multiple registered agents will mean miltiple full-retail-price expenses.

So as a barrier to anonymity, it's substantial. I doubt any legislators have any clue at al of the impact of something like this on ecommerce, and it's probably just one of many regulatory side effects coming to web publishers.

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