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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    The Big Picture DNS as a Search Engine: A Quantitative Evaluation
    posted by jon on Monday July 01 2002, @09:38AM

    edelman@law.harvard. writes "ICANNwatchers have on multiple occasions discussed the extent to which DNS does or does not provide directory-like services -- with DNS software designer Paul Vixie pointing out that this is not the purpose for which DNS was designed, but with millions of users continuing to use DNS in this way.

    In DNS as a Search Engine: A Quantitative Evaluation, I attempt to investigate and quantify the success with which the DNS provides services similar to a search engine or directory system. I first find that DNS is nearly as accurate as Google among a sample of the world's largest brands. However, for smaller brands, smaller companies, and less selective educational institutions, DNS's accuracy is substantially worse than Google's. These results suggest that while DNS well serves the needs of the largest companies, it is less successful in providing intuitive naming services to small businesses and other smaller organizations."

    I've also investigated the accuracy of now-defunct private keyword system RealNames. In recent testing, RealNames offered relatively high accuracy among sampled educational institutions, but it failed to properly provide references for many of the largest brands worldwide (as reported by Interbrand), including Nokia, Intel, and Ford. This outcome may reflect a conflict in the goals of keyword service operators -- that providing an accurate keyword system requires giving away a large number of registrations, but that operating a profitable keyword system requires denying registrations to those who have not paid the specified fees. [minor wording change 7/2/02, responsive to fnord's comment below]

    Ben Edelman
    Berkman Center for Internet & Society
    Harvard Law School

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  • Ben Edelman
  • DNS as a Search Engine: A Quantitative Evaluation
    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    DNS as a Search Engine: A Quantitative Evaluation | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 2 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: DNS as a Search Engine: A Quantitative Evaluat
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Monday July 01 2002, @01:59PM (#7559)
    User #2810 Info
    I wouldn't class Paul Vixie in the same class as another Paul. Paul Mockapetris, more than anyone, can lay claim to being the father of the DNS. What does he wish he invented? A directory system. Did he intend it as a directory system? I have contrary stories about this, but I believe that that was his intent. mit.edu is a directory system. The fact that it has subsequently been entirely bent out of shape by speculators (eg: whitehouse.com) does nothing to detract from the elegance of the original design, it only speaks to how creative some can be if they set their devious minds to it.

    Kudos on more excellent research Ben. -g

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