Malware is not the only problem that Search Engines and others need to watch in 2008 .....
There's a huge challenge ahead for search engines, particularly in the blog space.
It seems like just yesterday, yet it was eleven months ago when ICANN was caught in the middle of a dispute between an official ICANN-accredited registrar and several thousand customers who, almost all at once, started a huge and horrible buzz.
Not only were their credit cards being charged multiple times, but their domain names were expiring or 'being locked down'.
The legitimate owners lost access to their control panels, and in many cases lost ownership of their domains.
We are all still at the mercy of our respective registrars.
The fact was that the registrar had (1) had serious technical problems, (2) apparent financial troubles, and (3) an internal management (partnership) fallout.
There were no safeguards. Despite ICANN's charter at the time limiting what they could and could not do, they did in fact spend money, travel, visit the company and more, to try and rectify the problem.
The matter literally became an international incident, effecting foreign government websites, non-profits and thousands of small and medium size businesses, many of whom had to lay-off employees as legitimate websites went dark.
Non-US companies actually blamed the United States in more than a few blog posts!
Ultimately, the problem was solved when GoDaddy stepped in and 'took over' (terms were never disclosed) the remaining portfolio of the registrar. They did an excellent job repairing what damage they could and bulk transferring the names. It was a tedious and time-consuming process.
I maintained consistent communication with ICANN and others throughout this unfortunate chapter in Internet history. Several of my clients were effected. They were 'as responsive as they could be' and maintained an open dialog on their blog. Their charter, plus the registrar's somewhat inaccurate registry history made it impossible, at the time, for ICANN to simply flip a switch and return the system to normal.
In fact, companies completely folded that depended on the web. Many jobs were lost, and for the purpose 'our space' and SEO / SEM , search engine rank was considerably effected as many of these companies websites disappeared with no explanation, some for many months.
The continued irony of this story is that someone claiming to be this registrar is contacting 'former clients' by e-mail soliciting renewals right now, while in fact those domains were either bulk transferred (or entirely lost) long ago. The website still comes up in number 1 position on Google despite an ICANN mandated message on the front page ??!!
Today came news that we have a new 'issue' with domain names known as 'Front Running'. It's not a rogue registrar using it. It's Network Solutions? The story, and a little 'understanding of what this is' can be found on the CircleID website here. While not as severe as last year's saga, it deserves early attention and awareness.
The bottom line is while 'some' continue to predict Internet bottlenecks and outages due to more video, etc. (How many times have we heard this in the last decade??), the industry does have to be kept abreast of other and new problems facing our growing infrastructure including malware, rootkits, spyware, and attempt to predict by examination and avoid situations such as those posed to ICANN last year.
We all have a vested stake and should not be complacent, participate in the dialog, and remain active in assisting those which greater resources to protect Net Neutrality and the Internet as a viable vehicle for everyone, whether they are technically literate or not.