Archive | March, 2013

Stop the Dangerous Blogs Bill

In England, a number of journalists and media industry figures broke the law.

They hacked cellphones and computers. They bribed police officers for stories.

Their behaviour was so egregious that a number of people have already been convicted and jailed, and there are charges still pending against others.

That was wrong. But that conduct was always illegal.

The British Government asked Lord Leveson for a solution to the excesses of journalists.

He said he wanted to regulate print media.He proposed that judges  be allowed to award exemplary damages and full costs against unregulated publishers.

Regulation of the press takes us some way back towards the Star Chamber. What is are proposed are stringent and controversial measures, but even their architecht only envisaged them applying to large and powerful publishers. Not websites (unless they belonged to print publishers).

Last weekend, the proposals were agreed in a rush, without public consultation, and with scant attention to detail.

The result is that they apply to any size of publication.

If there’s more than one author, the content is edited and there’s a business involved, then you must join up to be regulated. Even trade commentators such as DOMAININCITE.COM, for example, would appear to fall under this.

Most blogs aren’t powerful publishing houses. But the would need to be regulated, or face punitive measures if it ended up in court.

The threat of websites being regulated like this was never the purpose of Lord Leveson’s recommendations.

Websites weren’t involved in phone hacking.

There is no evidence that they need to be forced into self-regulation like this.

It is a serious infringement of the right of free-expression that fails the test of necessity and proportionality to make it legal.

If this is not corrected now, some English or Scottish blogger will find him or herself in the middle of an expensive and messy court proceeding that has the likelihood of going all the way to Strasbourg.

Take a few minutes and email Nick Clegg, Harriet Harman, and David Cameron to ask them to back off and leave the Internet out of Leveson.



Why do developers use outdated country lists?

Something’s puzzling me.

The ISO-3166-1 country code list is not a static thing. New countries and territories appear on the list. Others disappear.

In the 20 or so years I’ve been dealing with these things professionally there are many examples. The Aaland Islands (AX) for example, and South Sudan (SS) have appeared. Yugoslavia (YU) and the German Democratic Republic (DD) have disappeared. Guernsey and Jersey (GG and JE) were added to the list in 2006.

Yet many e-commerce websites I see have drop-down lists for “Country” in their address entry fields are missing many of the recent additions to the list.

Leaving aside the fact, that in some circumstances the list is just the wrong thing to use (for example airlines using the list to classify passport details — the ISO list is NOT the same as a list of nationalities), why would any website developer intentionally choose to use a seriously outdated list, when the current list, and announcements as to changes is easily accessible these days from ISO itself who even publish a change-tracking page.

This has real serious economic effects on individuals. Guernsey and Jersey residents often end up paying a surcharge of 20% on goods ordered over the web as a direct result of this

Now, maybe I’m being picky, but I think if you advertise yourselves as specialists in search engineering you ought to know what the correct ISO list contains.

After all, a website’s location and target audience does form part of the myriad inputs to Google’s magical PageRank algorithm, don’t they?

I was on the point of ordering a particular SEO firms service (I won’t mention them to spare their blushes, but I can see their name as I write this).

But when I got to the address form, guess what — the drop down list didn’t include an option for the particular country/territory the organisation I was planning to order the service for. So guess what — that particular SEO firm lost a sale.

Is YOUR site up-t0-date?


PS: By the way, although I just checked that everything that should be there on our own webforms, is,  to prove it,  here’s a little challenge, which will help us in our own quality control.

Now there’ve been some fairly recent changes to the ISO list — and the first person who identifies an instance of a missing country code in any of the webforms on WWW.CHANNELISLES.NET will win a CHANNELISLES.NET USB key (Note: this is a great little device — it’s got masses of storage, it’s in the shape of a real key, and fits on your keyring with your house keys so you always have it with you).

We’ll also offer another USB key for the person who submits the website (any website, anywhere in the world) that has the a drop-down list with the most missing entries.

In both cases we’ll use the latest version of ISO-3166-1 to compare.


Welcome to DomainPulp!

Since about half of my articles are about the Internet Domain Name industry, I was challenged to come up with a clever brandname for that side of my writing the other day.

You know, one that might be even half as clever as the paronomasiac  DOMAININCITE.COM

Sadly, I was unable to match Mr Murphy’s cleverness.

But I did find something that expresses what is a wide sweep of the domain name industry that I cover. So welcome to Domain Pulp!

For the time being we’ll still be carrying on as normal on WordPress, kindly hosted by BLACKNIGHT.COM.

But we manage to get more material, including guest contributors (HINT), I will move it to its own platform.




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