Geeky Facts About Domain Names
Date: December 13, 2011
The following information is a follow-up to and extension of Interesting Facts About Domain Names which Dennis Forbes published in March of 2006. This study also looks (a bit) at domain name lengths, but mainly focuses on branding and Unix. For this study I used the com, net, and org zone files acquired through Zone Access Agreements.
Which online "brands" have a following?
An example of a matching domain for Facebook would be connectfacebook.com, as the string facebook appears somewhere in the domain name. This domain would be a candidate for nefarious typosquatting, where a person registers a domain similar to a popular domain or hostname in order to vacuum up typo traffic. Although it's probably not, at first glance, this domain appears to be owned and operated by Google:
$ dig ns +short connectfacebook.com
$ dig ns +short googleghs.com
$ ip2asn `dnsip connectfacebook.com` AS | IP | BGP Prefix | CC | AS Name 15169 | 22.214.171.124 | 126.96.36.199/24 | US | GOOGLE - Google Inc.
$ ip2asn `dnsip ns1.googleghs.com` AS | IP | BGP Prefix | CC | AS Name 15169 | 188.8.131.52 | 184.108.40.206/24 | US | GOOGLE - Google Inc.
However, the domain is ostensibly registered via Godaddy to an individual in Thailand. Its hosting service, googleghs.com, is designed for domain parking and "monetization" aka web spam. Customers create websites with more ads than content, and Google and (sometimes) the individual customer profit. There are approximately 128563 .com domains alone hosted by the googleghs.com service.
Furthermore, the domain was registered in May 2008, but according to Wikipedia, Facebook Connect wasn't unveiled until July 2008. It would be a good cover, though — and funny too — if Google used server logs to spy on Facebook's spying. Note that Google Analytics tracks far more data, though. Strange but interesting. It makes me wonder about actual corporate espionage.
What short domain names are taken?
As you can see, the primo ultrashort domains such as aa.com are still gone and will remain so.
Moving on, What Unix family operating system strings appear in TLD zones?
This one made me a little sad, as a longtime OpenBSD user. Linux is king for the moment in part due to its superior advertising. Around the dot-com bust, the main Unix family OS seen in job openings was Solaris. Now it's Linux. And in another 10 years?
What's the prevalence of BSD Unix in the main TLDs?
I had to create a graph just for BSD to be able to distinguish between BSD projects. These numbers are not surprising. For the record, I think all four BSD projects are healthy despite widely varying numbers on this test. Although it would appear that DragonFly BSD is incalculably tiny or unimportant, it's not. DragonFly BSD developers write drivers and other code that gets imported into other BSD projects, and DragonFly even has its own filesystem called HAMMER. I'll check it out one of these days for an upcoming study.