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Duck Duck Go Firefox Toolbar Blocks 42 Million Parked/Spam Domains (addons.mozilla.org)
53 points by epi0Bauqu on Mar 4, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

Would be really nice if this made it into the next Firefox release. Would put a nice little wrench in the entire domain parking business.

Too many domains being wasted by parking and trying to sell for thousands of dollars. This would allow the value of a parked domain needs down to give startups and developers a chance to buy them at a reasonable cost. Hopefully Mozilla helps in this endeavor.

So you replace their ads with one for your site? And this is a feature? Sounds almost as handy as ISPs showing search pages for sites that don't exist.

I don't think our block pages are an ad for our site: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/images/p/30122/1236...

Your logo is at the top and there is a link to your search engine. So instead of seeing something I didn't want, I see something I didn't want.

I guess some people may find it useful, but so far the positive reviews seem to be your friends from Philly.

Update: Not only are the reviews astroturfed, but the "Parked Domain Project" is not someone you partnered with, it's you. It apparently exists to generate back links to Duck Duck Go. (Every page has "new search engine" linked to you.) Why be shady? You put out some great stuff, no shame in saying it's yours.

OK, so a lot to cover here...

1) The Parked Domains Project is a separate legal entity that plans to monetize its data, e.g. through catching link spam in real time. There is indeed a real partnership with Duck Duck Go. I don't think any of this is shady. I freely acknowledge I work on both projects--it's in my blog, my twitter, etc. I'm not trying to hide anything here.

2) Reviews are from Philly people (some known, some unknown to me) because that is the base from which I drew my beta-testers. I solicited them through our local startup mailing lists and clubs. There aren't more reviews because it just went public! The two negative reviews came from an initial release that was broken and wasn't working for anyone :(.

3) I'm not wedded to having the logo or the search link on the page at all. Both were not on initially and were suggestions by multiple beta-testers.

You also got something you did want - a recommendation of the correctly spelled name. Courtesy of a search engine. Seems fair the search engine gets to brand its helpfulness.

My professional interest in the world of internet companies, domain/company names, and internet advertising means I like to see how a particular site is parked/squatted. (What ads do they think are related? Is there contact info for a domain purchas?)

I'm also not sure I'd trust Duck Duck Go and/or the crowdsourced 'useless'/'useful' rankings to keep up with site changes.

So on a browser with this, I'd always click 'proceed anyway', making this have negative value for me.

The list isn't crowd sourced--the buttons are just for feedback.

Fatal flaw: The people who go to these pages and click on ads, aren't people who would install a firefox plugin.

If you're using firefox, you're most likely completely aware that facebok!=facebook.

You don’t have to be a person who clicks on ads on parked pages to find it useful. These domains routinely come on other search engines and via typoquatting. Yes, even people like us mistype addresses and click on search results we otherwise think to be valid sites. At least I know I do!

As for people who don’t install extensions, I hope there will be other toolbars (and tools in general) for other platforms that reach these people. If you installed Firefox for your parents/grandparents, you could similarly install this add-on for them.

It seems like opendns etc do this in an easier way though.

Yeah, a DNS server is an option we're considering.

OpenDNS already allows you to block sqatting sites (or any from a few different categories) via dns. http://www.opendns.com/solutions/homenetwork/parental/

"parked domains" is on that list.

My suggestion would be to reduce the Duck Duck Go logo somewhat.

There is an extremely fine line between appearing spammy/selfserving and actually delivering value to users. Mind you, the application/service might actually remain functionally same, but in former case people will be bringing pitchforks, while in latter they might bring cookies and milk.

I’m not wedded to having the logo at all, actually. At first it had no logo, but the feedback from beta-testers was that one would be valuable both to anchor the page and to give a visual remembrance as to what the page was about and where it came from. Anyway, I tried different sizes, and this one seemed to work visually. Perhaps I’ll try again. Thanks for the constructive feedback.

This plugin has a bunch of reviews which were very obviously by its creator. This is scummy. As is combining a legitimate plugin (blocking parked pages) with a useless one ("lets you more easily use our search engine").

Wow, that is a pretty bold accusation with absolutely no evidence to back it up!

First and foremost, none of those reviews were by me, nor did I tell anyone what to say. Secondly, the search engine both a) provides the search suggestions for the block pages and b) has the blocked pages removed from its results. That is, they are naturally complementary.

Some more clarification...

1) From my other comment (but relevant here)... Those reviews in question (not all, but most) are from Philly people (some known, some unknown to me) because that is the base from which I drew my beta-testers. I solicited them through our local startup mailing lists and clubs. There aren't more reviews because it just went public! The two negative reviews came from an initial release that was broken and wasn't working for anyone :(.

2) Beyond the complementary functions to the user stated above (search suggestions, better search results, search from block page, etc.), there are also many more synergies on the back end. The search engine provides invaluable false positive data to do The Parked Domains Project. Additionally, while the project is good at backend crawling, it has no front end code base at all except for a static Web site, whereas the search engine already has all of that speed/scale infrastructure in place.

3) By your logic, every feature in the Google/Yahoo/whatever toolbar should be its own extension or else it is "scummy?" Or are all search boxes "useless"? Or are you just singling out mine?

That serach engine nees a bit of refinement. Doesn't even find itself: http://duckduckgo.com/?q=duck+duck+go

It tells you "An awesome search engine." What more do you want? You're already on the site :). In all seriousness, there will be more "zero-click" company data coming soon...

> What more do you want?

An indication when there are no results. I did a vanity search and ended up with a long blank page.

What search? There should be a no results message if there are no results.

Never mind - ignore me; I'm running the NoScript plugin and although I'd allowed for duckduckgo I'd not done so for yahoo.

Might want to add a noscript javascript required warning though :)

Ahh, thanks for the clarification. Is there a way to display a warning to just noscript users?

I have no idea, but the <noscript> tag will show to anyone with JS disabled.


So if I buy a domain, and don't use it for a few months... it could be blocked (since many registrars like godaddy put up a parked page if I am too lazy to change it)?

Then I would have to dig around and unflag it? What about people who don't use this service (like myself) that would never know the site they are trying to promote is being blocked?

From the site that keeps all the blocked domains:

"First, we're very sorry for any inconvenience this false positive may have caused you. Seriously. Second, find the domain in the list, using the alphabetical directory above. Finally, click the X next to the domain to report it as a false positive."

I realize this is unlikely, but it seems like a service that keeps a database of pages it considers spam should automatically check for this situation on a periodic basis....

We are currently crawling all domains (in the tlds we cover) once a month, and so it should be resolved automatically at an average of two weeks. The feedback on the site is to help us detect false positives and get people unblocked quicker, where appropriate.

Naive questions:

How does your data center look like? What is your web crawler written in?

I assume that your startup is fairly small - how difficult is/was it to get enough resources (funding) to scale up? (esp. datacenter wise)

I see that you do not just cover English and other (co.?? org.??) domains are covered fairly well.

The crawler is written in Perl, and has been optimized such that the amount of resources we need to produce our list is actually not that much.

Ok great, I was hoping so but did not see it anywhere spelled out.

Good to hear!

It's actually on the report a false positive page (http://www.ivegotafang.com/fp.html), but I agree it should be made more clear on the front page as well. Thanks for the feedback!

I think people are smart enough to decide what they want to do when they land at a parked page. If they want to leave, guess what, type in another URL. If they want to click and ad, so be it. Another cha-ching in Google's coffers (guess who powers those ad feeds!)

My criteria for an add-on is what value does it provide me that either (a) saves me time (b) improves my experience (c) makes me money (d) gets me laid.

Now, if you can create an add-on that hits (c) and (d), you'll be rich.

Personally, I'm all for any options that bring down the incentives for parking domains.

I've been using the plugin for a few weeks. It doesn't often come into effect (I don't misspell that often), but it is nice to have when I do!

I have always liked the name.

Yeah, it is a funny name. I'm not sure, though, about this link. Seems a little spammy. When I saw this link on HN, with a little "mozilla.org" I thought, "Wow, someone at Mozilla is blogging about a cool plugin." But no, the DDG guys just linked to their plugin page in Mozilla's directory and got all the credibility that goes with Mozilla. Not a big deal, but I don't like seeing misleading links on HN. Maybe it's not that misleading, but the title leads me to expect some sort of analysis and a post rather than an installation page.

I didn't mean to be misleading at all. The point is to announce the plugin, and that is where the plugin is! It's that simple. Actually, there is no page on our site to download it and we don't have a blog--our link to the toolbar goes where this link goes...where you download it...

Ah, no blog. Ok, my bad :)

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