Internationalized Domain Names and Homograph Attacks
With normal spoofing a scammer tries to get personal information by sending fraudulent emails masquerading as an official website an individual might be working with. While some fall for the deception, many know better since the domain name in the email doesn’t resemble the domain name they usually use to access whatever site. However, what happens if a domain name looks exactly like an official website,
This, in combination with a more ‘professional’ email, could trick someone into giving away all of their personal data. And when this happens they will eventually become victims of identity theft. But, how can a scammer acquire a domain name that looks official, It’s through the unfortunate practice of the homograph attack.
What is a homograph attack, A homograph attack is when a person makes an internationalized domain name, (also known as an IDN), look like a traditional domain name associated with a popular website. They are able to do this because of the way internationalized domain names work. Basically, internationalized domain systems use a different type of coding system than the ASCII-based domain names Americans are used to.
However, even with a different coding system, some languages have characters that look similar to characters used in American English. Scammers exploit this by taking these letters and creating domain names that look ‘new’ to browsers and servers, at least in terms of coding. To the human eye, these fraudulent domain names appear to already be taken, which is exactly what a scammer wants. They cause further confusion by creating sites that look pretty much like the sites associated with the original domain name that the scammers are spoofing.
Before and even after internationalized domain names became popular, homograph attacks were expressed through spoofing just English characters. Scammers exploited the visual similarities between ‘O’ and ‘0’ or ‘I’ and ‘l’. Examples include ‘G00Gle.com or ‘PayPaI.com.’ If a person is not paying attention, they could still become victims, but at least these types of domain names still look unusual. With internationalized domain name homograph attacks, the above-mentioned websites could look just as they are supposed to, fooling even the most vigilant Internet user.
So, how can a person prevent becoming a victim of an internationalized domain name homograph attack, First, they should never click on any domain name that is given through an email. Instead, they should enter the domain name manually into their browser. In situations where one is working with a third-level domain that could be harder to remember, Internet users need to copy and paste the domain name into Notepad. This program will help them determine what character set and coding is being used for the domain name. If it’s not English and ASCII, a person should be weary.
In conclusion, internationalized domain name homograph attacks can cause a lot of havoc for Internet users. However, Internet users should find comfort in the fact that while they do need to be aware of the presence of the homograph attack, the traditional method of spoofing which is much easier to spot tends to be more common. This is because a person must be both clever and lucky to land an internationalized domain name that looks that much like a domain name that is already in use. It’s much easier for scammers to try and fool people through email hyperlinks.
Domain Names 101
Without a domain name, websites are specified by an IP address. What is an IP address, It is an identifier that is used by computers or humans to determine the location of a server or website. However, for humans, an IP address, (which is expressed in a numerical format), can be difficult to remember. This is why domain names were invented. With a domain name, a human can locate a website through more user-friendly words or phrases. And although numbers can be a part of a domain name, they usually do not make up all of it, like what is seen with an IP address.
In terms of format, domain names have several parts. The first part is known as the URL, (which stands for Uniform Resource Locator). The URL tells the browser what the domain name is going to point to. This will usually be ‘http’, which means the browser can expect to locate a hypertext document. In layman’s terms this means webpage. In the rare cases the URL is not ‘http’ it may be ‘ftp’, which means file transfer protocol. A webmaster would opt to use ftp if they would like visitors to download files from their server.
The second part of the domain name will be “www,” which stands for “World Wide Web.” This phrase lets computers and humans know the site the domain name is pointing to is indeed from the Internet. It is followed by the actual domain name, which can be a combination of letters, numbers or phrases. A good domain name will be short, memorable and most importantly, search-engine friendly. In fact, good webmasters tend to concentrate more on a domain name’s effectiveness with SEO, (or Search Engine Optimization), than they do its creativity. To do this they make sure to choose a domain name that has a widely searched keyword.
The final portion of the domain name has what is known as an extension. This lets a person know a little bit more about a website’s origins. For example, take .com, the most common domain name extension. It stands for ‘commercial’, and was originally intended for organizations in that vein. However, now the extension is used by virtually anyone looking to create a website. And this is for good reason, since most web surfers will think about the .com before they would think about .org, .biz or .net. Yet, don’t think the other extensions can’t become memorable either. Consider Wikipedia.org which is a wildly popular website despite its .org extension.
Domain name extensions can also specify things on a geographical level. An example are country-based extensions such as .fr, (which stands for France), or .jp, (which stands for Japan). They can also be state-based, such as .ca, (which stands for California). Both can serve as excellent tools for localized Internet marketing.
To get a domain name, a person can either: 1) get one from their web hosting company, provided they offer that service or 2) get one from a separate domain name company. Price-wise things will vary with both options, though typically the cost will range from $6.50 to $35.
About Mobile Domain Names
When the Internet first came out it was restricted to a wired connection to a computer. Eventually technology improved, creating wireless Internet. At that point the Internet could be accessible through desktops, laptops and mobile devices without wiring. This means that the Internet was now portable. And as more mobile devices are getting created, consumers are exploring how to increase this portability. In fact, wireless Internet has gotten so popular with mobile devices, domain name companies have created a new extension. It’s called .mobi.
.Mobi is the extension of choice for websites that are being formatted for cell phones, pdas and other mobile devices. It can be bought from most major domain name companies such as Godaddy or Network Solutions. As far as registering a .mobi domain name, one would go through the same type of procedure that is associated with traditional domain names. This involves first choosing a .mobi domain name and seeing if it is available.
If it is not available, the domain name company will offer suggestions on what a person can use. Either way, the customer will be given another chance to select another .mobi domain name. Once they get one that is not taken, they can proceed to purchase it. The contract will last one to two years, depending on what they agreed upon with the domain name company. When the contract is up, a person will have to renew their .mobi domain name if they want to continue to keep it.
So, why would a webmaster decide to invest in a domain name that is restricted to mobile devices, Well, it’s mainly because they get an opportunity to center in on a market that is relatively new. Since most webmasters or companies are trying to take advantage of the .coms or the .nets, the .mobi has become somewhat forgotten. This means that it is prime for search engine keywords that would normally not be available for traditional domain names. It can also allow a webmaster a branding opportunity for their company.
However, since a .mobi domain name means a webmaster is creating a website specially designed for a mobile phone, it cannot have the types of frills that it could have if it was being promoted on a computer. Good mobile websites need to be mostly textual with very limited number of pics, (if any). Granted, plain text is not fancy, but it doesn’t require much loading time. Mobile phone sites should also not be very large nor should they be created with frames or other more complicated layouts.
A webmaster may also want to consider trying to divert the mobile website visitor to a regular website. One way this can be done is by advertising the domain name that is associated with a traditional website. But it must be made clear that the site will only display appropriately on regular computers. Another option is trying to capture the person’s email address by offering them something free, such as an e-book or low-cost merchandise.
When they sign up to the email subscription, their first newsletter could advertise the traditional website a webmaster wants promoted. By doing either of these options, webmasters can still take advantage of pay-per-clicks or affiliate programs, revenue generators which may not be promoted on .mobi websites due to viewing limitations with banner or text ads.
Free Domain Names
Without a domain name, a person does not have a suitable way to find a website. The only problem is domain names cost money. Granted, if a person is operating one or two sites, the cost of a domain name, (which ranges from $1.00 to $35), probably isn’t too steep. However, what if one is an avid marketer, making profit from hundreds of sites, Even the minimum in domain name fees can add up. This is why Internet marketing gurus might want to consider signing up for free domain names. Three types of free domain name exist: third level domain names, first level domain names with lesser used extensions and first level domain names with traditional extensions.
The first type of free domain name is known as a third level domain name. This is a domain name that is commonly distributed by free web hosting companies or affiliate programs. Yet, there is a downside to this type of domain name. This downside involves the first level domain name, (usually the company’s name), having to be a part of the third level domain name. For example, consider a website created with Geocities.
If a webmaster chooses ‘web hosting’ as their third level domain name, the following would be the syntax: Geocities.com/webhosting. Such a domain name is not very convenient for potential visitors, so webmasters may want to consider redirecting these types of URLs to other versions of free domain names.
The second type of free domain name is a first level domain name that contains an extension that is not as popular in the Internet world. Examples are the types of free domain names offered by Dot.tk or Free Domain.co. The extensions offered from these companies are .tk and .co.nr, respectively. These are far from a .com or a .net, but they are not as cumbersome to use as a third level domain name. The main key is going to be making sure the initial domain name is short and easy to remember, so potential visitors won’t be as offset by the unusual extension.
Finally, there are free domain names with extensions that are more commonly used such as .com or .org. To find these a person has to do some sleuthing. Sometimes individuals will offer them for free, since they were about to expire anyway. A person can try to find these situations through message boards dedicated to webmasters. Other times companies will offer these types of free domain names because they are getting free ad space. What happens is every time the free domain name is used, a pop-up ad will show up on the person’s website. This is how the free domain name company gets their revenue.
In conclusion, free domain names can be an excellent alternative for someone needing domains for several websites. The best ones are those in which a person can get a first level domain, though a third level domain name is better than nothing. To sign up for a free domain name, one can search for free domain name companies on the Internet.
The 3 Easiest Ways For Newbies To Start In Affiliate Marketing
With the aid of the Internet, you can almost have everything right at your fingertips. With just a few clicks you get access to thousands and even millions of pieces of information and data on virtually any field of interest. As years pass by, the Internet continuous to effect radical changes in many facets of human endeavors, including commerce. Experts say that the information space, commonly known as the “world wide web,” grows by over a million pages everyday as more and more people utilize the Internet for information, education, entertainment, business and other personal reasons. It doesn’t take a business-oriented individual to realize that this phenomenon can bring about sky-high financial gains. The Internet’s fast-growing popularity in the recent years is surely an opportunity for business that any entrepreneur would not want to miss.
You might be thinking only businessmen can make much money out of the Internet, don’t you, Think again. You too can earn big bucks through the Internet even if you don’t have products to sell and high-profile and established company. How, That is through affiliate marketing. You might have come across these words over the net while surfing. Affiliate marketing is a revenue sharing between a merchant and an affiliate who gets paid for referring or promoting the merchants’ products and services. It is one of the burgeoning industries nowadays because it is proven to be cost-efficient and quantifiable means of attaining great profit both for the merchant and the affiliate and other players in the affiliate program, such as the affiliate network or affiliate solution provider.
Affiliate marketing works effectively for the merchant and the affiliate. To the first, he gains opportunities to advertise his products to a larger market, which increases his chances to earn. The more affiliate websites or hard-working affiliates he gets, the more sales he can expect. By getting affiliates to market his products and services, he is saving himself time, effort and money in looking for possible markets and customers. When a client clicks on the link in the affiliate website, purchases the product, recommends it to others who look for the same item or buys it again, the merchant multiplies his chances of earning. On the other hand, the affiliate marketer benefits from each customer who clicks on the link in his website and who actually purchases the product or avails of the service provided by the merchant. In most cases, the affiliate gets commision per sale, which can be fixed percentage or fixed amount.
If you want to be an affiliate marketer and make fortunes out of the Internet, you may follow the following three most basic and easiest ways to start an effective affiliate marketing program. First is to identify a particular thing you are interested in or passionate about so you won’t be bored and forced to develop your affiliate web site later on. Focusing on a specific area you know very well will help you bring out your best without much risks and effort. You can add a personal touch to your site and give your visitors who are possible buyers an impression that you are an expert in your field. In this way, you gain their trust and eventually encourage them to buy the products you endorse. Next is to look for good paying merchants and products or services related to your interest and create now a website. In choosing the products, you must also consider its conversion rate-the number of visitors-turned-buyers. There are various affiliate networks and affiliate solution providers that can give you info on the most profitable products and best paying merchants. The key here is, be wise enough to choose the right one.
Now that you have decided where to concentrate, have chosen the products to endorse and the merchant you are supporting and have created your own web site with top level domain name and reliable hosting, you are ready to promote. This is a crucial task, since it is through this that you would be able to increase traffic to the business website, sales and of course, profit. In affiliate marketing, it is possible to earn large sums of money in a short span of time especially when you’re endorsing high-priced items. Expensive products are hard to sell; however, with the right marketing strategies and sales techniques, you can draw visitors to the merchant’s site and make them buy the products. How to promote the products, though, would need a separate discussion. Continue to educate yourself by reading books or other articles online about the best advertising techniques.
Keep in mind, there is no facile and quick path towards success. Affiliate marketing may seem very tempting due to numerous encouraging testimonies of merchants and affiliate marketers alike who have benefited from it, but it entails great deal of hard work and persistence. Likewise, you need to be creative, flexible and willing to embrace new ideas to market your partners’ products until you find the perfect strategy that works for a specific market that you are targeting. Neither signing up for an affiliate program nor copying ads and leading others towards the merchants’ site doesn’t guarantee success yet. Many affiliate marketers fail to understand this, so when they don’t make sales, they quit, look for other programs and repeat the same mistake. In the end, they conclude that affiliate marketing is just one of those scams in the Internet. Even as you sleep, you can work your way to great financial success if you employ the right strategies in affiliate marketing. Be creative, be smart and surely, you’ll achieve your goals.