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May. 25th, 2006

The US Senate is meeting later today to discuss net neutrality. I haven't really thought much about the issue, although having dealt with network congestion in a past career, I am somewhat sympathetic to the telcos' POV.

I went to the IETF and NANOG lists to see if anyone was discussing net neutrality. I didn't see anything, but I did run across a thread on NANOG on geotargeting (using IP addresses to determine the location of a user). As you might expect, the NANOG participants were not particularly enamored of the subject, citing several drawbacks, including a recent paper. I skimmed through most of it, noting several points that I've made (and continue to make on WebmasterWorld), and a few things I didn't know. (I plan to read the paper carefully soon.)

It's interesting just how different the NANOG view of the world is from the WebmasterWorld view with regards to geotargeting. In the latter, there are people who swear up and down that it is a "good" thing and that it is "accurate". As you may have guessed, this was one of those contentious issues that came up during my time in AV, where people wanted to buy geolocation databases thinking they held the key to being able to deliver targeted ads to searchers.

On a somewhat related note, I used to think that understanding the types of problems inherent in using geolocation databases was the type of "problem solving" that employers would be interested in, but I never get asked questions like that on interviews. It is commensurate with things I learned in undergrad and grad school, not to mention jobs that involved understanding how networks worked. I always considered those types of questions to be fair game for interviews (until recently).

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