OpenDNS Launched

Jason Kolb has blogged here and Rohan Pinto has blogged here about a new DNS service that has been launched, OpenDNS.

I have been really struggling to decide whether or not I like this idea of having a DNS server with ‘added’ functionality. OpenDNS states its benefits as:

1. Safer
2. Faster
3. Smarter
4. No software to install
5. Free

The first ‘Safer’ benefit derives from the fact the OpenDNS will actively prevent you from browsing to a known phishing web site. This has a distinct advantage over products such as IE7 (with its built in anti-phishing support) in that it doesn’t require any software installed on your local machine (benefit 4). This not only makes local software simplier for ‘joe public’ to use but it also means that software footprint is smaller. However, on the flip side to that, it also means that the decision as to whether I visit a particular site or not is taken out of my hands and put in the hands of a third party.

When we are talking about phishing sites, I don’t see that being a problem. However, what if this service is extrapolated to encompass other centrally controlled decisions (sorry I might just still have my cynical Google hat on).

I think there is a fine line to tread between offering a ‘value added’ service to the consumer and providing a service which dictates where I can and can’t browse.

Regarding the other benefits,

* Faster – Faster is always good. We are always wanting information quicker.
* Smarter – Useful until the time when a URL that OpenDNS thinks is a typo is actually valid but you can’t get there as the DNS server keeps interrupting your attempts.
* No software to install – Good as its one less thing to worry about.
* Free – Free is always good.

The only other problem I can see with OpenDNS is convincing your companies IT department to change their internal DNS forward servers to DNS servers other than their ISP. Since most corporate end-users only resolve against internal DNS servers, this service may only really be adopted by the home/home office user community.

Being a techie, I will of course give it a try and let you know what I find.


2 thoughts on “OpenDNS Launched

  1. Pingback: Here, Now

  2. I received this comment on my post above (via email) from John Brinton Roberts (OpenDNS).

    We have to prove ourselves (show, not tell), but we will keep
    answering questions. As I wrote here
    we’re aiming to put more control into your hands. Our next big
    priority is an account management system, so you can manage your DNS
    preferences yourself. Since you are savvy, you will probably want
    more preferences than we’ll offer at first (turn off phishing
    protection, turn off typo correction) — we’ll keep adding to the
    choices, first for static IP addresses, then dynamic.

    Hope you’ll tell us (or post) what you like and (more important) what
    you don’t.


    Thanks John. I will keep you posted.


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