Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Instant Messaging

Author:Harold Gilchrist
Posted:8/1/1999; 9:38:00 AM
Topic:Today's scriptingNews Outline
Msg #:8969 (In response to 8967)
Prev/Next:8968 / 8971

This is an interesting discussion because at the root of the problem is who pays for directory services and if you control directory services how much control do you really get?

I agree there is a role here for public servers. Actually we all (at least I did) believed that was what we were getting with the present Domain Name System.

I believe the present situation we are in now with the Domain Name System is not as much that it is a bad system or model in principal but more of the agreed terms of its' role were written back at a time when there was little or no information about where the future economy of the Internet was going.

What if Instant messaging was to be setup like DNS (but using XML of course)? Remember what we are really talking about here are real-time directory services.

Like DNS, there would be main servers on the Internet that are the source of all inquires. The servers would supply a set of open directory services available to all users and service providers (using something like XML-RPC of course).

The business model for the open root directory servers would be that directory service providers derive their revenue by registration process (sound familiar - helps raise and pay for the service as it ramps up) and licensing their content at a fair market price to all (helps maintain service).

In this open model any service provider would be able to repurpose the content and supply the data to their clients. Since the service provider will be making inquires for the client, the client will either have no cost or partial cost depending upon the value of their eyeballs to the service provider. Content fee access would probably be based on bandwidth or quantity of inquires made to public servers so price would scale depending on service provider size.

The service provider would act like a relay, traffic would flow from the client to it, and from it to the directory service and back. Yes this adds 2 more hops but that should not be a problem. Once communication is set up the connection would be between the 2 clients.

As directory services began to develop not all requests would need to made back to the root directory services as the service providers would get smarter and start to do things like cache certain data.

The advantage to this kind of model is we begin to develop open client universal services that compete with each other based on features not control. The market will determine what is a fair price for registration and content licensing and if there is any value to the services that are provided.

The assumption made here is that we would have many directory service providers so that buying any one of them would not get us back to the original problem. It would be to the advantage of the directory service providers to work out the backbone open standards together or risk being left to compete with a non-standard system.

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