Bullet Proof Hosting: Financing and Payment

Monday, August 02, 2010

Nathaniel Markowitz

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This is the fifth part in series of articles derived from the a graduate research project entitled "A Preliminary Survey of the Bulletproof Hosting Landscape" (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

Authors: Nathaniel Markowitz, Jonathan Brown, Amanda Cummins, Erin Greathouse, Christopher Kanezo, David McIntire, Thomas Saly, Toby Taylor, Louis Ulrich, Desiree Williams

By far, the most common form of payment used is Web Money. This is largely due to the anonymity it offers combined with the lax regulatory environment in its home country, Belize. Also used, though far less frequently, is Pay Pal8.

Pricing, however, varies a great deal from host to host. Location, currency values, desired TLDs, host reputation and hosting method all influence the cost of BP hosting. Prices can range from $10 to more than four thousand of dollars a month.

Specifically, there seems to be a hierarchy of services offered. The cheapest service is shared space, or “cloud,” hosting. This is, in effect, sharing the same resources among a group of customers.

More expensive is virtualized private servers (VPS). This provides a higher degree of isolation and dedicates more resources to the users.

Next in terms of price is leasing a dedicated server. In this case, content is hosted on an individual or a group of machines tasked solely for the user. Most expensive is reverse-proxy, or “fast flux,” hosting.

This service, in effect, constantly changes the IP address of a domain, providing a much higher level of security than other services.

Possible Points of Intervention

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis is a method commonly used by organizations seeking to maximize their effectiveness.

Generally, these groups analyze internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors to generate strategies to strengthen their business or organizational model.

This paper applies an inverted form of SWOT as a way of identifying possible points of intervention.

This analysis will identify:

(1) the infrastructural strengths that permit BPHs to be an efficient and profitable enterprise;

(2) the infrastructural weaknesses that inhibit the efficiency and profitability of BPHs;

(3) the environmental opportunities that facilitate the growth and expansion of BPHs; and

(4) the environmental threats that may impede the growth and expansion of BPHs.

Having identified these factors, this paper then proposes a series of strategies that may be implemented to weaken the BP hosting landscape.

For more information: bphresearchgroup@gmail.com

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs for providing the resources to make this research project possible. We would also like to thank Palantir Technologies for allowing us to use their software in our analysis. Finally, a very special thanks goes to Matt Ziemniak and Jim Beiber for their patience, help and guidance and for creating a research environment that was both enriching and enjoyable.

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