July 3, 2000 1:05 AM   Subscribe

www.excite@home.com Anyone know how they got that domain? Which NICs are allowing "unusual" characters, and how widespread is the standard?
posted by owillis (15 comments total)
Finally, one that I know a little about (I think).
The actual domain that is being used is just home.com and (again, I think) that anything before the @ is passed to the server as a password. As the server doesn't require a password, it just looks like the domain you are accessing is www.excite@home.com.
So, someone could do www.microsoft@apple.com, and you would get taken to the apple.com website. This was just something I was reading about the other day (for some bizarre reason) but I am sure that there is a more technical reason...!
posted by skinnyjimmy at 1:23 AM on July 3, 2000

; <<>> DiG 8.2 <<>> www.excite@home.com
;; res options: init recurs defnam dnsrch
;; got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 4
;; flags: qr aa rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0
;; www.excite\@home.com, type = A, class = IN

COM. 5m23s IN SOA A.ROOT-SERVERS.NET. hostmaster.internic.NET. (
2000070201 ; serial
30M ; refresh
15M ; retry
1W ; expiry
1D ) ; minimum

;; Total query time: 20 msec
;; FROM: katchomko.com to SERVER: default --
;; WHEN: Mon Jul 3 02:02:37 2000
;; MSG SIZE sent: 37 rcvd: 114

they're escaping the "@" in the DNS record, just like using \t for tab or \n for newline in nearly every scripting language. It's a neat trick, but it did break some resolvers. lynx, for example, gave me a top level LOCAL directory listing when I put in the addy. whois chokes on the addy, but I don't have the latest version on this box.
posted by katchomko at 3:06 AM on July 3, 2000


further experimentation would indicate that bind's resolvers dismiss everything to the right of the "@"; this seems like a failsafe maneuver. I pulled up http://katchomko@microsoft.com in my browser (MS's site), and anyone who knows me knows that there is no way in heck I'm ever going to get a server there ;)
posted by katchomko at 3:18 AM on July 3, 2000

errr, left of the "@" i mean.

"I posted while intoxicated at mefi, and all i got was some bumped up stats"
posted by katchomko at 3:27 AM on July 3, 2000

Looks like they are just sending a bogus username/password. http://yadda.yadda@home.com works the same way...
posted by erogers at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2000

How to Obscure Any URL

posted by alana at 8:27 AM on July 3, 2000

It's a neat trick, though. Anyone with a domain can advertise that way. http://eat@joes-diner.com. It'd be an interesting way to confuse people, if nothing else...

"What's your e-mail address?"
"Okay...and your website address?"
posted by Jairus at 9:15 AM on July 3, 2000

thanks for the explainers folks, woulda never figgered it myself
posted by owillis at 11:35 AM on July 3, 2000

On the other hand, this type of cuteness will be deadly for those who don't know an e-mail address from a URL (I work with lots of them). I still have to explain what @ is to our secretary every time I give her my home e-mail address (since she can't figure out how to save it in her address book). And I think that she's more computer-literate than many in her generation.
posted by elgoose at 6:46 PM on July 3, 2000

Oh, ghod... here we go again.

"If This Goes On--"
posted by baylink at 11:14 AM on July 4, 2000

It's worth noting that RFC 1035, by inclusion from the "Rules for ARPANET host names" does in fact make this sort of horseshit illegal:

"The labels must follow the rules for ARPANET host names. They must start with a letter, end with a letter or digit, and have as interior characters only letters, digits, and hyphen. There are also some restrictions on the length. Labels must be 63 characters or less."

This has been bent a touch, in the case of companies like 3COM (for whom the trend on that score was started), but it's worth noting that no smaller a company than 3_M_ did *not* break the rule, registering mmm.com.
posted by baylink at 11:19 AM on July 4, 2000

baylink, you misunderstand. "www.excite@" isn't a hostname, your brain is just interpreting it as one. Instead, though, your browser is set up to parse like this:


for websites that require HTTP logins.

Thus, if there's a website -- www.website.com -- that I can log into (using standard HTTP security, not some custom thing like most e-commerce sites use), and my login is "jason", password "ilikecheese", then I can save the following bookmark in my favorites and not have to type in my login every time I go to the site:

posted by delfuego at 2:52 PM on July 4, 2000

While on the topic of peculiar domain names, I'm going to tangentalize a little bit, and run a query past people much more familiar with the rules than I am.

Why isn't their more usage of machinename.website.com (to steal the url from delfuego :-)

Nike, with whatever.nike.com was the first large company I've seen to advertise a non-WWW site.

A lot of places would rather do www.website.com/sub-site then subsite.website.com with the notable exception of a lot of hosting services, but even those are usually www.YOURDOMAINHERE.website.com style.

(note, this isn't complete wondering. I literally just got a static internet connection at home, and am going to be moving my mail and web sites to a FreeBSD box, and I'd like to explore the possibility of subdomaining, as opposed to different subdirectories.)
posted by cCranium at 3:23 PM on July 4, 2000

cC, I think yours is an easy question: so People Who Are Not Like Us understand that it's a website address.
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:11 PM on July 4, 2000


Definetely something we can agree on. (if I wasn't in the process of moving it, I'd point to rmd.cx right now. :-)

posted by cCranium at 1:37 PM on July 5, 2000

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