No Troublemakers Allowed In Online Gated Community

from the safe-and-sound dept

There’s one way to be sure that you’ll never get mugged, catch bird flu, or have any other calamities befall you: lock yourself in an underground bunker and wait out the rest of your life. Now, some are hoping to apply the same approach to internet security in a bid to avoid spam, viruses and any other lurking dangers. WebLOQ is a company trying to build its own private internet, with its own email system, and other web services such as access to banks. Their pitch is that instead of spending money on firewalls and spam filters, users will pay $9.95/month to ensure that they only come in contact with trusted contacts. The company uses the gated community metaphor as opposed to the underground bunker, but either way it would seem to ignore what makes the internet great, namely the ability to connect and communicate with the far-flung. Arguably what the company is building is a MySpace for grownups, though one that ideally has more functionality. But were it to hit a critical mass, enabling users to have a rich experience, it’s likely that, as in MySpace, it would get harder and harder to secure its gates. Though one does take real risks being online, for the vast majority of people the benefits of the free internet are worth the costs.

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Comments on “No Troublemakers Allowed In Online Gated Community”

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I, for one says:

Wont work

Yeah, I’m gonna build my own internet too, with blackjack and hookers…

AOL anoyone?

Just how do they propose to prevent infiltration by spammers? $9 a throw to set up a bunch of accounts, build a reputation and then go spam crazy until they are shut down is small fry for spammers who make millions.

Besides, it’s perfactly possible to create hidden nets on the existing infrastructure without paying. VPNs, tunnelled through encrypted links to private servers. No doubt that the “internet” the average person can see is just the tip of the iceberg, there are whole subnets out there for business, military and government use that nobody is aware of. Anybody can set one of those up, most the serious filesharing is via ‘hidden’ networks.

This idea of having a private “internet” and inviting anybody to join for a price is daft.

s1l3nt c (user link) says:

If I don't look at it...

Spam, virii, and scams are very scary. 😛 Let’s all go back to sending telegrams, or better yet, Pony Express messages…

And cars are dangerous,too. So let’s all start riding in horse-drawn carriages, or better yet, walk everywhere…

And sitting on public toilets…

And breathing “natural” air…

And flourescent lighting…


Kevin says:

Sounds like a joke, or a scam

I remember about 6 or 7 years ago there was a company calling itself I2 that was supposedly “founded by the same people who invented the internet” (though none of them had military backgrounds or came from CERN) that was going to build a new, cleaner, safer, family friendly Internet. And “the best part” was that they weren’t relying on VC funding, they were open for any small investor to invest in and it was going to be the “next big thing.” I actually knew somone who got suckered in on the deal, and I haven’t heard of the company since.

This sounds like a very similar idea. They’re “careful not to reveal too many details”, and “there’s nothing else like this technology on the Internet today.” That sounds fishy to me. They’re saying that the average Internet user spends $60 a year to secure their PCs, but with his new system it will only cost $9.95 per year. So they’re going to save you $50 a year? That’s chump change.

This company is going to have to work in one of two ways. They can build an entirely new, physically separate “Internet” and sell access to it for $9.95 a month. I don’t know how one could even phantasize about subsidizing a nationwide data network that approximates the size and scope of just a fraction of the Internet at those rates. Or, they’re going to connect you to the existing network and let you sign into their service, a la AOL. If it’s the latter, you will still need to pay your $60 a year for security software since you will still be connected to the same network.

Regardless of which it is though, they only way that this system could work is if there is a wide enough variety of services available on it. The web access is only useful if the sites that you want to go to are on it. The email is only useful if the people that you want to email are also on the system. Otherwise, you still need to stay connected to the real Internet as well as WebLoq, which defeats the entire purpose of WebLoq.

The other big problem is that it completely cuts out any of the Internet’s “organic goodness”. The next hot thing isn’t often easily predicted, whether it’s a viral video, some other meme, a new service or even MMOG. And if WebLoq’s user’s can’t get to it, then why would they want WebLoq?

So how does WebLoq get content? Presumably you would have to pay to make your sites available to WebLoq users, but if there aren’t any (or many) users, where is the benefit of paying them to include your content? Which comes first, the content or the consumers? The Internet has an “if you build it they will come” spirit, but “if you pay to build it then someone else will pay to come see it” doesn’t flow so well.

abc says:

Re: Sounds like a joke, or a scam

Webloq’s website tells a story of a 3 year old company with a fascinating concept.

If it was that great how come they feed on small investors for as long as they have?

The private Internet is a fascinating joke that was debated by way more qualified people than these guys.

How can these guys expect us to believe that private Internet can exist over public networks?

This just tells me that they are either fools or misleading.

Josh (profile) says:

Gated.. yeah right.

Even in the analogy of a gated community, it’s still only gated. Anyone here know how to climb a fence? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Also, unless all these people never share their email address with _anyone_, they’re going to get spam somehow- especially if they’re dumb enough to pay for this service expecting no spam in the first place.

Jason says:

Only a matter of time and won't be a bad thing

Why can’t they have VPN software to connect to their network for exchanging mail, IMs, chats, etc with proprietary software (IE stuff that doesn’t even know what regularly formatted email looks like)..

Basically, rewrite the email server to not accept email as you know it. It’s converted to the format that this service provides.. Probably won’t even follow the and won’t run on the same ports.. So realisitcally, is a spammer going to learn the new format, hack the service (or pay to join it) just to send messages on the new format to those that are gated?

Doubt it.. Do the same stuff a different way for services like e-mail, etc.. Everyone has to be authenticated and have an account and then messages are guranteed safe / from the right person. Couple with PGP from trusted e-mails only (for messages from non-gated folks that are trusted)..

It would provide a certain amount of anonymity too if you’re tunneled to a private network.

I don’t see why this wouldn’t be a choice for some people. Just as you VPN to your work network, you could turn the connection off and still surf via your regular internet.. Could still get your gmail and all the sites on the net..

I see it as a part time safe-haven where your mail can be received and you can be pretty sure your likely to get just the mail made for you. folsk that live in gated communities don’t stay there their whole life.. They do visit other places.. Just that when they go home and are with their family, they have a little more protection.

I could see this being done rather cheaply and it being affective. The only problem is that there could easily be thousands of competitors up within a year if it were to take off.

It will happen.. A bunch of private networks with the internet as the backbone for things from jobs, to sports, to special interests, etc.. Secured VPN, encryption, etc.

If each is actually controlled correctly, it would also take that “big brother” stuff out of the picture (mostly).

You’d always still have your regular internet but for things that matter, you’ll sign on your favorite private network. One e-mail client that tunnels to trusted servers in 4 different private networks instead of connecting to stupid ISP via SMTP with no spam blocker..

Either that or they are going to actually redo the standard for e-mail instead of what is in place now..

If it’s not for you, that’s OK, you won’t notice these networks ever exist. They will serve a purpose for quite a few.

Antonio says:

Better & Safer than you may think ...

It is difficult to imagine how this architecture works for two reasons, one is that things are hard to imagine when you have never seen them before and two is that everyone on the net is stuck in a one way thinking pattern.

All I have heard so far is comparisons to My Space and to companies that have tried what they call the Private Internet and failed. This is similar to giving the low down on the inside of a vehicle you have never even been in.

Yes it is probably true that you can only have Email and Document exchange among WebLOQ users but if that wasn’t the case then how can there be a WebLOQ Private Community, right ?

Yes it is most likely true that bad people who spam and hack also have the ability to join the Private Community as well but it won’t matter if you have the ability to create communities of your own and allow only the users you want to exchange with you.

The possibilities are endless and the real question is not whether or not it can happen but if the team creating this thing can think it through properly.

CoCo says:

When will WebLOQ get off the ground

I have family members that are investors in WebLOQ, they think it’s going to take off and make them “rich”! I sure hope it does but I have my doubts. The company is very hush-hush about what it has to offer…is this normal? I would think that if a product wanted to be sold it would get it’s name out there, they do the opposite…why? My family has faith in these folks but I think it’s a big con. It’s been almost 4 years and they still are not off the ground with this thing. Does this sound normal to any of you?

David Fairchild says:

Free Advice

Advice to Barrios1, since you asked: Track down George Sidman and ask Him for $150 grand. His website ( has His address and phone number. But please, please, don’t bother to tell us over and over again that He owes you. No one here really cares whether He owes you or you Him. Techdirt is a technical forum. Leon Guzenda, chief technology officer for Objectivity, Inc. recently had this to say about His company, WebLOQ: “We have been using WebLOQ private email for the last eight months with amazing results: highly sensitive internal documents, not a single spam email, no false positives, and no viruses.” Now that’s Techdirt.

Barriosl says:

Webloq Makes Good

Mr. Sidman has contacted me, thanks to the Techdirt forum.
I am pleased to announce; that George has taken the High road on this matter and I am satisfied with the outcome.
I wish Webloq nothing but success and I am grateful to this forum, for the opportunity “to get the right information to the right people at the right time” (Techdirt mission statement).

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