All posts by Sam Bazzi

I am an experienced technologist, web publisher, and engineering leader based in Silicon Valley, California. I specialize in Open Source Content Management Systems (Drupal, MediaWiki, & WordPress) Domain Name Social Parking, Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) research, development and monetization, and application development. I am also an IDN and eDiscovery consultant. I have extensive experience in the following areas: Content Management Systems: Drupal, MediaWiki, & WordPress Marketing and Advertising: Domain Names Social Parking, Google AdSense and AdWords, IDN monetization, Internet Advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), on-line branding. Public Affairs and Public Relations: Provided news media and web exposure to several Bay Area public affairs institutions. Interviewed and featured by CBS and NBC. Software Development: Engineering management, Project Planning, Life Cycle, Requirements Gathering, Cost/Benefit Analysis, Data Modeling, Database Design, Software Architecture, Software Design, Website Design, Solution Diagramming, Communication, Presentation, Internet Technologies. Key Technologies: Apache, CGI, CSS, DBI, Drupal, HTML, HTTP, JavaScript, LAMP, LDAP, Linux, Mason, MediaWiki, mod_perl, MySQL, Oracle, Perl, PHP, SQL, Template Toolkit, Unix, Visio, WordPress.

Dr. Vinton Cerf at Temple Emanu-El of San Jose, California

Dr. Vinton "Vint" G. Cerf gave a speech at Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, California (Tuesday, February 10, 2009). The topic of the speech was "The Past, Present, & (Interplanetary) Future of the Internet." The speech was provided as part of Temple Emanu-El's Brotherhood Distinguished Speaker Series. Dr. Cerf is a Vice President & Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, Inc.

Party of Odd

New Arab Islamic Resistance raises a question: Who?

Flag of the Arab Islamic Resistance

The symbol of the new Arab Islamic Resistance (AIR) is very close to that of Hezbollah, despite the group’s opposition to the Party of God.

As missiles rained on Gaza’s residents on the 12th day of Israel’s offensive, Sayyed Mohamed Ali al-Husseini granted Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya news channel an exclusive interview.

He declared himself the leader of a new, 3,000-man strong militia in Lebanon – the Arab Islamic Resistance – dedicated to fighting Israel. The next day a volley of rockets from Lebanon slammed into the Jewish State.

“I have no comment,” Husseini told NOW Lebanon when asked if his militia fired the rockets. He spoke with a calm confidence during an hour-long interview in his sparsely decorated office in Mrejeh, a southern suburb of Beirut, deep in the power center of the country’s other Islamic Resistance, Hezbollah.

He announced the existence of his armed group on January 7, but he told NOW he’d been amassing and training men for over seven months. Furthermore, some 1,500 Gulf residents expressed interest in joining the militia, he said. When they’ll arrive to train and fight in Lebanon is yet to be determined.

Central to the group’s identity is Arabism. (So central, in fact, they named a homemade rocket they created by improving on a Katyusha after the “Arabism” rocket.) Husseini and his troops reject Hezbollah’s Iranian ties and plan to run candidates from the Arab Islamic Resistance against the party in the 2009 elections.

Despite the Arab Islamic Resistance’s open and vocal opposition to Hezbollah, the Party of God has remained silent. They have not threatened Husseini as they are accused of doing to other anti-Hezbollah Shia politicians and religious figures. A Hezbollah press spokeswoman told NOW the party had no comment on Husseini or his new Resistance.

Husseini said he trained his thousands of fighters – firing guns and test-firing rockets – north of Lebanon’s Litani River. He would not specify where exactly, and surprisingly said the fighters never encountered any opposition from the Lebanese army or anyone else for that matter.

“It’s Lebanon,” he offered, briefly speaking in English. He displayed pictures of armed men in a forest with himself pouring over a map that was clearly not one of the military maps armed fighters usually use when training.

Resistance watchers – analysts, authors and journalists – contacted by NOW said they’d never heard of Husseini and found it strange it took a television interview to bring a 3,000-strong actively-training force to come to light. Wouldn’t someone have noticed them earlier, was the resounding refrain.

In fact, it was quite a challenge finding people who knew much about Husseini.

“I doubt his wife supports him,” one religious leader said, after making yet another phone call on the ancient Panasonic fax machine at his side to a colleague in search of information on Husseini. In fact, interview after interview ended with the same conclusion: This is mostly talk.

Husseini elusively said his funding comes from Arabs locally and abroad. From other sources, the usual conspiracy theories that the US and Saudi Arabia were funneling him cash flowed freely. One person contacted for this article, Sam Bazzi, a Lebanese living in America who runs a website that monitors terrorist activities, claimed Husseini’s money comes from Iran and that he is, in fact, an undercover Hezbollah agent.

SaM BaZzI
The counterterrorism analyst Sam Bazzi

Hezbollah’s spokeswoman did not stay on the phone long enough to respond to that specific accusation.Husseini himself was elusive about his past. He refused to say where in Lebanon he was born, preferring to merely be known as Lebanese.

News reports about him mention time he spent in an Iranian prison. He merely confirmed this and attributed it to his opposition to the Wilayat al-Faqih (the Guardianship of the Jurist), the religious doctrine adopted by Iran that gives the country’s top cleric absolute authority on every issue.

He also confirmed but would not elaborate on the time in October 2007 when his car fell apart as he drove toward the city of Sur. At the time, he told Iraq’s Yaqen news agency that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard poured acid on the vehicle’s frame in an attempt on his life.

What is known is that Husseini studied Islam in Qom, Iran, where he learned and apparently accepted the doctrine of Wilayat al-Faqih (a book he wrote in 2004 offered praise for Ayatollah Khomeini). By late 2004 he clearly rejected the doctrine, but refused to discuss these moments from his past.

While in Qom, he also befriended Hassan Nasrallah and for some time was a member of Hezbollah. Husseini says he and Nasrallah are still close friends. He even said his name was once floated as a possible successor to Nasrallah as Hezbollah’s secretary general, a claim analysts find difficult to swallow.

“This I know for a fact, he was never high- or mid-ranking even,” said Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, the author of 2001’s Hezbollah: Politics and Religion.

Husseini described the only difference between his party and Hezbollah as Iran.

“Hezbollah has an organization, we have an organization,” he said. “Hezbollah has a resistance, we have a resistance. Hezbollah has a political platform; we have a political platform… Hezbollah is in Dahiyeh and the South; we are in Dahiyeh and the South.”

Iran, he said, was the only wedge between them. He even wrote off secular Shia parties, saying only a cleric has real authority to lead a political party from the Shia community.

“Hezbollah and me,” he said.

Source: NOWLebanon.com

Domain Names Social Parking

SaM BaZzIBy Sam Bazzi, technologist and entrepreneur

Domain Names Social Parking (DNSP) or Social Parking for short, is the inclusion of technologies such as feedback comment systems, weblogs, social bookmarking, wikis, RSS feeds, and online tools along with the traditional ads and search keywords on the Landing Page of a parked domain name. This parking methodology can promote visitor stickiness, for those who leave feedback comments on a particular web page might revisit it to re-read their own postings or post replies to someone else. This technique could also gain the parked domain a Google ranking and hence organic search traffic.

Traditionally, domain name monetization companies such as Sedo and DomainSponsor have so far refrained from allowing the visitors of their parked domains to leave comments. R&D has indeed shown that web pages that includes optimized ads actually monetize far better than pages that include content as well. In addition, allowing user to create their own content would require the development of additional administrative tools as well as human monitoring and intervention. This adds to the cost of doing business while reducing profitability. There are also legal risks and potential liabilities associated with user-generated content, particularly with copyright violations, defamation, and libel; however, such risks are remedied with the publishing of public legal notices as well as content supervision.

On the other hand, there are several benefits to Social Parking. For one thing, the visitors of the web page can interact with it and create unique content. With that, the page can legitimately gain recognition by the major Search Engines such as Ask, Google, and Yahoo. This leads to additional web traffic resulting from search queries. Furthermore, those who leave comments are expected to revisit them to read feedback and continue discussions.

Another benefit is that such socially oriented domain name parking pages might gain links from the websites of parties interested in their valuable content. Hence, more traffic. In addition, by sharing control of the parked domain name web pages with their visitors and users, one might win free promoters of such web properties through features such as email-this-page or when bloggers choose to write about their content. Typically, no one blogs about domain names with content consisting of purely of ads.

Online tools and online games are also popular attractions for web surfers.

In the long term, a socially oriented parked domain will also monetize, given that it is properly administered, maintained, and promoted. It is more work and higher cost for sure, but for certain domain names such as Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), this may be an unavoidable necessity. It will be long time before IDNs start gaining type-in traffic simply because the IDN technology is still unknown to the masses and most computers are not necessarily configured or equipped to handle IDN.

King Abdullah II returns to San Francisco

 
 

SAN FRANCISCO – Saying the Middle East is on the cusp of "great potential," King Abdullah II of Jordan paid a visit to the Bay Area to discuss topics ranging from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the Middle East's burgeoning young population.

King Abdullah II of Jordan with Jordanian Special Forces officers and enlisted men.
King Abdullah II of Jordan with Jordanian Special Forces officers and enlisted men.
 

Speaking for the second time in San Francisco in just nine months as a guest of the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the Commonwealth Club, Abdullah held court in front of a sellout crowd of more than 500 at the Fairmont Hotel.

He said the near-term could bring a real turning point in the fractured Middle East.

"Experience teaches us the historic breakthroughs are easier to spot after the fact than before," the 42-year-old ruler said. "But this much is certain: The next few, critical months will set the course and speed of progress in my region for a long time to come. A promising but extremely tough journey has begun."

Abdullah, who was crowned king in 1999, said the United States will play a critical role in that journey, both in its handling of Iraq and its continuing efforts to bring a peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians. He called on all of the people of Iraq to reject any interference in Iraq's internal affairs and help construct a constitution that represents all citizens.

"Let's keep the goal in sight: a sovereign, pluralistic, violence-free Iraq that gives its people a future," Abdullah said. "It is in all our interests — and it is the right thing to do — to work together to support and assist that process."

Abdullah said it is a goal of Jordan's to promote "unity, stability and development throughout the Arab world." He said the Middle East will achieve those goals only through a commitment to real changes — such as better educating the young.

"Fifty percent of the Middle East is under 18," he said. "The overwhelming majority of these individuals need countries, including Jordan, to reach out to them. All these young people want a chance at life."

The audience rewarded his 20-minute speech with a standing ovation.

"He laid the foundation of peace — justice, truth and love," said Robert Boody, president and founder of Royal American Institute for World Peace, who attended the speech. "He's a very genuine man."

Sam Bazzi made the commute all the way from the South Bay to see Abdullah, partly because of the aura he feels the king brings with him.

SaM BaZzI
The counterterrorism activist Sam Bazzi

"He is very much accepted here in the West," Bazzi said. "People here are excited about him. I wanted to hear him speak."