OpenDNS is a great company with a somewhat geeky product that almost everyone can benefit from. DNS servers track user-friendly web names (like www.openmarketing.com) and how they correspond to hard to remember IP addresses (mine here at OpenMarketing is 207.44.169.197. Kind of rolls off your tongue doesn’t it.) Every time you surf the web, a DNS server somewhere is doing a look up to translate the web address you requested into an IP address. If you’re running a home network, it’s likely that your ISP – those nice folks at Comcast or AT&T – gave you a set of IP numbers and told you to enter them into your router, to tell your router where to go to do DNS lookup.

To use OpenDNS, set up an account and (optionally) enter the OpenDNS servers IP addresses into your router:

From within your account, you can set up shortcuts to directly navigate to the various sites you frequent. For example, if you use Google mail for applications, set up a shortcut called “mail” or even “m” and every time you enter “m” into your browser window you’ll go directly to Google mail. Short cuts are very handy and I’ve become addicted to them.

Equally handy is the ability to block adult sites. I’ve got nothing against this kind of content in theory. In practice, I don’t need or want to fall into a X-rated site by accident nor does anyone else in my family.

How OpenDNS makes money is using what is called the direct navigation method. Shortcuts are great but every once in a while we humans make mistakes. To the extent we enter something in the navigation bar that is not a shortcut up comes a page that looks like this:

This page and all the links on it are controlled – and presumably monetized by OpenDNS.

What Makes this an example of Open Marketing?
Aside from the name, OpenDNS is based on open-source technology and as such can’t charge a licensing fee for its software or for its core service it offers customers. What makes this an interesting example of OpenMarketing–in my view–is that this hasn’t stopped the company from monetizing what it has. My best guess is that the company is profitable. Certainly, the company is growing at a torrid rate.

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