I really don't like seeing ads on the internet. Well actually, I don't like being hounded by them.
Sure, I understand that somebody has to pay the bills, but recently it has become a game of YOU MUST LOOK AT ME before scrolling to see more of the content, and some of the web sites I visit regularly (sorry https://www.crash.net/) have become unusable, especially on mobile.
So I did what any self-respecting nerd would do: I started blocking it at the network level with a DNS sinkhole https://pi-hole.net/
Pi Hole is amazing, works great, completely stops ads from showing up on my iPhone, desktop, TV, even in apps and games! Life is good!
Of course right away I thought maybe I could turn this type of a service into a business! Host it in the cloud! The AWS infrastructure part is easy for me, that's part of what I do for work.
I set up a DNS resolver on EC2 instances behind a network load balancer, tested it for several months with friends, and it was all looking really promising.
Last week I casually mentioned it to my dentist, and he said he wanted to use it!
GREAT! This might be a business! ABAS! What could possibly go wrong?!
Well, a LOT as it turns out.
DNS is a critical piece of internet infrastructure. It's so important that IT pros have a saying: "It's always DNS!" https://www.cscdbs.com/blog/why-dns-is-the-biggest-single-point-of-failure/
As I learned, DNS is subject to many different kinds of attacks, including amplification attacks, DDOS attacks, recursive resolution problems... and then possible legal challenges from upset advertisers, subpoenas from various legal jurisdictions for logs.
Basically, if it was profitable, big players like Cloudflare would be all over it, and they aren't, so steer clear of this one.
I'm kind of disappointed, but I'm really happy I didn't waste very much time and very much money exploring the idea. Part of doing your homework on an idea is to stop, ask people who know a lot more than you do if your idea sounds smart / hard / reasonable, and then listen to what they have to say. (Thanks David)
I listened, and I am moving on.