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This is Zouch - a huge hack - an imitation of the ZeroConf (Bonjour) service discovery mechanism but at the application layer. Weird yes, but you can get a p2p network of CouchDB's going and they can discover each other without having to futz with the DNS infrastructure. If you are running a hosted couch you don't get to access the infrastructure anyway. The idea here is to create analogs of the ZeroConf packets and the ZeroConf service discovery using JSON and CouchDB lists and views.