Re: [DNS] domain-name on-selling?

Re: [DNS] domain-name on-selling?

From: Aristedes Maniatis <ari§>
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 15:58:48 +1100
on 2/12/99 1:01 pm, Mark Davidson at davidson&#167; wrote:


>>> Interesting question posed by Stephen. Makes me want to ask a few questions
>>> If my business has a domain, and I sell my business, why should I not be
>>> able
>>> to sell my domain with the business?
>> Of course. By I would suggest that this is very different situation to
>> buying selling domains without an associated business.
> So it is ok to sell domain names in some cases - which means we need to know
> when it
> is NOT ok to do so. Please provide a solution to this Ari, if you have one.

In a previous email you indicated that the *intention* is not important and
cannot be used as the basis of a rule. Well, why not? There are many areas
of law where intention is a very important issue (murder/manslaughter for

The solution is even simpler: don't allow domain names to be sold for
consideration. Allow them to be transferred with the associated business,

Now you will say that there are many ways around this: set up a shelf
company for the purpose of selling with the domain. But rules cannot be too
hard to formulate requiring some basic level of use or intention to use a
domain name. Sure some will find a way around it again, but do we all tests
of intent in law because they are 'too hard'?

>>> Like real estate, some domains will be worth more than others. What is wrong
>>> with that?
>> Domains are not real estate.
>> If Real Estate was similar to a domain, it would cost a trivial registration
>> fee per square metre. Can you imagine a world where anyone could own
>> property by paying $130 every two years? And then not do anything with it,
>> just in case one day it became valuable.
> Yes. It happens all the time around the world, and even in Australia (though
> not so
> often because real estate prices tend to be higher here than elsewhere). This
> is
> essentially how some property developers make their living. I would say this
> is much
> the same as the actions of domain reservationsists now.

No. There is a very fundamental difference here. Property is relatively
expensive. Sure developers sit on property for years, but it is rarely
economic to do so. The initial cost of the property is high compared to the
value gained from doing nothing with it.

So developers will rent, use or do something with their land to make it
return some of that investment.

Domain names are not the same. Should they be all valued in advance (as real
estate is), with being first registered for $1 million,
then there will be much higher stakes. Someone who pays that money will very
quickly want to use it to sell computers and earn a revenue.

But when domains are issued for almost nothing, there is little to stop
squatting on a large number of domains without any intention to use or even
sell in the short term.

This is not to say I think domains should be sold for large amounts of
money. The result is an emphasis of accumulation of wealth and resources by
the richest companies. Surely enough of our tax system, social policies, etc
are already biased that way.

>> Meanwhile others are prevented from
>> using it for farming, housing, or whatever....
> Yes - the theory is that our free market economy will make sure there is an
> efficient use of resources by pricing things according to market value, so our
> society/laws allow someone to lock up use of land where they buy the
> land/right to
> use the land (or not use it as the case may be).
> One may have an objection to a particular piece of land not being used,
> because one
> can see a use for it, but that doesn't mean one is entitled to make the owner
> use it
> in that way - you can always buy the land if you consider it worthwhile and
> put it
> to the use you consider appropriate.

Well. We also have council development rules to say what you can do with
your real estate. Why not have rules dictating what you can do with your
domain - or at least that you do *something useful* with it.

>> Domains are not real estate.
> I think Ari meant that he didn't think domain names should be treated the same
> as
> land.

I meant: domain names are not even metaphorically like real estate. They are
different and should be treated differently.

>>> If no-one else wants a domain and I register it, why shouldn't I be able to
>>> sell it to the highest bidder?
>> Because domains should be associated with a particular business. The whole
>> point of the policy is to eliminate generic domains which have value
>> outside of the business they are attached to.
> Here's the nub, I think. Why "should" domain names be associated with a
> particular
> business? Please don't quote the terms and conditions for registration of
> domain
> names back to me - the flip side to this would be to ask why, as a matter of
> policy,
> generic domain names "should" be eliminated (my view is that it is literally
> impossible to eliminate all "generic" names - for a number of reasons,
> including
> that no-one can agree on what a generic domain name actually is).

This is the real issue. Domain names are a shorthand way of representing IP
addresses. IP addresses are attached to interfaces (pieces of hardware like
computers) owned by a business or organisation.

That's it. That is the whole purpose of domain names - to identify servers
operated by a particular organisation and to allow people to easily
locate/remember that server.

So domain names are intrinsically linked with a business or service.
Anything more than this is an artefact without real underlying value.


> I confess, I am a lawyer. Mea maxima culpa! I don't think that our legal
> qualifications are that relevant here.

Just that the whole blame/duty/right discourse is based in legal thinking
rather than maximum utility, usefulness, or common good.

> Thanks for your thoughts Ari - I think I understand where you're coming from;
> my
> view is that this issue will be settled by people who *must* deal with
> economic
> issues, so anyone who wants their solution adopted *must* address these
> issues.

Yes. Address these issues, but don't succumb to those who would prefer the
internet controlled by money and power rather than useful and interesting

> Cheers,
> Mark


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Received on Thu Dec 02 1999 - 12:55:09 UTC

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