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C**kblockers and my lemonade stand -

C**kblockers and my lemonade stand
Every time I try to register a domain name I come across the same problem – dozens and dozens of domain names that are taken with no apparent purpose other than blocking other people from getting them and maybe make some money out of it. And every time I rationalize, “It’s a free market, anyone can do it, they got there first”. This time around I even measured the ratios (see below).

However, this is not a free market. It’s actually a regulated market, where an official entity grants you the rights to a piece of real estate that only you can use. In the case of .com domains, that contract has no strings attached, which means that anyone can buy whatever they want for whatever purpose they want.

The result is uncountable domain names that have no real content attached. In my country we say “either you do it or you get out of the way”, which the Americans brilliantly summarized in one word – cockblock (in the rare case you haven’t heard about it, you can check the definition here The vast majority of these domain hogs have no intention of ever building anything on that real estate. They just got there first and don’t want to get out of the way.

This reminds me an episode that happened to me when I was a kid. It was summer time and I thought a good way to make some extra money was to sell lemonade at the intersection close to my house. This intersection had a lot of traffic going by and long lines during rush hour, and it was summer and hot. I sold 2 jars in just a few minutes so I went back home to make more and come back to business. To my surprise, when I got back I had 3 bigger kids waiting for me to “inform me” that that intersection was “theirs” and I did not hold “rights” to sell anything there. Were they selling anything? No. But apparently they got there first and thought that was good enough.

I don’t even care much about this issue. At the end of the day I always come up with a new stupid name that no one has remembered to register yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s not annoying or wrong. If you’re buying the rights to a piece of real estate and then just sit there preventing others from doing something productive with it, you’re just being a parasite. And if you think you did something productive by coming up with those domain names, I’ll tell you that if my job was to register “interesting” domain names I could be ICANN’s best customer. It’s just that I have better things to do.

PS. The stats for my latest search were the following. Out of 200 names I tried (excluding obvious ones that I knew would be taken), 80% (157) were taken. Of those, only 9% had content and another 7% had advertisement (parked domain with no real content). The remaining (131) had zero content. In this search process, I registered 5 domains that I have no intention to use (and as a result will let expire). If you ever come across one of these and want them to build something, I’m happy to give them away.

Image: renjith krishnan /

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