To combat this, I'm proposing an enforced public auction of domains that happens something like every 2 or 3 years for each domain. There are a couple important properties of the auction
* It should be enforced by the protocol (ie it should be inherent in the system that these auctions be honored)
* The current holder of a domain should be able to win the auction with a winning bid of more than only 1% of the highest 2nd-party bid. This is so that the cost of keeping a domain is related to demand, but is not a heavy burden on domain holders. For example, if the highest 2nd-party bid is 3 BTC/Namecoins, the current owner would win the auction with a bid of at least 0.03BTC/Namecoins.
* If the current holder of a domain wins the auction, they pay random active addresses in the blockchain (this is how registering domains in the first place should work too). Destroying the coins (which I believe is what namecoin currently does) seems like a destabilizing approach that could severely limit the system. Paying all active addresses would be ideal, but would almost definitely make the blockchain too large to handle.
* If a 2nd party in the auction wins, they pay the ex-current holder of the domain.
I realize namecoin may be too far-gone to actually implement this strategy, but I would appreciate people's thoughts about it anyway.
This discussion was ripped from github: https://github.com/namecoin/namecoin/issues/181 . So here are the replies so far:
This comes up every once in a while, but I don't actually believe thatOn 2014-09-22 01:39, fresheneesz wrote:
The mainstream DNS system has a major problem: domain hoarding. Namecoin
seems to provide very little that solves this problem. While namecoin
has a small fee for registering domains, the fee is so small as to be
negligible, and therefore is only slightly better than the current
corrupt mainstream DNS system that allows domain hoarders to have
domains essentially for free.
squatting is such a bad problem in Namecoin as it is usually portraied
As a little challenge, do you know of any
company/individual/organisation that has their name squatted, contacted
the squatter, and was refused to get the domain for a reasonable price?
I believe that most of the current squatters in Namecoin are mostly
interested in Namecoin's long-term success and would rather see a domain
used to expand Namecoin than sit on it in hopes of extorting a high
price. The problem is not squatters, the problem is that noone uses
.bit domains so far.
...To combat this, I'm proposing an enforced public auction of domains that
happens something like every 2 or 3 years for each domain. There are a
couple important properties of the auction
This or something very similar has been brought up already in
discussions. While I can only state my own, personal opinion below, I
think to recall that others in the core community agreed with me (but
don't take my word for it).
I think that such a process is not good. One of the core principles of
Namecoin is that it is uncensorable and unseizable. Introducing such
"auctions" undermines this, as it introduces a way to effectively
"seize" a domain given enough resources. And even if the current owner
has a 100x advantage, this may not be enough if it is "David vs
Goliath", like a government agency who's trying to censor Wikileaks or
Piratebay or something like that. So from me that's a definite "no go".
Regarding "putting names to highest economic use" (as someone called
it), see my comments above. Additionally, IMHO that's not the first and
foremost goal of Namecoin. For companies, trademark holders and all
that, a centralised system like ICANN domains and trademark registries
is the way to go. Namecoin is there for free speech instead.
I realize namecoin may be too far-gone to actually implement this
strategy, but I would appreciate people's thoughts about it anyway.
That's not true. If there's an actual agreement among the community,
then it will be possible to implement changes (whatever they may be).
But I would strongly oppose the particular changes you propose for the
reasons outlined above, and believe that others will see it the same.
I agree with Daniel on all points, except this one:
I'm of the opinion that most trademark holders will be able to use their trademarks in Namecoin without significant problems. They may have to get their name from a squatter, but quite honestly, in most cases a large company has far more money at stake in their Namecoin name than any other entity, and can therefore get control of their name if the squatter's motive is profit. E.g. even if I were a squatter only concerned with profit, and I weren't primarily worried about Namecoin's success, I still wouldn't be holding a single name hostage for absurd amounts of money, because my goal would be to make a net profit on all the names I hold, not hold out for a huge payout on one name. If I were a profit-motivated squatter holding d/google, and Google offered to buy it for $1000, which is nothing to them, I'd be satisfied and happily hand it over, because that's a pretty good profit for a registration that cost me under a dollar and only a few minutes of time. Google would probably be satisfied by such a sale too, assuming Namecoin was in high enough use that d/google could reach a large audience."For companies, trademark holders and all that, a centralised system like ICANN domains and trademark registries is the way to go. Namecoin is there for free speech instead."
Now, in certain rare cases, someone will squat a name not for profit reasons but for specifically censorship or hijacking reasons. E.g., if I absolutely hate Facebook and just want to cause them grief, or if I want to hijack Facebook connections, I could register d/facebook and simply redirect all connections to my own server, which might either redirect to a Facebook competitor, or steal Facebook passwords. I generally think that these cases are best dealt with as a law enforcement problem and/or as a social problem rather than by introducing centralization. Here are some options available to Facebook if this happens to them:
1. If an IP address is linked to in the name's value, look up who owns the IP address and send them a legal threat.
2. If someone is operating a business using the name, organize a boycott of the business.
3. Educate end users that a domain name doesn't always correspond to the same-named business. This is already obvious in many cases: delta.com can't correspond to both the airline and the hardware company. And it's a logical position to take, in the same way that my name is Jeremy Rand, but if someone on the Internet mentions Jeremy Rand, they might be referring to me, or to someone else named Jeremy Rand. Gmail is reportedly having to deal with this, in the sense that computer-illiterates assume that their email@example.com must route to their inbox. But no one has filed a trademark lawsuit over such a collision (at least, I hope not).
A lot of the arguments against Namecoin made here are analogous to arguments made against other technologies that act as checks on power structures. Tor is widely demonized by the illiterate as being primarily used by pedophiles, even though according to Ahmia.fi, only 9 websites with even possible child porn were found among the many thousands of .onion sites which were spidered. Bitcoin is widely demonized as used for terrorist money laundering, even though it's responsible for improving quality of life in countries where politicians are the ones laundering money. Anyone claiming that these criticisms warrant introducing censorship into Tor and Bitcoin would be dismissed as misguided (or perhaps evil, depending on who's making the claim). I think by extension, the good done for society by having an uncensored naming system vastly outweighs the minor reorganizations which society's most powerful entities will have to undergo to counter squatting.
Full disclosure: I'm holding something like 100 names which I will happily hand over to the entity named, free of charge, upon request. So far no one's asked.