Thinking about domain name squatting

indolering
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Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by indolering » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:49 pm

There are some simple mechanics underlying all solutions to domain name squatting and I wrote a blog-article describing them here. I will likely make a wiki post out of parts of it, it's a good post to give would-be squatters on IRC and the forums.

Please let me know if I am missing something : )
DNS is much more than a key->value datastore.

biolizard89
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by biolizard89 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:25 am

indolering wrote:There are some simple mechanics underlying all solutions to domain name squatting and I wrote a blog-article describing them here. I will likely make a wiki post out of parts of it, it's a good post to give would-be squatters on IRC and the forums.

Please let me know if I am missing something : )
Yeah, dealing with squatting is a hard problem. I think one important relevant question is, does ICANN have less squatting than Namecoin because (1) names are more expensive, or (2) names are not registered anonymously? I suspect the answer is both. (1) is easy to fix via a median consensus for price, but anonymity is a feature for Namecoin rather than a bug.
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indolering
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by indolering » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:22 am

biolizard89 wrote: Yeah, dealing with squatting is a hard problem. I think one important relevant question is, does ICANN have less squatting than Namecoin because (1) names are more expensive, or (2) names are not registered anonymously? I suspect the answer is both. (1) is easy to fix via a median consensus for price, but anonymity is a feature for Namecoin rather than a bug.
I would be hard pressed to think of a time that ICANN chose an anti-squatter policy without being forced into it. Trademark laws catch them on the backend but it's mainly the expense. Reputable sources on IRC have told me that they were offered some 10% of the namespace. Has anyone done analysis on the total number of owners?
DNS is much more than a key->value datastore.

kurt
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by kurt » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:54 pm

if you had a working .bit domain without the .pe

3 to 5 nmc per domain is reasonable

midnightmagic
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by midnightmagic » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:36 pm

indolering wrote:
biolizard89 wrote: Yeah, dealing with squatting is a hard problem. I think one important relevant question is, does ICANN have less squatting than Namecoin because (1) names are more expensive, or (2) names are not registered anonymously? I suspect the answer is both. (1) is easy to fix via a median consensus for price, but anonymity is a feature for Namecoin rather than a bug.
I would be hard pressed to think of a time that ICANN chose an anti-squatter policy without being forced into it. Trademark laws catch them on the backend but it's mainly the expense. Reputable sources on IRC have told me that they were offered some 10% of the namespace. Has anyone done analysis on the total number of owners?
Squatting is a non-issue. Who cares if someone is sitting on d/google ? The entire point isn't to cater to random X huge corp and/or government, but to people who want to get un-censorable pointers out into the land of namecoin, and issue updates that are similarly uncensorable.

Increasing the costs of *new* registration would prevent it basically entirely, going forward. Increasing the costs of updates would consolidate the squatting into the hands of the huge merged-mining pools who could afford to keep them. It would force a transfer of existing "squatted" names.

But again, who cares? name-squatting in ICANN-space is an enormous problem, far, far bigger than anything in namecoin-land will likely ever be, and the whole idea is that ICE can't steal a namecoin from someone: this means the squatting, supported by people who must either be purchasing namecoins, or mining them (in either case, technically supporting namecoin value) can only be halted by making it un-economical. But, based on the fact that a huge chunk of all the "squatting" isn't actually squatting, but just empty unresolve-able "RESERVED" or "127.0.0.1" or internal IP addresses, this means whoever it is isn't actually utilizing the names for commercial purposes. There isn't even a way to purchase them, or even contact these people.

domob
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by domob » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:16 am

midnightmagic wrote:
indolering wrote:
biolizard89 wrote: Yeah, dealing with squatting is a hard problem. I think one important relevant question is, does ICANN have less squatting than Namecoin because (1) names are more expensive, or (2) names are not registered anonymously? I suspect the answer is both. (1) is easy to fix via a median consensus for price, but anonymity is a feature for Namecoin rather than a bug.
I would be hard pressed to think of a time that ICANN chose an anti-squatter policy without being forced into it. Trademark laws catch them on the backend but it's mainly the expense. Reputable sources on IRC have told me that they were offered some 10% of the namespace. Has anyone done analysis on the total number of owners?
Squatting is a non-issue. Who cares if someone is sitting on d/google ? The entire point isn't to cater to random X huge corp and/or government, but to people who want to get un-censorable pointers out into the land of namecoin, and issue updates that are similarly uncensorable.

Increasing the costs of *new* registration would prevent it basically entirely, going forward. Increasing the costs of updates would consolidate the squatting into the hands of the huge merged-mining pools who could afford to keep them. It would force a transfer of existing "squatted" names.

But again, who cares? name-squatting in ICANN-space is an enormous problem, far, far bigger than anything in namecoin-land will likely ever be, and the whole idea is that ICE can't steal a namecoin from someone: this means the squatting, supported by people who must either be purchasing namecoins, or mining them (in either case, technically supporting namecoin value) can only be halted by making it un-economical. But, based on the fact that a huge chunk of all the "squatting" isn't actually squatting, but just empty unresolve-able "RESERVED" or "127.0.0.1" or internal IP addresses, this means whoever it is isn't actually utilizing the names for commercial purposes. There isn't even a way to purchase them, or even contact these people.
I fully agree! IMHO, the point of Namecoin is exactly that: Uncensorable and unseizable names. If Google can have a .bit domain, it is a nice by-product, but I don't think we should put that top-priority (like some of those preaching "highest economic use", "auction them off", "overbidding to take away" and all that). Taking away names is a definite no-go for me, no matter how much someone is paying for that! I'm pretty sure the US government can afford 1000x the money of Wikileaks to take them down if they desire (and in fact an unlimited amount depending on how much of a threat someone is perceived).
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virtual_master
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by virtual_master » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:50 am

domob wrote:
midnightmagic wrote: Squatting is a non-issue. Who cares if someone is sitting on d/google ? The entire point isn't to cater to random X huge corp and/or government, but to people who want to get un-censorable pointers out into the land of namecoin, and issue updates that are similarly uncensorable.

Increasing the costs of *new* registration would prevent it basically entirely, going forward. Increasing the costs of updates would consolidate the squatting into the hands of the huge merged-mining pools who could afford to keep them. It would force a transfer of existing "squatted" names.

But again, who cares? name-squatting in ICANN-space is an enormous problem, far, far bigger than anything in namecoin-land will likely ever be, and the whole idea is that ICE can't steal a namecoin from someone: this means the squatting, supported by people who must either be purchasing namecoins, or mining them (in either case, technically supporting namecoin value) can only be halted by making it un-economical. But, based on the fact that a huge chunk of all the "squatting" isn't actually squatting, but just empty unresolve-able "RESERVED" or "127.0.0.1" or internal IP addresses, this means whoever it is isn't actually utilizing the names for commercial purposes. There isn't even a way to purchase them, or even contact these people.
I fully agree! IMHO, the point of Namecoin is exactly that: Uncensorable and unseizable names.
We should be honest and not hypocritical to the users. Do we not censor content on the forum and do we not intend to censor content in the blockchain in a form or other ? Just look on the discussion threads.
Is better a censorship lead by fear or one lead by economic interest ?
They are some ideal goals which can be achieved in a reasonable amount, better than by ICANN. But nothing is 100%.
It is better to build an overpressure valve in the steam engine than to let it explode.
Or all the time should we discuss about how to censor it without to look as censorship ?
domob wrote: If Google can have a .bit domain, it is a nice by-product, but I don't think we should put that top-priority (like some of those preaching "highest economic use", "auction them off", "overbidding to take away" and all that). Taking away names is a definite no-go for me, no matter how much someone is paying for that! I'm pretty sure the US government can afford 1000x the money of Wikileaks to take them down if they desire (and in fact an unlimited amount depending on how much of a threat someone is perceived).
Name-squatters are part of the Namecoin economy. Why shouldn't be Google or the US government part of it in a balanced and fairly regulated way ?
If we do not think economically Namecoin will go down. Namecoin is a virtual economy and we should think as the manager of it. I think it is fair enough to give Wikileaks a 1000 times better chance than for the US government in a working system then a 100% security in a not working one. It is logic that as more money is pumped in the Namecoin economy as better will work.
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domob
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by domob » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:43 am

virtual_master wrote:
domob wrote:
midnightmagic wrote: Squatting is a non-issue. Who cares if someone is sitting on d/google ? The entire point isn't to cater to random X huge corp and/or government, but to people who want to get un-censorable pointers out into the land of namecoin, and issue updates that are similarly uncensorable.

Increasing the costs of *new* registration would prevent it basically entirely, going forward. Increasing the costs of updates would consolidate the squatting into the hands of the huge merged-mining pools who could afford to keep them. It would force a transfer of existing "squatted" names.

But again, who cares? name-squatting in ICANN-space is an enormous problem, far, far bigger than anything in namecoin-land will likely ever be, and the whole idea is that ICE can't steal a namecoin from someone: this means the squatting, supported by people who must either be purchasing namecoins, or mining them (in either case, technically supporting namecoin value) can only be halted by making it un-economical. But, based on the fact that a huge chunk of all the "squatting" isn't actually squatting, but just empty unresolve-able "RESERVED" or "127.0.0.1" or internal IP addresses, this means whoever it is isn't actually utilizing the names for commercial purposes. There isn't even a way to purchase them, or even contact these people.
I fully agree! IMHO, the point of Namecoin is exactly that: Uncensorable and unseizable names.
We should be honest and not hypocritical to the users. Do we not censor content on the forum and do we not intend to censor content in the blockchain in a form or other ? Just look on the discussion threads.
Is better a censorship lead by fear or one lead by economic interest ?
They are some ideal goals which can be achieved in a reasonable amount, better than by ICANN. But nothing is 100%.
It is better to build an overpressure valve in the steam engine than to let it explode.
Or all the time should we discuss about how to censor it without to look as censorship ?
I actually believe there is no viable way to censor Namecoin values in any way (since I can always encode whatever data I wish into IP addresses and map a couple of names to them, for instance, and there would never be a way for us to find this content). This is not the ongoing discussion. The discussion is about providing plausible deniability for those who host the blockchain and/or do mining, development, marketing. With name/value encryption, for instance, that would be provided without the need to censor anything. I believe this is what we are heading for.
virtual_master wrote:
domob wrote: If Google can have a .bit domain, it is a nice by-product, but I don't think we should put that top-priority (like some of those preaching "highest economic use", "auction them off", "overbidding to take away" and all that). Taking away names is a definite no-go for me, no matter how much someone is paying for that! I'm pretty sure the US government can afford 1000x the money of Wikileaks to take them down if they desire (and in fact an unlimited amount depending on how much of a threat someone is perceived).
Name-squatters are part of the Namecoin economy. Why shouldn't be Google or the US government part of it in a balanced and fairly regulated way ?
If we do not think economically Namecoin will go down. Namecoin is a virtual economy and we should think as the manager of it. I think it is fair enough to give Wikileaks a 1000 times better chance than for the US government in a working system then a 100% security in a not working one. It is logic that as more money is pumped in the Namecoin economy as better will work.
It depends on what the goals of Namecoin are in your opinion. If they are to earn money from holding NMC and/or names because more and more money will get pumped into the economy, then you are right. But I think that Namecoin, even more than Bitcoin itself, is based on providing more than just "economy" - it is a tool against oppression and surveillance, just like Tor is. No-one is objecting that Tor users do not pay for usage in order to make the system economically viable.

I believe that for big businesses, TM holders and "the economy", ICANN-style centralised registries are the best solution. After all, only they allow those to enforce laws protecting their TMs and things like this. I don't think that Namecoin's .bit should be the only DNS in the future, and that every website should be using it. In case we decide that there are also technical merits to using a P2P system with "highest economic use" and big money getting its way as in the current system already, we can always introduce a separate TLD or even transition the ICANN domains over to a P2P system, with some method of premining the existing domain holders into it. But IMHO it should not be the goal of Namecoin as-is to allow money to buy over domains against the will of their holders. This is against the most basic principle at all I see in Namecoin.

Still just my personal 0.02 NMC, though, of course.

BTW, since I've seen such discussions already multiple times, it would be interesting to find out how the community in general thinks about this...! Other opinions?
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virtual_master
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by virtual_master » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:28 am

domob wrote: I fully agree! IMHO, the point of Namecoin is exactly that: Uncensorable and unseizable names.
So do you mean limiting value fields lead only by fear is no censorship(even if many possible applications wouldn't be available with this) and introducing auctioning/contesting of names lead by economic interest is a censorship ?
With encryption is the same question because this will also limit usability.
I think is exactly the opposite is the case. Acting lead by fear (without any technical or economical argument) we are only the prolonged hand of the government.
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domob
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Re: Thinking about domain name squatting

Post by domob » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:43 am

virtual_master wrote:
domob wrote: I fully agree! IMHO, the point of Namecoin is exactly that: Uncensorable and unseizable names.
So do you mean limiting value fields lead only by fear is no censorship(even if many possible applications wouldn't be available with this) and introducing auctioning/contesting of names lead by economic interest is a censorship ?
With encryption is the same question because this will also limit usability.
I think is exactly the opposite is the case. Acting lead by fear (without any technical or economical argument) we are only the prolonged hand of the government.
I don't think one can even compare those two instances of "censorship": In the first case, it is about limiting the values that can be stored in names; this can be circumvented and is not actually a vital "restriction" for this reason, at least in theory you can still store whatever you like with a proper encoding, and have your tools interpret it in the way you need. And if Namecoin is used the way it is intended (i. e., for instance DNS resolution), then there won't be any restriction at all; we are only talking about making it more difficult to store content into the blockchain that would be "invalid" under the defined use-cases anyway.

In the second case, we are talking about stealing ownership of names, which is on a completely different level. I think that in order to shield Namecoin in general from legal prosecution, it is prudent to implement necessary measures for plausible deniability (again, everyone who wants can circumvent restrictions on what can go into name values, and write tools to still implement their use whatever it is), but that we should not allow names themselves to be taken from their rightful owners for whatever reason. This would invalidate the whole purpose of Namecoin, as in this case, there's no way to circumvent it for the owners who lose the names. Of course, a government could make it illegal to possess the IP addresses or .onion names of Wikileaks, like it is illegal to possess, for instance, child pornography. (But even here value encryption will help.) Or make it illegal to provide an alternative DNS system at all that doesn't allow trademark owners to get their names; but if it comes to that, then every last bit of sanety failed already, and it probably doesn't make any difference at all anymore whether Namecoin is considered illegal under those rules or not.

Do you really think that the "restriction" imposed by requiring name/value pairs to be encrypted is comparable to the damage done to the freedom Namecoin provides if we allow arbitrary parties to steal names by paying more than someone may be able to afford in order to keep the name (although they are the rightful owners)? I don't. Maybe the comparison lacks a bit, but to me this sounds as if Bitcoin wanted to make transactions reversible because it would be of better economic use to the community to reverse, for instance, the pirateat40 payments. Any idea why they aren't talking about that?
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