In the world of monetary systems, circulation is essential for growing healthy economies. Wealth that is earned can be put back into circulation via banking and investment industries. The dollar is always at work, helping someone somewhere earn, and one’s wealth is measured in ownership and control of enterprises that participate in the economy.
The opposite of circulation would be collecting your paper money under your mattress. Yes, you’re wealthy, but if the economy tanks while you’re holding that paper wealth, you just may lose the value to multi-digit inflation as has happened numerous times in countries with sick economies. I was in Brasil just after the government lopped a few zeros off the value of their paper currency in response to huge inflation. It was not pretty. That 1,000 bill in your hand was suddenly worth 10. Had it been in circulation, your holdings would have probably survived much better than that 1,000 bill.
Are domain names the same? Does circulation help maintain a healthy web, and thus help maintain a successful web economy?
As I advise businesses on web issues I often get involved in choosing and buying domain names. Lately, most domain names are already reserved. But an alarming number of those reserved domain names are unused. Can this be healthy for the web?
I think a domain name should be in use, or available to be used. As long as meaningful domains function on the web, people will use the web. Imagine a web where most domain names did not resolve. Time after time the consumer tries a domain name, and nothing seems to resolve. Search engines take over. Now that search engines are monetizing search with advertisements, paid placements and promotions, meaningful domain names are more desirable. They allow us to reach the consumer in a sea of promotional ads and attention-stealing search engine trickery. They have more meaning.
But if a large number of domains are reserved and not used, what happens to the domain name system? It is not working for the consumers as it was designed. It becomes less important to the masses, despite the individually held domain names being important to their “owners” (the ones hiding them under their mattresses). Just as governments can lop zeros from the end of currencies they control, they can change the way the domain name system works. Will that be good?
I think we should try and keep domain names in circulation, working on the web. If you’re not using it, let someone else use it. If there is a monetary value, let the market trade on that value. Keep the domain names in circulation, to help keep the web healthy for everyone.