Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Housing Market and Domain Names

When I tried to buy the domain , I was forwarded to a company called URL Collection ( ) … the company who owns the domain name. They buy domain names that they think people may want and then hold it hostage until they find someone who will pay an extravagant fee for it. After I inquired about the domain name, they emailed me to let me know that I could buy it for $3500. Their email mentioned how it was a steal, being that they usually start their domains for $10,000. I have purchased domain names before, so I know how much they are supposed to cost. $10 !

The reason I am posting this story on this blog is because their practice selling virtual space is a good analogy for the current housing market and the reason why we are approaching an unecessary housing crisis.

While there is plenty of space and resources for everyone to live debt free in a home somewhere, most housing is artificially priced and controlled to where debt free home ownership is out of reach to most people. Due to strict city codes and outlandish property taxes, even a tiny plot of land in the central city is out of reach to someone in the creative class who could use that space to build their own home. This is a modern phenomenon. Housing has never been this indebting anywhere ever before.

In modern times, housing is quickly aquired by investors who are not as interested in building community as they are in making a return on their investment. This drives up housing exponentially for everyone because it creates a pyramid scheme where the investors up the chain must make thousands of dollars every time a house changes hands. And so the property, whether it is a domain name or a small plot in the city, doesn't go to the person who would make the best use of it, but rather, it goes to the person who is the most ambitious to make a profit. Perhaps who is most affected is the investor at the bottom of the pyramid who didn't cash out in time.

The spot where I am building my studio is not necessarily my first choice, but it is a domain that hasn't yet been considered by investors. There are many more of them ! When this project is done, the price tag of the five acres, building materials, and water and energy catchment will be less than $10,000... the price of a domain name from URL Collections.

While URL Collection sits on an address they will never sell for what they want to, I will have to keeping telling people, "It's Earth Language dot com, but with a dash in the middle of Earth and Language, NOT an underscore."

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Georgie Donais said...

When people lease a domain name and then try to re-lease it for exorbitant sums, it's called "squatting". Interesting, in light of your housing analogy. Having a house merely for its resale value could perhaps be termed similarly in some ways.

trevor.reichman said...

True ! I guess the term implies that it is not really theirs. They are just occupying a space.

jojo said...

AMEN.... such a shame. i moved to the country. and now i can't afford to live here anymore. i have mcmansions going up on an acre and half that i tend goats on. can't do it anymore. taxes are 4500 for an acre... shame isn't it?

I like your blog. i come to visit whenever i can.

remington said...


trevor.reichman said...

That's too bad, Jojo. You'd think that the more people sharing a space, the cheaper and cheaper it should get...but the exact opposite happens it seems.

AVSA said...

Hi Trevor,
I've enjoyed your and Don's adventures, glad to see your dome up... LOL, aren't we all just occupying a space? Please tell Don that Judy said Hi... we will probably be back down there this fall... Google earth doesn't show our 5th wheel anymore, must have blown away (behind american legion) oh, well, wanted another dome anyway...
best to you, Judy

trevor.reichman said...

Hi Judy,

I won't be back in Terlingua until late April, but I will let Don know you said hello upon my return. Thanks for writing.