The Internet is a space. Virtual, but it’s a space. It has domains, neighbors, addresses… Until recently, we faced a serious problem: the scarcity of IP addresses. That would be the virtual version of an address. IP is the address we give to a specific computer. And as I said, until recently, we had a problem because only the IPv4 format was used to define machine addresses. An address like is in this IPv4 format. It has a limit of 4.3 billion combinations, and we reached that mark. So we started using IPv6, which has a limit of 340 undecillion (or 3.4×10^38) combinations. This means that while before the “lands” of the Internet were the size of, let’s say, the moon, now we have the size of Jupiter. It turns out that if it was already a problem to have an address of 4 sequences of digits up to 254, it would be much more difficult to inform 2001:0db8:85a3:08d3:1319:8a2e:0370:7344 (an example of IPv6). Even before, with only the use of IPv4, we had the service of assigning specific names to IP: DNS or Domain Name Server.

image-right The Internet basically self-regulates. There are some organizations that try to establish some rules, but they are very few and have almost negligible power. Who determines most of the network rules are the companies themselves that provide access to anyone who wants to use the Internet (that is, almost everyone). It’s a libertarian’s paradise. The few organizations managed in part by governments are the ones that manage domain names. You can buy a domain name of any type just by looking for the organization responsible for that nationality. In other words, if I want to buy a, I need to go to, which is the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee. By paying only R$ 30.00, you become the happy owner of So far so good. Or you can use a company that registers in various country organizations, like and

Just like physical property, domain names have a significant social function on the internet. They are like addresses on a busy street, indicating the location of services, companies, and information. However, the proliferation of registered but unused domains presents a dilemma similar to real estate speculation. There are many cases where I am creating a service, have the perfect name to call my clientele, but the domain is already registered. I accept that someone else had the same idea as me for a domain name. As they say, ideas are in the air, and I don’t own them. However, it makes me very angry when the domain I thought of with so much care and has already been registered is a page like this:


This happened to me when I tried to create an e-commerce about regional articles with my group in a Startup Weekend (promoted by Google). We had the whole concept of longing for the homeland and we thought of the name “banzo” that refers to that. However, besides the name being registered, it was empty. A virtual void waiting for speculation. Yes, because besides the page only having advertisements, it has a link to buy this domain for the tidy sum of $2,000.00 (a .com domain normally costs around $10.00).

In many cases, domains are acquired solely for future resale, without contributing to the development or utility of the web. This practice, known as cybersquatting, creates a scenario where valuable domain names are registered and kept idle, waiting for profit opportunities. It’s a huge market of thousands of domains available for auctions at very high prices. The phenomenon of “domain parking,” where empty pages are maintained only with ads or related links, reflects a lack of social responsibility in the use of these resources. Just waiting for someone to pay a fortune or even not, just because the owner wants to have this domain and it’s his and no one else’s. Screw you if you have a disadvantaged idea and could make some money. I don’t care if my domain has no function other than me saying it’s mine.

Just as physical property must fulfill a social function, be it residential, commercial, or public, domain names should also actively contribute to the online community. In Brazil, the 1988 Constitution established the principle of the social function of property, aiming to prevent speculation and promote the effective use of resources. Contrary to what some say, the social function does not mean that it should be available to society as if your property were not yours. It means that it should be there performing some function.

In Brazilian cities, there are thousands of speculators who buy land at very low prices and leave them there without any function, just waiting for the city to grow around them and the value of the land to skyrocket. This is one of the ways to promote real estate speculation. This practice is extremely harmful to the city as it forces the government to expand its water, electricity, and sewage services (the latter is very expensive) to increasingly distant areas without real necessity because in between are large urban voids with no function at all.

The City Statute (law of 2001) defined some tools to avoid this speculative practice and to compel property owners to fulfill the social function of property. The tools range from progressive property tax (where the tax increases annually as the owner does not give a function to it) to expropriation. Are these tools being used in the city? I don’t see it.

Analogously, it would be beneficial for the organizations responsible for managing domain names to introduce similar policies. A system of “virtual progressive property tax” could encourage the active use of domains, penalizing owners who keep them idle. This could help mitigate the problem of registered but unused domains, ensuring that these resources are allocated more efficiently and for the benefit of the online community as a whole.

How about creating the PVPT (Progressive Virtual Property Tax)?