How do we break the “squatter” stigma?

This weekend me and my college friends got together for a weekend reunion in DC. It was always and it’s something we try to do every year but end up doing every 2-3 years. That being said, it was a blast and it’s also incredibly interesting to see how all our lives change over time. The best part is, the moment we’re all together it’s like we spend every weekend together.

Here’s us after completing an “escape room” in DC, this one had a VR component to it.


At dinner last night I was talking with one of my friend and he shared his experience getting the domain name for his startup. They do very cool things with VR and 360 video and if you’re looking to do a VR promo video for you company I highly recommend you check them out at

My friend then said to me, “the problem with buying a domain is that there are so many people squatting on all the good .COMs” Of course as domain investors we’ve heard this all the time, so I asked him to go a step further to explain what he meant by a “squatter” – his definition was similar to what I’ve heard before, essentially anyone that owns a domain name and isn’t using it.

I used an example that I use all the time, “can’t people buy land, a house, heck even an island, and not use it, or do what they want with it and then re-sell for a profit?”

It’s strange isn’t it? If you bought a house in Malibu 20 years ago and sell it for 10x what you paid you’d be called a successful real estate investor. If you bought a domain name 20 years ago and sell it for 10x what you paid for it, you’d likely be called a squatter.

When will people start appreciating digital assets? Why do people praise buying and selling physical assets for a profit and not digital ones?

More importantly, how can we as domain investors break the “squatter” stigma? I’d love to hear ideas from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

The following two tabs change content below.


Morgan Linton was born in Berkeley, California but spent nine years traveling the world as an early employee for digital music startup Sonos. In 2007 Morgan founded Linton Investments, a domain name and branding company that has helped some of the most recognized startups in the world acquire their top choice domain name. In 2012 Morgan left his full-time job to co-found Bold Metrics, a startup building technologies that make it easy for online shoppers to buy clothes that fit and arming retailers with more data than ever before.

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Snoopy March 26, 2017, 7:21 pm

    The industry is a mix of generic and TM names. There is also “shades of grey” all over the place, it is not clear cut like realestate. Public perception won’t ever change in my view. It is a bit like if you told someone you were an email marketer a lot of the time they’d assume you are a spammer.

    Some industries just have bad reputations, used car salesmen, telemarketers, lawyers, investment bankers….I bet they all hope that one day public perception will change.

  • Mark March 26, 2017, 8:15 pm

    I suggest for them to Google the definition of squatter, that they’ll see they’re using it of of context.

  • brand March 26, 2017, 8:19 pm

    I wouldn’t care what they think, they can think what they want.
    If they can’t understand your explanation, then that’s their problem.

  • Mark Thorpe March 26, 2017, 8:37 pm

    The problem is that the average person expects to be able to get stuff online for free or cheap. They have not been educated on the value of digital assets or online real estate (domains).
    Most businesses understand the value of digital assets and having a domain name.

    Social Media has not hepled, with their free accounts.
    Banks have not helped either, with free or almost free online banking.

    One way to make people realize the value of domains, is for an online domain name company like GoDaddy, to merge or buy an offline real estate business or the other way around. Like if Godaddy and Remax merged for example. As crazy as it sounds to most probably, it makes perfect sense to me. Plain and simple.

    There is still a disconnect between offline real estate and online real estate.
    If one big real estate company owned offline and online real estate, then that would change the domain name game as we know it. IMO

  • Dn Ebook March 26, 2017, 9:07 pm

    I use the “squatter” analogy for folk sitting on obvious T.M domains

  • Michael March 26, 2017, 11:13 pm

    And Snoopy said “Some industries just have bad reputations, used car salesmen, telemarketers, lawyers, investment bankers” people don’t like these people because they want to rip you off like domain squatters :p JK and you forgot car mechanics!

    Does it really batter what people think anyway? If they don’t get it they don’t get it.

    • Michael March 26, 2017, 11:16 pm

      to bad you dont have an edit button I dont get that haha

  • patrick Cowan March 26, 2017, 11:16 pm

    Had a banker call me a sqautter once said I put out no value to the business community as I basically hold people hostage if they thought a name should be available for them to register freely,boy talk about calling the kettle black lol, funny as I just listed Digaset dot com on Sedo as a brandable for digital asset/digital asset settlement.

  • Joe March 26, 2017, 11:42 pm

    Your friend is very right, a domain name is bought to get an economic performance and is the same as if you buy an apartment to get a one year economic rent and then sell.

    This is what you really want to give your college friend understand, since once you get the benefit of the apartment a year for rent you sell it to more money and it is an investment.

    Before contacting you in 2010, I read in a magazine that a small US domainer buy 500 domains at $ 7 at and sell after a month for $ 69 to live well for a year, that if every month The investment after a year have rough approximate sales of $ 1,000,000.

    Everyone should look at who you want to be in your life an opulent millionaire or live well without any stresses during your life, as domainer, when I register domains with, Mr. Victor Pitts send an email, we have an 80 year old client of Age we always live from the domain names to live better every month.

    This is like my website, blog, domain for sale now I must take an expert designer today to better finish what is Legal Terms that I do not know how to add in my new template the prior not being prepared for this, wasted time and money.

  • CasinosVR March 27, 2017, 5:08 am

    I am a domainer whose work often ends when the domain registration is complete. The domain is the result of my day-to-day work and spending several hours a day in front of the computer.

    What I will write will be a little advertisement of my domains and the subject VR and AR.

    A few years ago I heard about VR and AR technologies. The most important thing was to anticipate that it would affect our lives, what impact it would have, and use of term virtual reality and prefixes VR and AR. That’s why I’ve already registered domains like CasinosVR, RoomVR, RoomsVR, InsuranceVR, VRCreditCard, ARKeywords, AugmentedRealityInsurance and much more.

    Developers not always are domainers, who often start to think about future much ealier…and it is cost

    Just my opinion …

  • M. Menius March 27, 2017, 6:40 am

    If the domain in question is generic, the “squatter” view is the result of either 1. ignorance, or 2. envy.

    If born of ignorance, you should provide the critic comps of high dollar sales, preferably domain examples purchased by companies most people would recognize. This reinforces that good domains have intrinsic value and that legit companies will pay a premium for them. The parallel between “internet real estate” and “actual real estate” is often useful.

    The above explanation is powerful & irrefutable if you are dealing with an intelligent and/or honest person. Anyone who maintains their criticism after the above explanation is driven strictly by envy/sour grapes. So if the motivation for condemning is envy, cut your losses and don’t waste your time.

    That being said, if you can leave the conversation open for future discussion, then that’s all the better. Because the “squatter” critic likely really wants the domain, but can’t afford it. However, things can change and they may become able to buy it or make a compelling offer at a later date. So keeping the door open makes sense.

  • Bob April 19, 2017, 9:24 pm

    Perhaps squatter is more appropriate when someone is taking an extortionist stance, like putting malicious and scandalous things on the .com to force the .net owner to cave in and pay what they want. Ultimately though, I don’t think real estate makes a good comparison, as the uniqueness of a name is far more important than the position or make of a house. A mere letter difference, well, makes a difference!

    Perhaps the one way to break the stigma is to kill the value of the .com so people are more open to other options. If they feel they can just get the name “somewhere else”, they won’t have the vision of squatter, scalper, cars salesman, or whatever. They better feel like they have options.

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment