It is a common view of those desiring to register a name for a business or project that the desired name should be available at a nominal fee and that holding names for resale should be prohibited. However, those same individuals will not question paying thousands of dollars for legal, engineering, programming, office lease, advertising, travel and various business services. Short, memorable names are quite often premium priced as they are more desirable, scarce and only projects with the vision and funding to acquire them can do so. However, it is not difficult to make minor modifications to the ideal keyword to obtain a name at an entry-level price point. The more significant issue however is that for any desirable name there are likely many businesses already using some form of that name and the startup project has to be wary of trademark infringement.
Name investors view names as virtual real estate and just as the average individual does not own beachfront property, the average project cannot acquire the best names. A vacant beachfront or downtown lot does NOT represent community theft but rather represents a disconnect between current commercial interest in that specific location and the vision of the owner as to its future potential. Given that holding any property entails recurring costs, there is some pressure to entertain reasonable offers. Likewise, acquisition and holding costs are factors which affect a name investor’willingness to acquire and hold virtual real estate. Even if Amazon did not exist or were named differently, such a highly brandable name should not just be available to the first amateur project that decides it would be a cool name to use.
There is likely some middle ground where limited commercial name speculation can exist and serve to weed out poorly-conceived or funded projects but still leave enough name availability so that world-changing projects can launch without having to spend 50% of project funding on brand acquisition.