Ian – the biggest way that domain speculation is difference between domain speculation and real estate speculation seems to be that domain speculation has a flat cost. You can buy n domains for $35 * n, but real estate is trickier. If you start buying up a lot of land, the market responds and the price goes up, making it harder to monopolize an area. Domain speculation has a linear cost whereas real estate speculation (in the same place) has an accelerating cost. There are probably smarter comparisons out there but that’s what I could come up with.
Gabe – Google is the lesser of two evils in this case, but that still puts them in the evil camp. It’s not as evil as spam or comment spamming, but it still encourages people to hoard a resource without developing it. City planners don’t like it with real estate and I don’t like it with the Intarweb.
And I wouldn’t get behind regulations that prevent domain squatting either, because it’s such a grey area.