Domain Squatting

Sincere question: Why does it seem to you this should be illegal?
He owns it, he bought it, he asks for what he wants. Doesn’t mean anyone has to pay the asked price.


That’s a good question. Domain names enable a very specific technical function that allows consumers of product the ability to connect to that product. Individuals who enroll ENS domain names in mass with no plan of using those domain names are inhibiting the adoption of Ethereum and not serving a purpose or adding any type of value- IMHO.
Granted, making it illegal might be too strong. However, there should be some way to dissuade this type of behavior.

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I agree that most domain squatting does not provide value. And I’m not working this is the type of behavior I condone in the community, but I would be reticent to implementing measures against it.


I think squatters do serve a purpose, as most will not see a return on their investment. Squatters can market their domain name to those who could benefit but haven’t yet realized their need for an ENS domain name. Also, there are some squatters who can better market a domain name by utilizing the subdomain system and, thereby, increase the utility of a particular domain. And, of course, you have speculators, some will realize a huge windfall and others will have to become reasonable or face the prospect of finding no buyers, because buyers may find creative ways to get a workable domain name for their use. After all, it is a risk-reward system.


It does seem absurd I know but in many cases greedy squatters like this will lose because the proposed buyer will most likely find an alternative.

I noticed this today with marshallmathers.eth which is the handle for Eminem Twitter “Marshall Mathers” which is selling on opensea for 2500 eth. I noticed the purchase now of eminem.eth today for 15eth. Chances are thst Eminem opted to buy the more realistic priced version. My guess is we see eminem.eth on his Twitter soon and the marshallmathers.eth greedy guy now gets nothing.

Food for thought. Be fair about sell prices or just leave it unpriced so the buyer can send a bid instead.


@jellaboudy Wanted to say a couple things. Glad you came to share first all. I understand how a trademarked identity being held by squatters is frustrating. I did want to speak to this part though:

There was a lot done in the design of the ENS protocol to dissuade at least some of this.

  • Registration is a 3 step process - If it were 1 transaction, the name could be broadcast as it were being registered and miners/bots could frontrun paying higher gas and snatch a name as it were being registered.
  • Registration fees help prohibit massive squatting(way more than would be happening right now), yet $5 is cheap enough to allow many to register. Along these lines, having 3 ($640/yr) and 4 ($160/yr) length names costs higher has dissuaded some amount of squatting on sought after names.
  • Expired names go into a premium after grace period. If this didn’t happen, squatters would no doubt be registering names for $5/yr + gas immediately of any names that expired. Instead, they start at $2000 and go down. I think this was a pretty smart design.
  • I’ve heard in many ENS community calls, twitter spaces, etc… that squatting is looked down upon because it hinders adoption. This has been put into the airwaves by ENS core many times.
  • Finally, I know of many in the ENS community that have registered names for artists, influencers, organizations, and even businesses (ie nba.eth) and have given to those entities their ENS name free of charge. Props to ENS fairies!

So I think what could be done to minimize squatting from a protocol design aspect has been done, but without compromising the decentralized nature of the protocol. Having the ability for a central authority to remove ENS names kind of goes against this.

So again just wanted to say I empathize with your frustrations. Glad you came to share.


I don’t see a problem with owning any domain at all. I believe that price is a driving factor for an entity to extend their motivation in acquiring the rights to use said domain and participating in the community. On the other hand, reasonability and professional ethics should be balanced. In this specific case, I find the entity who is squatting the domain to lack both of those attributes. Ten-million dollars is quite a hefty payment. Not only that but also reflects undeserving selfish behavior. Asking that amount outright is unwarranted and should only exist in the event of an auction where as the bidders decide they are willing to pay that amount. But that’s just my opinion.


Got it, but 10M is clearly a huge amount, but what about 1M? I mean some enterprise may not have issues in spending it, but it may change ppl’s life.

My question is provoking: who decodes when the price is too much? And on which criteria?


Thanks for the very clear explanation.

I would consider useful having at least one/two more criteria:

  • actual use of the domain
  • absence of prior registered trademarks

I mean, the registration fees for 4 digits domains are really low. And they’re sold for super expensive prices. There will always be a return for those who invest, let’s say 16.000 $ /year and purchase 100 domains. Then, just wait for the next big corp willing to buy and wait for cash…

Differences? Companies invested money and created jobs. The registrant just exploited others’ effort

Let’s remember that exorbitant domain prices are just a negotiating ploy, in the hope of obtaining a high price. At the end of the day, the parties will negotiate a price they each can live with. Nevertheless, when a price is too high it might dissuade some from even attempting to negotiate and seek other options. Having negotiated thousands of civil case settlements on behalf of deep pocketed parties (i.e., corporations and other business entities), what I can tell you is that exorbitant opening demands had no effect on the final settlement number.


Yes and domain squatters have contributed the most to the treasury in all likelihood. They want to see ENS succeed as much as anyone else and are huge web3 evangelists as well. Make an offer OP, they will probably take a lot less.

Also, on a side note in general, domain squatting isn’t extortion when it comes to banks and mega corporations, these people exploit their employees and customers daily. If I owned nike.eth I would probably not list it for sale and just flaunt it as my personal ENS name, but I would probably accept a high dollar offer on it too.



These are all available, and if the company buys one of those then glacierbancorp.eth becomes essentially worthless, to the point of the squatter eventually selling it way cheaper, or the name expiring.

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It depends on the name in each particular case. Any fortune 500 company—a million dollars shouldn’t be a problem… Especially if they have a good use case for the investment. Many companies marketing budget exceeds that by far. In the case that a million dollars is asking too much would be for Kroger or Walgreens or SkullCandy or similar well known businesses or similar. Idk it’s all about description.Some people discourage asking for large amounts of money. I assume those people are wealthy in their own accord or have a complex against people acquiring easy money when they had worked very hard for their fortunes. But that’s just speculation… Yes a million dollars is absolutley life changing money and if you can get it then I would be hard pressed to find a credible and founded reason to say no you can’t do that. Because i would take the money in a heartbeat. Even if someone offered me $25k for this or that— It would still be tough for me to say no to because I would be smart with it and turn it into 50 then 100 etc. Life changing money only works by the way of how you use it but not how fast you can spend it.
there is also the case of (less of, i.e, market cap) corporate domains that would sell for an exponential amount.
that being the same in non-trademarked names…for example I have ideas for domains that are still available that have great potential to provide me with life changing money. I just don’t have the money to purchase them.
So it really depends on the name, reasonability, purchaser and the person who is selling it—their situation.

You bid 2ETH and put it there for a month, I believe he/she will sell.
Or you register a 0xglacierbancorp.eth. If you really need this name, then after the ENS communication system comes out, you can contact him and negotiate with him. It will get a reasonable price, otherwise he can only hang there and no one buys


There was another thread on this tonight somewhere, but that’s essentially just replicating the ICANN model which exists in DNS, where any TM domain is blocked at the gTLD level or there is the power to remove it. I actually don’t like this idea and feel like it should be

to the victor, the spoils

Many, many things in life are only worth what someone else will pay for them. Houses, equities, NFTs, cryptocurrencies. Personally I think domains should be the same. In the example above, Eminem could buy instead MM, MarshallM, SlimShady, whatever. If he personally wants to drop $10m for that specific one, I’d let him crack on, and good on whoever bought it.

Personally - I don’t like domain squatting, it’s not something I want to be part of, but that’s just a decision I’ve made. I don’t own any speculative domains and have no plans to. But I don’t have a strong objection if that’s how other people make money.

I agree, I think celebs and the like and the market at large will find creative ways around it. For instance pomp has a tornado in his name. There are many names and accounts with unicode or emoji tags after their name on twitter, its like flair.

Also many names are or can be collectible, like any other NFTs. Dead presidents, infamous people of the past, famous buildings, etc, who knows what niche markets will pop up around ENS domains and how they may be used in ways unforeseen by the original devs.

I don’t think over policing or badgering squatters is the answer and really hurts the community as a whole. The amazing amount of domain names registered and the large treasury – both things flaunted with pride by ENS – are due in large part to squatters and speculators!

Waiting for the “Look at me, I’m the captain now” meme PFPs for ENS names of famous celebs or companies with the caption “Look at me, I’m Elon Musk now” or “Look at me, I’m Nike now” :joy:

Web3 is a revolution after all


i see policing people on it as a way of express anger or jealousy that someone came up on a score when you shoulda, coulda, woulda. But that’s just my opinion and it’s directed towards no one in particular. nuff sed.


If ENS wanted to prevent domain squatting, an effective way would have been to only allow a maximum name-per-wallet rule in the smart contract, such that one wallet could only register 1 or 2 or 3 names for example.

This alone would have greatly curbed squatting due to gas costs, managing multiple wallets, and managing multiple store fronts in secondary markets.

Even having a high tax on transferring names would work in conjunction with the max names per wallet. The transfer tax could go to the treasury.

If the points of contention aren’t resolved soon (ie this year) with squatting, expired domains, and ENS token utility, then ENS becomes ripe and left open for some sort of vampire attack fork of the ENS contract imo because it looks like two camps are forming rn with fundamentally different opinions

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What to do with Unknown ENS name

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Valid questions and also really hard to answer… whats fair and what is overly greedy (and also limiting growth of the community as a result).

Not sure if regulation is the answer versus an open discussion like this one to gauge a fair market value.

Perhaps the DAO could offer a periodic vote on a FAIR VALUE MARKET CAP for an ENS name which we could post to the main ENS page. This could be a “ suggested value ” for the cap and not enforced in a way that would degrade the integrity of our open source backbone. Then we could vote every 3 months or so as a community on the value. This way we can update it as growth continues and potentially provide a way to keep it fair and also let outsiders see the growing value. Could prompt many to act if and when the price increases.

I recently saw an offer for ceo.eth for $200k. This would be an ideal starting cap range +/- to begin with a vote. Thoughts @nick.eth, @alisha.eth ? :v:

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