ENS Affiliate Marketing - Affiliate Program

Hello, I am interested in chatting about referral systems with ENS protocol.

In America,
Referral systems are legal IF the referral system is only
one (1) level. …after one (1) level, it becomes a pyramid/MLM, …so only the direct referral is rewarded.

For ENS,
I want to discuss the opportunity of a single-level referral system, …so any 3rd art site/dApp that sends users to buy an ENS name is rewarded with referral. ( This is a very tempered, very common, very reasonable mechanism in digital engagement, visibility & conversions. )

With NFTs,
when a piece of art is bought, some of the proceeds go one place, and some go to another. …In business, a portion of the business profit (ENS Registration to the DAO), would be sent to a referral address?

I mean,
Lets give every Web3 small business, and every large Web2 Co/Org, a revenue source (for doing good for ENS, in Web3).

Additional thoughts from myself & Merf:
I understand some people may be hesitant about referrals.
I propose that ENS needs a natural “marketing & sales” force; and people need to get paid for their work. Payments could be made by “direct hires”, or it can be incentivized, via decentralized and organic means of the ENS userbase.

A referral program creates lasting support (as long as payouts remain competitive), so creators can support their business driving ENS information into referrals for ENS.

A referral program also takes care of the SEO problem.
Right now UD is dominating ENS in search rankings.
A referral program will entice people to create content about ENS, and get it ranked in search engines so they can generate more awareness for ENS, and referrals for the creators.

It would be a huge accomplishment for the ENS team and community, since this would support ENS marketing, significantly, in decentralized and organic ways.

I recommend it simply be a percentage of the existing sale (the cart), if possible (or whatever we can do & agree upon). With a referral marketing program, it is nearly impossible for any business to lose money, since a referral program only pays if the transaction is completed; and the system would be evergreen.

If I am a content producer:

  • and I send a user from my content (written/video),
  • and they use my link to get to ENS-registration page,
  • and the user then purchases an ENS name,
  • then the referral link will have a percentage of the sale (or fixed amount)
    is sent to the content creator, who led the referral for that sale.

Affiliate marketing is very different than SEO or PPC marketing, which are strategical, not tactical.
Affiliate marketing is a tactical program/tool, which is used as a part of SEO & PPC marketing, as an end goal for the affiliates.

ENS is decentralized, and entirely focused on the technology of “decentralized domains”, plus community. ENS is not a company that creates & runs marketing strategies, directly.

There are tactics-and-tools for ENS marketing (like this affiliate marketing idea) that need to exist, for the ENS/Web3 communities to leverage, …and then, any of the individual Orgs-and-DAOs can create their own marketing strategies to create ENS content.

I believe we want this to be decentralized, and there needs to be incentivization in any healthy mar-tech ecosystem.

ENS is good at technology, but marketing is best in hands of the many professionals (across the Web2 & Web3 space), which ENS needs to provide those marketing tools (and the “affiliate marketing” ability is a very empowering program/idea).

Affiliate Marketing can be an easy win, which will allow ENS to compete with other decentralized domain protocols. We can empower users across the community, while supporting our entire ecosystem of users, builders, and creators.

Please, let’s support Web2 & Web3 content creators,
and let’s empower the ENS community, and industry.


We’ve discussed this internally in the past. One issue is that if you make the referral program open (anyone can join onchain permissionlessly), someone will set up a “cost plus” registration UI that gives the buyer the referral fee, so you’re just back at the status-quo but with slightly cheaper prices. If you make it permissioned (so only an allowlist of referrers are allowed), you have to have some kind of committee to decide who qualifies.


I don’t see the discount being given back to the user as a problem. If that’s what the referrer wants to do, it’s their choice. If the amount is fairly small, then people will just use the site that is the easiest to use regardless of the price savings.

Rainbow wallet showed off in app .eth name registrations. I think this should be highly encouraged.


I think @nick.eth brings up a very good point. I do think referral fees are a great way to incentivize diverse frontends to build on top of a protocol. I’m not sure that baking that functionality into the main ENS registrar controller is necessary, though.

With CCIP-read coming out and enshrined L2 resolvers soon after, I suspect more emphasis will be placed pretty soon on subdomains, and it’s pretty easy for anyone to implement this functionality in the sale of their subdomain namespace. We also have to remember that the main purpose of registration fees is to create a cost to domain parking, and revenue is just a by-product of that. That means that there is a world where the registration cost of names eventually dives (because the namespace is less “scarce” with subdomains becoming first-class), which could create weird incentives if we had this system in place.

I think giving creators that want to support ENS an easy way to get paid for it is a really positive idea, though! I’d be interested if the grants committee has thought at all about lighter weight ways to do that.

The issue there is that in the scenario @nick.eth is describing, users that don’t use the “cost-plus” UI that just redirects the fee back to the user will always be paying more than those that use another UI. Therefore, you end up in a world where every user is incentivized to use the UIs that don’t give referral fees to creators (because they are objectively cheaper), and we are right back where we started.


Referral is good not just for content creators but also dapps to integrate as they can point their ENS username on their site (like how Larva labs does at CryptoPunks: Punks for Address #0x69c488bcda156379b6661f08a35db627e5d467dd . It doesn’t point to register page, but we can track the session info).

We tried creating a referral widget for renewal over 2 years ago Earn Referral Fees By Adding Our ENS Renewal Reminder Widget to Your Website | by makoto_inoue | The Ethereum Name Service | Medium . At that time there wasn’t enough interest but maybe a good time to revive and we have community WG to whitelist the referrers. Also having a leaderboard of top referrers would be a great way to visualise the effect.


I think a way to focus this discussion is to just focus on what Rainbow is doing. It is very possible that the majority of new ENS registrations will come from mobile apps in the very near future. If there is a cut that Rainbow gets for each registration this will be supportive of this effort as well as encouraging of others to do the same.


Ressurrecting this debate because I think it’s a great idea and I see no issues with that.

Below is a graph of all revenue for the DAO since the beginning of the year. In terms of registrations ENS is having the best week of the past two years, and in fact it’s the second highest revenue (after august 2020). But in 2020 most of the revenue was coming from premium names, in sheer number of registrations, the current trend dwarves everything else by a LOT.

This can be traced back directly to the people behind 10k club. I honestly don’t think if we had paid a million dollars for an ad agency, they could come up with such strategy (in fact, if an ad agency came with me with the idea to get people to register random numbers I would be the first to tell them off!). We could create retroactive grants that would reward people on the club, but this would certainly create political attrition as there would be discussion on the subjective issues of who exactly should be rewarded, who came up with the idea, etc.

An affiliate program is much better. I propose a very standard process:

  1. if someone goes into the main ENS dashboard anywhere with an affiliate ENS on their link, the we save the link on permastorage on the client side. We don’t save anything else about the user.

  2. If the user clears his memory, the affiliate ENS is deleted. If he arrives again with another affiliate ENS, then that one is overwritten

  3. At any point (even if weeks later for a different domain), when someone is about to make a purchase, if they have an ENS affiliate stored, they will be shown something like “10% of this purchase is going to foo.eth”

  4. They should be able to click that and we could offer many options: like instead, give it to savethepuppies.eth or cancerresearch.eth or ensdao.eth or some other charities and orgs that we add to the whitelist. Among one of these we could allow them to add a custom ENS name or even an option saying “I’m selfish and don’t want to share the 10%”.

I see absolutely no issue with that. As outlined above, we could even add that option, transparently, on the UI, to give people a discount, and even shame them with all the good charities they could be giving away to instead. I also suppose that if someone is creating an alternative UI for selling names, they would be much more incentivized to put the affiliate link to themselves (even if it to share it with the customer somehow) and I’m ok with that.

Edit: made a mockup. Clicking on the affiliate link (is there a better name?) would open a popup with a few suggestions of charities or a custom name, which the user could put himself as (or maybe even an option to give it as a discount). I’m ok with raising the prices 11.11% to cover that affiliate fee so if the user doesn’t want it, they can use the old price.


Everything said here [mostly] is perfect; this is [mostly] the standard way that referral systems work,
…up until the point where we give the buyer the option “to deny revenue” to the content/developer referral.

There is no reason this needs to display on the UX/UI,
…not to deny the content/dev the referral-revenue for their services:

…the buyer UX/UI should remain seamless, without disrupting their buying journey.

We can “ADD-ON” to the user-experience,
(like your “donate to charity” idea, in your Step #4),
…but that is OUTSIDE the scope of this referral-conversation.

Bottom line:
While a user-buyer can clear their cache before they purchase,
There should NOT be the option to remove the Referral-Addr via the UI/UX.
We should only focus on building & supporting Web3, not inflicting pain for content/dev work.


It’s just that in general I think (1) we should be transparent about the fact that there will be a referral fee and (2) if there’s something the user ca figure out how to do themselves, we should not forbid them to do it in the UI, rather present a flow that encourages him in the direction we want to go. Therefore adding a “replace referral fee for a donation” is a more elegant alternative than the user simply clearing the cache or using an alternative frontend.

The referral fee is NEVER added-on to the cost of the product ON the user.
The referral fee is ALWAYS a cost, subtracted from the revenue of the product.

Any user who wants to clear their cache has other issues to worry about.
This is not how a fluid or inclusive internet works;
…the best practice is to reduce friction.

This statement completely misses, removes,
& commandeers the referral objective:

Why would anyone build a referral system that hurts the people it intends to help?

Why would content & developers produce work,
…which will intentional be destroyed by the users?

Why would you build a counter-intuitive system, to the stated objectives of the system?

Why would you want disrupt the process, & cause additional confusion to users & costs?

Again, a referral fee is NEVER added-on to the cost of the product ONTO the user.
The referral fee is ALWAYS a cost, subtracted from the revenue of the product.

The buying journey & checkout process should remain the same as it was before.

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Uh well… Unless it’s a decentralized on-chain registration system.

So because this is a “decentralized on-chain registration system”,
when we want to “reward content creators & developers” for referrals,
the new normal & Web3 best practices are to “add additional costs to the buyers”.
Okay. This is not going to work out well for anyone.

Only way around that would be to build referrals into the on-chain contracts somehow.

Or else, what do you propose?

Hey folks,
I know see y’all are have a very high level discussion on the future of a referral program (coming together very well, agree about being transparent on referral fee to the buyer). So, if my post is improperly placed 1) my apologies 2) happy to move it to the correct category. I was directed by @nick.eth to post this question on this forum, but was unsure about the correct category.

My request:
My organization, Web3 Texas focuses on foundational education for web2 users. I am putting together a presentation at a local IT conference where I will be speaking to a technical/leadership crowd on Digital wallets and Security. I have a full section in my presentation that focuses on best practices for the digital wallet - buying and associating an ENS domain being one of them. Does ENS sponsor organizations like mine, or is there a program I can submit thru to request sponsorship?

Here is the outline of the presentation:

  1. What is Web3
  2. What is a digital wallet
  3. Why you need a digital wallet
  4. Types of Wallets - custodial v non-custodial
  5. Wallet Mediums - hot v cold
  6. Multi-sig and why this is important
  7. How does the wallet work with the blockchain
  8. Best practices (e.g., Protecting Private Key, Password Management, Seed Phrase backup, Multi Wallet strategy Using .eth addresses, etc.)
  9. Signing transactions
  10. How to get a wallet

Link to event: Crypto Wallets & Security **You MUST register at link in description**, Thu, May 26, 2022, 7:00 PM | Meetup
Please do not be misled by the number of people attending on the meetup site- the real numbers are with my host. So far we are at 18. There are sure to be more as my host typically has between 800-1000 in-person/virtual attendees.

Happy to share my host’s prospectus if needed.

I need to talk about it with some team members/devs;
…but ideally, when the registration-fee/payment is made by the buyer,
then, it would need to be split btwn: 1. the ENS DAO, and 2. the Referral-Address.

I get what you want to do, to replicate legacy referral-type stuff from the web2 world…

I’m just wondering how you envision that actually happening from a technical perspective

The smart contracts do not have a way to do that split currently. And I don’t know it would be good idea to add that complexity into the contracts just for a referral program

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I think you have good points; I appreciate your insights.

Also, I think this warrants more discussion, with you,
…and other people + devs, who understand the space.

Next Steps:

  1. Agree to not make pain easy for content/dev producers to lose revenue;
  2. Agree to keep user journey & checkout experience “the same” as possible;
  3. Agree to meetings to discuss technical implementation; include outside community/devs.

These concepts (issues & opportunities) are not entire novel to ENS;
NFT creators also want to add split payments, and referral systems.

[The ENS core teams + Community has been leaders in Web3;
We can continue innovating & we can continue this tradition.]

For the record @AvsA, I’m also fine with not “making it easy” for users to remove the referral name.

Usually the way I see this done is via the URL, not via cookies. So if I click on a link and get sent to https://somec00lproject.com/register?referral=gary, I can see that and manually update the URL to not include the referrer.

I also agree with making it abundantly transparent what is happening.

Big bold words on the page that say something like:

10% of this registration fee will be sent to GaryPalmerJr.eth


Hi @web3tx, can you please create a new separate post on the forum for your request? You can choose the ‘General Discussion’ and ‘Ecosystem’ tags when creating it (if you have the permissions). You should be able to post it in ‘General Discussions’ at least

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A commission would incentivize competition for better registration UX, and I think ENS could could use some innovation on that front.

I don’t think this rewards the 10k Club for the massive influx of registrations that have already happened. It may only incentivize further splinter groups, since it wouldn’t likely get rolled out anytime soon.

“Political attrition” is a good way to describe how things have progressed so far. Even if we get an appropriate proposal submitted, I worry about the firestorm that might ensue from a public negotiation between the DAO and 10k Club. The DAO members have signaled they are willing to support the community, I really hope something can get worked out.