Permanent Registar Proposals - Overflow Funds, Fees & Rent, 3-6 Character Auction Start



I bet Nick could figure out a way to preregister every single iteration of the 3 and 4 letter domains and hold them himself for speculative purposes. If riches is what one desires there are many ways to achieve it. It appears the prevention of squatting names is the #1 goal and revenue is secondary (or just an offshoot of #1). I believe it is not an insurmountable task to begin a bluelist and embargo a bunch of “questionable” marks. Open those to a 1-year announcement period and then put them to an auction.

I know this opens other can-of-worm debates about what should make the list and what should not. (brand popularity oracle?) But it will undoubtedly eliminate the most obvious cases. It will also be newsworthy enough for media to pick-up. It will be the type of press we want.

We are not trying to make life difficult for people, just trying to be sensible about it.

@MichahZoltu I am with you for open markets, but for someone who snatches FedEx.eth and tries to play off the name in the face of the parent companies long established rights might face legal problems they did not want. And both Squatter and FedEx will do what they gotta do when the time comes. Most likely Fedex will buy the FedEx.eth from the speculator if the ENS is successful. There are some cases that warrant a take it slower approach.

This is all a big crap-shoot anyway.

$1000 for 3 letter marks
$500 for 4 letter marks
$10-20 for 5 letter marks
$5 for everything else.

No science involved, purely market guess. Enough for investors/squatters to make well reasoned good decisions and enough to screen out bot bulk or ransom registrations.

Ponder this. Who has the rights to XXX

What is the value of XXX.eth today? What will it be in 10-years? How much do you think it would auction for with a 1-year embargo and announcement of a public auction? We don’t know these answers, but i have a pretty strong sense of what might happen.

And what about 1.eth ? iam.1.eth


Can you elaborate on this? Why only auction a list of names, rather than the current plan of auctioning all shorter names?


Under this schema as outlined above the whales will be the ones to profit and game the system. The average Joe has no way to compete for the most sought after names. I am starting to think that @MicahZoltu approach of a “free and open market” might be a better approach. As has been stated, there is really no way to stamp out speculation, only to attempt to mitigate it. But, if mitigation comes with giving whales an advantage I would not be in favor of such a proposed system.


@nickjohnson For example, with US trademarks there is a “Notice” period that is used to give other parties to assert a claim if they think the mark will infringe on their prior rights. My suggestion is to blacklist the top +/-1000 names where there is likely one master owner. Major business names with long standing international trademarks in place. CocaCola, Ferrari, NewYorkTimes, WallStreetJournal, etc. Names like Smith, Jones, Johnson and words used in common language would be exempt from embargo.

After the one-year black-list period all these names are released to the open market at First-Come-First-Served. This frenzy would happen on the first day after embargo is released.

Maybe there is an auction at that time, or maybe just let the master of the universe fight for them.

It’s not a perfect solution but it would show good faith in trying to limit the most egregious squatting and holding names for ransom.


Can you elaborate? Why do you believe this gives advantage to “whales”, and how will they profit or game the system?

Ah, I follow.

We’re considering various options for reserving names. It has several major problems:

  1. Identifying the names that should be reserved.
  2. Determining if the claimant actually represents the brand in question.
  3. Adjudicating disputes when there are multiple valid claimants.

One alternative to this we’ve been considering is basing reservations on ownership of existing domains, which is easy to demonstrate, as well as other criteria like the use of the name as a brand. I’d be curious to hear what you and others think of the idea.


Back at the first ENS workshop there was some discussion around the fact that pictographic/logographic/etc languages were not well served by ENS. Having such high rental costs for “short” names (on top of disallowing 1- and 2-character names) seems to be a continuation of this issue.

And is there a rationale behind not allowing 1- and 2-character names? If this is meant to be the permanent registrar does that mean that these names will forever be unavailable?



  1. let an oracle or a Forbes list or some reputable periodical guide the decision. It wont be perfect, but it will catch a lot of famous names.

  2. No need to determine anything; after the 1-year embargo that should be sufficient for them to be ready at 1-year and 1-day to try to catch the name.

Let it be the user’s (speculators and mark holders) frenzy not ENS’s frenzy in controlling or arbitrating the market. ENS is not (or should not be) a dispute resolving organization.

  1. My choice would be to leave this to the legal professionals. Its a field littered with land-mines. There are IP rights, common law rights, prior use rights, international rights. I really think (unless you want to spend an ungodly amount of $$$$$ on IP lawyers, why would you ever want to arbitrate IP property rights?


That’s a fair point. I’m not really sure how we can mitigate that, though, other than flat-rate pricing - which wouldn’t adequately reflect the scarcity of short names.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time”, and many DNS TLDs also have a lower limit of 2 or 3 characters. I’m open to the idea of allowing them too, though.

Wait, so you’re suggesting holding these names in reserve, then just letting anyone register them at a later point? I don’t really understand how that’s better than just making them available now.


@nickjohnson it would satisfy a good-faith effort to let the rightful mark holder have time to learn about that sale or auction. It may not be much better than just releasing them now but it will save a lot of litigation costs if some fat-cat decides to bury a speculator with Anti-Cyber squatting action.

It also helps if your objective is to stay out of the adjudication/arbitration game. If you are truly interested in deciding who is the “rightful” owner then release them all and get ready to set up your courtroom, and jury pool, or judges that know what the heck they are talking about.

Here’s a example of what you will be faced with deciding… Who is going to get Smith and how would you even begin to arbitrate that one? Ford, Hilton, Trojan, …?


Right; that’s what the period between launch and allowing shorter names was intended to accomplish.

Yes, it’s a thorny problem.


There is not good solution to solving this issue. Rather then trying to find a perfect solution (which I believe doesn’t exist) to the name we know will legitimatelly be discuped we should focus on proposing a good solution to whose that wont, so they can start building on top of the ENS.


Not sure that relative scarcity should be the basis for rental fees. Absolute numbers suggest that none of these resources are particularly scarce.

If you restrict each character to 36 options (which is very much a lower bound; including both upper- and lower-case characters plus a few symbols takes this up to around 70) then looking at just 3- 4- and 5-character domains 36^3+36^4+36^5 gives over 62 million options. This is around 300 times the total number of .eth registrations to date so it doesn’t feel like we’re looking at a situation of scarcity. If you go for just 3- and 4-character domains it’s still 8-9 times the total number of .eth registrations to date.

Given this, I’d be inclined to go for a flat rate renewal fee regardless of name length. It avoids discrimination against ideographic (etc.) languages and absolute or relative scarcity aside doesn’t punish one registration over another purely to the length of their name.


from a revenue perspective to make sure True-Name has money for grants and to support adoption efforts through marketing, I strongly support a high rent for 3 and 4 letter names. Scarcity is not the only factor to consider.

I expect someone to pay a lot of money for XXX.eth Cars.eth Bank.eth Baby.eth Dogs Cats… and the renter will genuinely be happy to pay it. It will make perfect sense to them because those will be the easiest to remember and will have a lot of value to the holder.

Of course I can support a frenzy to try to grab those at $5 each, and I would likely take a shot at a few, but I would be doing it for purely speculative reasons. Especially knowing that no-one has any rights to purely descriptive terms like cars.eth, baby.eth friend.eth … and those clearly will have the most value. It won’t necessarily be the trademarks like FedEx and Apple that are worth the most. Its those other descriptive words, the ones with global appeal and not infringing on anyone’s rights.

If I was in that game, I would write (or pay someone to write) a protocol just to create and manage those names I thought had the most value. That’s were the real value lies, and no-one would actually have a legal claim against those names because it’s not a tradename-for-ransom game anymore, its a word-game.

The ENS should put a premium on those marks because its the prudent thing to do. True-Name should just register them itself and provide all the subdomains for free, or one-finney, or ten-finney to promote adoption.

Why not just hold (or rent for a premium) all cars.eth baby.eth, home.eth, bank.eth? Is it really so wrong?


There is no inherent relationship between length of name and value. For example, shows that of the top 10 public sales of domains only 2 of 3 characters and 1 of 4 characters, with the rest significantly longer.

If there is a specific revenue target to be made it can be accomplished just as easily with a flat rate fee across all names as with a stepped rate depending on the number of characters in the name.


@jgm “there is no inherent relationship between length of name and value.”

I disagree with that. Marketing dollars was the reason longer names went for more in a sale.

The article you reference proves the point perfectly with a few outliers. is a perfect example. Cars.eth, Porn.eth, Sex.eth will be worth more than longer iterations of the shorter names.

Furthermore, In the context of the ENS and what I believe the real value in the .eth names are not necessarily the same as with .com domains anyway.

In the most simple terms EVM is just a immutable structured database with an integrated system of micro-payments. The .com .net .io domains may be a better option for serving the UI content anyway.

From my perspective, I don’t really care what direction this takes, as long as ENS survives and works properly. What I really do care about is making sure over the next 30-60 days is well thought out, and is super-critical in making a good decision that we will have to live with for a long time.


Are you aware that you can resolve .eth names to ipfs, and make a dapp frontend accessible that way ?
I’m pretty sure in a few months there will be dapps that are 100% decentralized, including the frontend.


@amxx I resolved everyone of my .eth domains to swarm content. so if someone types in any *.eth name into they will find all it’s details.

Better than that, if someone goes to and enters the *.eth names, the content is delivered to the client browser.

It’s incredibly cool.

The problem is so few people have done it with their .eth names.
that’s why things like are so important.

ENS is going to need operating funds above the grant they got from EF to make these service easy to use, robust and well known to the world translated in every language.


The value of a name is far more related to its meaning than its length; consider what someone would pay for insurance.eth compared to jkbx.eth Some meaningful names are short, and have high value, but it doesn’t follow that any given short name is worth more than any given longer name.

And as we can’t (realistically) build a system that would allocate rent according to the semantic value of the name it seems to me that a flat rate is the best alternative.


Insurance is not a word that can be protected because it is descriptive. However; Farmers Insurance can be protected. But not simply the generic word “insurance”, especially for insurance services.

Unless I want to convince the trademark office that I am going to sell a line of clothing called “Insurance”, that has nothing to do with actual insurance products, and they might give me some rights.

The debate is an interesting one, but I still think short is better, and more valuable.

“JKBX.eth” of course doesn’t mean anything to me. But “cars.eth” does. That’s what the Trademark office does everyday, case-by-case. They will give rights to JKBX for just about anything because they know it doesn’t mean anything (it’s fanciful). But they know you can’t trademark the next Tesla as the “Car”. It’s not allowed, nor should the ENS try to arbitrate who should get it …

I say True-Name or ENS should just take it and let all the associated subdomains be free. Like Google did with [email protected] ; without all the scammy/privacy breach Google behavior though.

Or let someone buy it for a high but fair price and hope they do something noble with it.

I would rather see and instead of knowing someone rented cars.eth to squat it and do nothing with it for 10-years or more…

I still think True-Name and ENS should embargo short descriptive names and make them free (or almost free) to the public through the subdomain feature of ENS or embrace high rental fees.


I think we can. We can just start with your example and start iterating all the way to cars.eth. It will be nowhere close to perfect but everything close to cars.eth will be suspect and worthy of a discussion and all gibberish will not.

In a few-hours i could compile a list of 500-1,000 three, four and five-letter names that might warrant a higher price or embargo (common language words) .