Rethinking the registration/renewal model for ENS

I have to agree with @master here. Rising prices would scare away the average customer in spite of the fact that a lot of considerably premium domains have already been renewed for many years to come (until 2025 and more) by squatters when gas fees were also low. You might not want the system all of a sudden to be… ungraceful to newcomers and those with less money to spend. Be responsible there are competitors out there.

@nhirsch your proposal is good I thought about it too but can easily be bypassed by using different wallets.

Current gas fees already encourage renewing for more than one year and to further incentivize it by discounts on 2, 3, 5 and 10+ years should be the way to go.

You might want to rise base price to $10 though when a low gas price proposal eg. EIP-1559 will be implemented in the hard fork after Berlin. This would also reward early adopters retrospectively.

Prices for 3 and 4 chr length names are flawless though this way.

Wow, it’s only been a day, and everyone who has commented really hates the idea. They are all bringing up the same points as me, and they are warning that this could dame ENS, and help ENS competitors.

  1. This is going to backfire for the average user, imo.
  2. Price increases at the “year 1 and 2” ranges will ONLY hurt normal users. As someone said, “You [would be] scaring more potential users, and lot of existing users will follow the leaving.” This is very true for user perceptions, even if you give users ample notice.
  3. The optics of ENS (or any organization) increasing prices is very bad for ENS, & consumer perception. This will be seen as a betrayal of the ENS promise, and betrayal of the ENS sovereignty.
    –> Unstoppable Domains has actually been warning users about this as “An Attack” on ENS users. Why would you willingly fall into their trap???
  4. Unstoppable Domains (and all ENS competitors) will be very happy if ENS-prices increase, (especially while there promises stay the same; AND “inline” with all other decentralized NFTs);
  5. I think your perspective of “domain buyers/sellers” is grossly misrepresented; and also, will hurt all users of ENS; By treating squatters (as you define) as an enemy, you treat all ENS users as the enemy.
  6. Users are asking for “a token for ENS community”, so their voices can somehow be represented. They want representation, because they do not feel represented, because you make it seem like everyone is the enemy.
  7. ENS/Nick has an open discussion about ENS, but is against anyone who disagrees with him; then says to take it up with the 4/7 keyholders when there is a conflict; Users do not feel that they have a voice, or that opposing viewpoints are being heard. Everyone hates this idea, and Nick hates squatters; devs win because they hold all the keys.
  8. Discounts for longer periods are good, but do not raise costs on users. Regarding your “theory” that “users generally want to retain names for longer than squatters”, this is sometimes true, (for “some normal users” and “some squatters”), most consumers do not do this, (due to financial restraints or habits). Normal people do not have the extra money (for extended years or gas). Anyone who loves their name, AND has the money, will be happy to extend the registration years.
  9. Nick said, “The goal of the proposal is to encourage long registrations by making them proportionally much cheaper for users than shorter ones”
    –> Agreed, but do not raise rent for current users.

Final Thoughts:

  1. “Costs should be set as low as they can be without damaging the usefulness of the system.” Do not raising costs for “1 and 2 year” ENS rents. This will damage ENS, imho.
  2. Re: Users who intend to sell their names AND Users who intend to not sell their names:
    –> Make a decision: Either everyone is your friend, or everyone is your enemy.
  3. As Master said, “Afterall ENS is decentralized cool organization, following ethereum and defi trend should be what we are looking for…”
  4. As vincentkovacs Said, “Be responsible there are competitors out there.”.
    …and ENS users, too.

^ This. I think the community could use a governance token so everybody could decide if they’d rather go on squatting on a thousand more domains or have a say in proposed changes.

It’s a bit of a mistake on @nick.eth that he used the example where the start price is 4 times higher. Of course, everyone reacts to it. The intention was to give a discount on longer registration, not to increase the overall price of the rent.

What do you guys think of this?

Screenshot 2021-02-24 at 15.30.20

Basically, 1st and 2nd year is exactly the same as the current and only start getting +50 USD benefit once they register for 16 years.

I will also put the proposal Nick suggested as a comparison.

Screenshot 2021-02-24 at 15.44.48

In this scenario, you get $80 discount at year 8 and I guess that’s why Nick picked $20 as a starting price.
(BTW Nick’s initial proposal gets cheaper than the current plan only at year 32).

I am actually against this exponential discount because it’s harder to comprehend in the human brain.
It may be simpler if we just say `$5 for 1-year registration but $40 for 10 years (which is $10 discount)

Having all said that, given current gas costs nearly $100, I wonder neither discount makes any difference.

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First example seems pretty reasonable. The good old x years - y% off formula would be easy to comprehend imo, especially using a drop-down list. It will get much more meaningful once gas fees settle but might as well help users now seeing the $100 costs.

  1. Decreased cost for rent (as stake length increases) sounds better than current/flat system.
  2. Don’t increase rates on ENS users for “1 year” of registration.
  3. Give the “integrated notification system” option when the ENS user registers-renews their ENS name; Encourage connection to their Twitter–For notification reasons only.
  4. When a domain name “expires”, it has 90-days before it “drops” to the pool. During those 90-days, can the ENS name display a message, (when viewed with the .link), (either full page, or as a header ribbon), somehow?
  5. The goals of squatters are NOT directly opposed to: “[making the ENS] system as easy to use and available as possible for end users who register names with the goal of using them to name decentralized resources”.
  6. (In a decentralized & free market), this statement is short visioned,
    …and impossible (without hurting all users): “we aim to design the system to discourage squatting”.
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Just to be clear - revenue to ENS or True Names is not a motivating factor here. The pricing scheme should stand on its own as the best way to allow as many users as possible to get the names they want to use, not as a revenue source.

Again, the goal here would be to reduce the fees for most registrants. Only those registering for short periods would be likely to see any kind of increase.

I did do some research on long registrations - there are very few names that have been registered for long durations (much less, by squatters); it may even be practical to offer a refund to users to reflect a new discounted fee schedule.

Again, the point of this post isn’t to discuss the exact prices of one possible proposal. Those prices were only intended to be illustrative.

Why? Squatters will predominantly want to register for short periods to save their funds, while regular users likely want to keep their names for an extended period. Do you disagree? I think it would be more productive to have a conversation about whether this assumption is correct than to waste time litigating a fee schedule that was not intended as anything other than a demonstration of the discounting function.

Again, the goal is not to increase prices on users - quite the reverse.

Squatters’ goals are to buy names cheaply and sell them for a lot more to people who want to actually use the names. In economics terms this is a “deadweight loss”, and it runs directly in opposition to the interests of our legitimate users. Making squatting less profitable makes life easier for end-users.

Can you start a thread about this, and what it is you’d like to see? It could be an interesting conversation, but I would like to (try and) keep this thread on-topic.

You may be right about this, in which case we should be discussing other ways to distinguish user types and make it easier for users who want to use their names. I would say, though - habits can be changed, and are affected a lot by UI design and what is easy and straightforward. Gas fees currently outweigh registration fees by an order of magnitude, so I don’t think a lack of budget is the deciding factor here.

To put it succinctly: Every dollar a squatter makes comes from making the system more expensive for end-users.

This is a factor of market perceptions, and propaganda against ENS/ True Names.

This will hurt normal users more than squatters, since normal users have less capital and tend to only register for 1 or 2 years at a time (as your research shows). And Squatters don’t care about price as much.

Yes, for a millionth time, I disagree. See previous answer–Per your own research, users do not typically register for longer than 1, maybe 2, years. Also, at the “year 1 and 2” ranges, price increase will be widely seen as a betrayal from ENS; competitors will pounce; ENS will loose reputation and network effect. (In contrast, squatters are not bad people, they will think through this. If you try to hurt squatters, you will then hurt normal users, mainly.)

I am not sure what your counterpoint is–I will just say this:
The base cost for normal users should “stay the same” or “decrease”, on the “one year at a time” basis.

You will not make squatting harder. You will not make squatting less profitable.
By trying to hurt squatters, you will hurt normal users. Focus on just making ENS great.

You are right about this, BUT you must place the competitors into consideration; both their UX/UI, And Also, their marketing, messaging, and their propaganda (pro-them & anti-ENS).

You are fighting existing Web2 habits, with new Web3 habits, with what the competitors are doing. (ENS is still figuring-out pricing, and “squatters”, while UD is hosting AMAs on Clubhouse.)

It seems like ENS gives too much faith for “normal users” finances (which are more bare). People are opening their eyes to Blockchain; they like owning the assets the identify with (and competitors know this). People expect these system to be simple, and with everything ENS has put out there, it is “hard to relearn” what users think they already know. We should be comparing & competing ENS to other competing “blockchain naming/identity services”; but instead we are targeting to “hurt ENS squatters”. We need ENS to be great for all users.

I can’t explain how trite this sounds to me. Second markets add market value to the overall systems, which benefit the users over time. All squatters are your strongest community advocates. Squatters do free marketing and raise awareness, and create market demand. Squatters amplify the network effect to increase traction. Squatters are typically business & technology savvy, and they will end up adding significant value to the system and network.
PS: Every dollar you [try to] squeez from “a squatter” makes the system more expensive for all other end-users, whom then suffer. But I am just some dude with some tea, keep stabbing the leg of the beast. Ni.

I don’t think users are hurting for capital so much that they can’t afford $20 to register for several years instead of $5 to register for one. If they were, nobody would be registering with the current gas fees. And if someone is really so hard up that they can’t afford $20 on Ethereum, I doubt they’re registering an ENS name in the first place.

Squatters care very much about price. If you double the price a squatter has to pay for domains, they can only buy half as many. Likewise, if you halve the cost a user pays for a long-term registration but don’t change short-term costs, that helps users more than squatters.

How do you suppose ENS would look today if registrations were free from day 1?

If your answer is the same as mine - that every interesting domain would have been snapped up on day 1 and it would now only be possible to register names by buying them off squatters - then you agree with me that price is an effective way of counteracting squatting.

Squatters typically do none of these things; they buy a name, then list it on a marketplace to try to resell it. In 3 years of operation I am yet to see an ENS squatter contribute meaningfully to making ENS a better system through their squatting.

I have evolved to think that the fee/heartbeat is better to keep names in circulation, especially over the “decades” (I admit it has major benefits as a public good over the decades). That is not my issue. We NEED to separate the two ideas, the “fee game theory”, from “squattin’ hatin’”; By merging the issues into “anti-squatting game theory”, then the results will hurt everyone.

  1. Your “absolutes” are not true. 2. Your timeframe is short. 3. Yes, there is a bell curve of awesomeness. 4. Your definition of a squatter includes the vast majority of all users; they buy a great name, many don’t know how or when or what to do with it, they hold on to it like their dreams, they recognize the NFT has value. Most “squatters” are not bad people.

So what do you think would have happened if names were free from day 1? What purpose do you think fees serve?

I’m not passing a moral judgement on squatters, I’m saying that the “buy names and try and resell them for more” is a use-case we want to discourage, because it makes the system less useful for the use cases we do want to encourage - using names to, well, name things.

Can you point to examples of ENS squatters contributing positively to the ENS ecosystem through their squatting on names?

By “free”, do you mean “without reoccurring fees” (this is different than “free”)?

  1. People would feel sovereign ownership of their ENS NFTs;
  2. ENS would currently have more users, & more NFTs generated, than U.D. (yes, less supply on the main market);
  3. Competitors like U.D. wouldn’t have such strong talking points against ENS;

You mean reoccurring fees?

  1. Fees create a barrier to entry (supply vs demand) & a limit of ownership;
  2. Fees create a “fee attack” narrative (someone can increase the fees later);
  3. Fees make the non-profit org (True Names) a boatload of reoccurring revenue, to centrally receive development funding, forever (could be a good thing);
  4. Fees circulate forgotten names back into the primary market.

Is my engagement (with ENS here; and for ENS, on Clubhouse, online, & the world) a positive contribution?

I mean, without any fees whatsoever - first in, first served. I am not proposing doing this; this is a thought experiment to clarify the impact of fees on the usefulness of ENS.

Yes. Are you saying you can only do it by virtue of owning a lot of ENS names?

To reflect on your point of view, most dot com domains were registered in the 90s and got sold for the highest prices after 2000 (see the story of sex dot com for example) so holding the best ones for about 8 (!) years on an average would have been the way to go.

I am saying this because if we group the ‘best’ .eth domains by

  • highest bids on the 2017 auctions

  • highest historical market value but those that have already been sold outside the 2019 short name auction for example crypto.eth

  • highest last price yet only sold once on the short name auction

  • domains considered premium but failed to be sold yet

  • other domains of personal, less popular or meaningless names

you will see that most of them have been registered only because of an ambition for their future value. But those holding the best of the best just won’t care about changes.

Proposals to ‘hurt squatters’ will mainly hurt those who really believe in the success of ENS Domains and its ecosystem and are willing to hold let’s say Class B domains over Class A ones and not those who were lucky enough to get a hold of the already-proven best ones.

You say squatters add no value but they might as well do indirectly. They create a shortage of supply, and history tells there is demand for items considered rare or harder to acquire.

Just an opinion but see how dot com domains are the most heavily squatted and still the most demanded; or how much quick money can Supreme make selling limited amounts of their products while resellers and collectors are front-running one another to be the first in their FOMO.

Why exactly do you think squatting is essentially bad? I’m seeing people constantly registering new names while gas fees are still sky high.

See previsions answer. Yeah, that would be chaos, crazy, and gas would spike. Names would be lost. New companies would form and they would have become the registrars. It would be glorious, organic, spider-web of death and new ideas. The structure, including the rents’ “catch & release” has added a life into the project, to help it become “breathing”.

No, I can do it with or without owning a lot of ENS names.

But caring takes energy, for better or worse; Resources are limited; Web3 is a passion.
I don’t care because I own ENS names, but owning ENS names does energize me to care.

There are a lot of projects/purposes to give ones self to. Everyone requires motivation. People can be paid as a job/career to think and take action, which helps anyone’s “external motivation”.
When anyone owns ENS names, they are investing into the ENS project, including the concept, and the vision, (similar to how anyone invests into any NFT, or ERC-20 Token). There is additional “internal motivation”. With so many projects to follow, humans will contribute toward their passions & interests. This adds layers of value into systems, especially when systems are designed well.


I don’t think that’s a fair comparison; the Internet was very new back then, and the landscape looked very different. In fact, it’s a large part of why naming services that have launched more recently have had problems with squatting: everyone sees an opportunity and jumps on all at once, strangling the service in its crib before it has traction (see for example Namecoin).

Yes, if you sort names by the ones that have fetched the highest prices, those are mostly names that are being squatted on. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

A namespace isn’t one market - it’s a trillion markets of one item each, because names are not fungible. Someone squatting on “nft.eth” does not make the system better (or worse) for someone who wants a different name.

.com names are squatted on because they’re in demand - not vice-versa!

Because squatters buy names cheaply and resell them at high prices, while adding no value.

You think a situation in which every interesting name has to be purchased at inflated prices from existing owners would be better? Why?

I used the .com domains for comparison because I believe there is a lot of room for growth here, considering web3 altogether is fairly new. Not so far in the future, .eth might also be used as domains for wallets containing digital dollar, who knows! Though I never thought about it your way; squatting wasn’t really that much of a problem back then.

Like Web3 is now.

The dinosaur came before the chicken.

Why does everything need to be a fight? Maybe I do & maybe I don’t. I thought it was a hypothetical…

If you want squatters to add value anyway, the best solution I can think of is a direct aftermarket at with a commission on sales which could also make it easier for everyone to acquire their desired name.

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