Short Name Auction Reservation Process - Proposed Process

7 June 2019 Update - Thanks to the valuable feedback we received below, we’re rethinking the approach. You can find that discussion here.

The ENS team proposes moving forward with a short name auction reservation process.

The basic premise is that ENS is more useful the less surprising it is.

To a large part, being less surprising means that known projects in the crypto space can get the name that best represents them.

This approach would also increase ENS adoption. The likelihood of projects adopting ENS is proportional to how well they can represent themselves with it.

The topic’s been under discussion for some time. You can find related discussions here.

After much discussion and debate, the ENS team feels that implementing the following subset of these rules will be the most effective way to achieve the stated goals.

Any DNS domain owner may apply to reserve a short (3-6 character) ENS domain ahead of the auction process.

Public applications must reference an existing DNS domain name, and specify the ENS domain they wish to claim. The DNS domain must have been registered prior to January 1, 2019.

The ENS domain being claimed must be either:

  1. An exact match with the existing DNS domain ( -> foo.eth).

  2. The concatenation of the DNS domain and TLD ( -> bitfish.eth).

  3. The DNS domain with the suffix ‘eth’ removed, for names ending in eth ( -> ass.eth).

Once the public application is submitted, the owner of the DNS domain must create a TXT record on a specific subdomain with a predetermined value to demonstrate their ownership of the DNS domain, to validate the claim.

If multiple valid claims are received for the same ENS domain, the owner of the oldest existing DNS domain name will be awarded the ENS name.

If you hold a strong objection to the reservation process, please let us know why in the comments :point_down:


Why the domain name must be registered before the January 1, 2019 ?

#1 is straight forward.

#2 looks easy enough to understand as long as there is a hierarchy or who get precedence between and; and what about are they excluded?

For me, I have the domain because of course, was taken. So if I want onelaw.eth do I get any consideration for my prior .us registration, or am i limited to onelawus.eth which falls outside the 6 letter limit anyway. To make it more interesting; currently, if you type into a browser it redirects to and is not crypto/ethereum focused. So I can reasonably make an argument that they are squatting the “onelaw” name because of the re-direct. So who is more deserving of onelaw.eth, me or them, or both of us and the race is on?

I am fine with whatever rules are decided because I can play whatever “game” as long as I can understand the rules. The “nice” part is that my examples are real and I suspect ENS will quickly be forced to start deciding the fates of the .eth registrations anyway and it will all fall into place. It may take a while to work through the tough calls.

#3 may also get complicated if someone feels that is more deserving of ass.eth than of the holder of especially if was registered well before, or if is more deserving that assismeth.eth or

My point is, that we will do our best to try to make #2 and #3 absolute and not open to human subjective interpretation. The objective interpretation would necessitate a tribunal of word-smiths and experts in brand-names. No thanks.

It’s annoying but I agree that making trade-offs in the name of adoption is worth it, at least in the short term. Is there somewhere I can find information on the technical details? I’m assuming these names are handed out on launch but do you reserve the ability to indefinitely control both owned and unowned names?

@FlashyQpt Regarding the technical details, this is the best place to understand the next phase of .eth domain reservations.

If you need a 7+ character domain name, registrations operate under a vickrey auction . I got most of my domains using and the process was straight forward as long as you keep track of your reveal times.

At what date can we start reserving the names?

To prevent anyone from registering a variation of a domain on a random tld in order to dispute a claim.
You got and want foobar.eth ? → let me grab realy fast so I’ll have a rightfull claim to foobar.eth

The oldest registered domain wins, regardless of what TLD it is or which of the three rules it’s utilising.

There’s no preference for .com domains, and no arbitration or dispute resolution; the oldest qualifying registration wins.

The current plan is to run the pre-registration via a github repo and pull requests. Once the names are locked in, the names will be registered for each owner by the ENS team. After that, any change would require keyholder action - we don’t have any special control over the system.


Except the “earliest registered domain” rule would kick in so that wouldn’t work.

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So we are all set for ass.eth ?


If you own ‘asseth.something’, registered before January 1, 2019, then yes.

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For the record I don’t like the whitelisting. But if we are doing it, instead of having everyone preregister, why don’t we do a mass registration oracle?

You get the name if your domain is on the top of google search results for the word. That’s it. Google is not exactly neutral, but since they are probably too big to care about ENS, it’s as if. Extra benefit is that it donates a bunch of ENS names for wikipedia that they can later sell.

Is there a way to do about 11 million google searches programatically? If so we can already compile a document of all 3-5 character domain names and not require anyone to preregister, allowing people to claim their domain for a few years and then unclaimed domains will go.

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There’s not really any way to automate this effectively, much less prove it onchain.

What’s the advantage over assigning to existing domain holders?


A bit late to the party, but why the 6 char limit? our project has 8 . I wish the domain ethic.hub existed, but for now we are stuck with

Is there plans to extend the .xyz way of reserving a domain to .com ?

The character limit was put in place to avoid a ‘landrush’ for short names when the project was not yet well known. We’ll be opening up shorter names for registration soon.

Yes - it’s enabled already on Goerli, and we’ll be launching this on mainnet soon.


I guess we may need to consider again an alternative to “oldest existing DNS” and the suggestion of using Google page really creative and alternatively, you could check Alexa ranking! to differentiate between just old owner (for sale/parking) and actively using the DNS, additionally

  • The domain records maintained by the TLD registry sponsored/generic/country level and not by ICANN, that been said, the records can be manipulated, do you trust Mr. Maduro to not command the .ve registry to change registration date to BC or 1991 (the date .ve introduced according to Wikipedia which is before 1995, and 1994) or any other name he wishes to own!

  • Several TLD (particularly ccTLD) has subs like,, , (or,, etc) so who is going to get EDU.eth, GOV.eth NET.eth or COM.eth??

  • registered 1994 prior to, note that YET to be launched and has already established brand/top results at Google, and Alexa ranking, Casino.eth then will go to owners just because oldest, despite the fact that it is not in use (no Alexa ranking) nor it’s at Google?

Basically (3-6 character) ENS domains going to be an airdrop to .com/net/org owners by seniority! and nothing will be left, 3-5 char .com already registered! and the vast majority of 6char, I see this rule of “oldest” works perfectly with highly recognizable TM but badly with generic names. it’s fair to auction UNI.eth than giving it to the University of Northernlowa owner of, just because they registered their domains in 1989! same for gov com web net

and I prefer login.eth to go to UniversalLogin project than to owner (which isn’t using it but to redirect) just because he has registered it 1993.

Don’t you prefer Gnosis.eth to go to Gnosis project instead of (which has nothing to do with blockchain) and the same for Aragon, Prism, uPort, Radex, Idex, Golem, Status, Bancor, Augur, Storj and Jaxx etc! none of these projects will have a chance to own their ENS names .eth! and we want them still, to integrate ENS to their dapps :joy:

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I’m not terribly concerned about these issues because, frankly, they don’t seem very likely. And nobody has proposed a better alternative.

Is this pre-registration process open yet? What’s the GitHub repo? Thanks!

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I think pre-registration is manual process.

The full schedule is written here

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Yep, that’s my understanding as well. But I thought based on what @nickjohnson said that the manual process will be facilitated using a GitHub repo?

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