Polka.Domain DNS market research

Polka.Domain
4 min readApr 4, 2021

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There are currently few blockchain-based domain name services on the market, we built ours on Polkadot, utilizing its interoperability, transaction speed and fees.

DNS market research

Our goal is to make blockchain-based domains more accessible and convenient. PolkaDomain studied currently utilized pricing systems from the existing domain name services both traditional and on blockchains.

The common ones are:

  • Deposit model, where the user pays a one time deposit on the domain and the deposit is returned to them when they release ownership of that name. This may sound like the easiest way to operate but this enables an unfair opportunity for a small group of individuals to quickly register almost all the names people could want and sell them at a higher price, thus making the market inefficient and domains impractical.
  • Renewal model, where the user pays an annual fee to keep ownership of the domain. This model solves the problem mentioned above and has been the model for traditional DNS.
  • One-time fee model, where the user pays a one time registration fee to keep the ownership of domains forever. This is the most straightforward and convenient system, however the pricing is very arbitrary.
  • Blind auction, where participants place bids for a particular domain name, without knowing what other participants are bidding. As usual, the higher bidder gets the auctioned domain name, while paying the bid price of the second-highest bidder.
  • Dutch auction, where the price of domains starts at an initial price (ceiling) and drops by a fixed amount periodically. Participants place bids for the price that they are willing to pay. As the price declines overtime, the auction ends when a bid is placed at a price above the current auction price.

Competitor outlook

GoDaddy: The traditional domain name registration, renewals and management platform.

GoDaddy is a domain registrar that gets their domains by being accredited by the companies in charge of running each domain extension (such as .com, .org, etc). GoDaddy buys domain names at “wholesale” prices, and then sells them to individuals and small businesses at retail prices.

GoDaddy’s domain name service offerings include:

  • Primary registrations. These allow customers to search for and register available domain names with the relevant registry.
  • Annual renewal, price varies depending on popularity and length and the associated top-level domains.
  • Users can save on domains with annual membership of $240/yr
  • Profits from sales of domain, renewal fee and costs associated with the registration process.
  • Domain name privacy. It allows customers to register a domain name on an unlisted basis (for a fee).
  • Domain name aftermarket platform. It allows the sale and purchase of an already registered domain name through an online auction, an offer and counter-offer transaction, or a buy now transaction.
  • There’s listing cost for non member, membership: $4.99/yr
  • Profits from commision and listing add-ons

ENS

A distributed domain name service built on the Ethereum blockchain. Owns top-level domain extensions .eth (on mainnet) and .test (on Ropsten). ENS employs an annual renewal fee model for domain registration.

ENS’s current registration costs are set at the following prices:

  • 5+ character .eth names: $5 in ETH per year.
  • 4 character .eth names: $160 in ETH per year.
  • 3 character .eth names $640 in ETH per year.

Unstoppable Domains

Unstoppable Domains is another blockchain-based domain service powered by the Ethereum and Zilliqa blockchains offering top-level domain extensions .crypto (on Ethereum) and .zil (on Zilliqa).

Customers can register and own domains with a one-time fee depending on the length and extensions of the domain ( .crypto is priced higher than .zil). Once registered, the domain does not need to be renewed and cannot be reclaimed by Unstoppable Domains. Rare and exclusive domain names ( 4 characters or less and selected common words) are released regularly for purchase at a premium rate.

Unstoppable Domains’ current registration costs (excluding premium names) are:

  • 8+ character .crypto names: $40 ($20 for .zil)
  • 7 characters .crypto names: $80 ($40 for .zil)
  • 6 characters .crypto names: $200 ($80 for .zil)
  • 5 characters .crypto names: $800 ($250 for .zil)

In the upcoming articles we will explain in depth the top level features of PolkaDomain while touching on some advanced features. Our pricing model is simple and straight forward:

PolkaDomain Pricing Model

  • To minimalize risks of fraud, phishing, or other types of brand confusion PolkaDomain will reserve existing trademarked domain names for future DNS integration on PolkaDomain for free.
  • To avoid a scenario a small group of people is holding majority of the domains PolkaDomain will introduce an annual fee system for domains with the option of paying for multiple years ahead of the time. Once registered, the annual fee will not increase down the road.
  • Inactive/overdued domains go public after a grace period and become available for grabs under dutch auction.
  • PolkaDomain plans to periodically release premium domains for auctions. Which is the most intuitive and fair way to price rare and exclusive domains.

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