Difficult Decision: Not Renewing (unlaunched!) Domain Names

A couple of years ago--at @gchiu's urging--I had reserved a .com, .org, and .net for launching Ren-C to the public.

But in the intervening years, I put nothing on these domains. They've been vacant lots, doing little but transferring money from me to the "Namecheap" registrar. :angry:

Feb 3rd was this year's renewal date, and I disabled auto-renew, and didn't pay.

If I "Owned" Them, Why Didn't I Use Them?

I put "owned" in quotes because you don't own domain names, you just rent them.

There are good reasons for not wanting to impart value to these domains prematurely--e.g. not even transferring the forum there. My worries were:

  1. You don't get a second chance to announce a project.

    • If you need a case study, Red has certainly worn out their welcome on hackernews.
  2. Once you start using a domain, the content becomes an issue of identity.

    • You have imparted a value to URLs which is easily stolen by spammers.

    • You become obligated to pay recurring charges to protect your material and identity.

Why I'm Not Renewing Them, Despite Believing in Ren-C...

While Ren-C is in my eyes, successful in many areas... given the (long!) timescale we are looking at... I don't think it is necessary to pay for specialized domain names for the project.

The DNS system itself may be obsolete--and AI may be writing all the code--before I get around to finishing this myself. :roll_eyes: Though perhaps I have helped set the goalposts.

I'm basically saying that I'm okay coupling the Ren-C work to the domain names I already have established, or their subdomains, rather than making a separate entity that others would manage. Those identities (like hostilefork or metaeducation) are a sunk cost, and I can just use those.

I Put Up Money For A Couple Of Years, Is Not Doing So "Giving Up"?

Not really. This is just an epicycle of my firm belief that DNS is not to be trusted any further than you can throw it. It says more about how I feel about the domain name ecosystem than it says about how I feel about Ren-C.

...and if I hadn't mentioned it, you wouldn't have noticed any difference at all. Things would seem the same.

But in my mind with the huge new design space opening up with isotopes, I will admit that I'm moving closer to the idea that the final product of Ren-C is just more like "demos and papers and code golf gaming". Not "download the solution to all your problems here".

After all, there are worse things than being the Antikythera mechanism. :slight_smile:

So I'm not quitting, but I certainly am trying to do a lot more other things in my life these days. I'll keep hacking on it as time permits, and hopefully we won't be taking too many steps backwards... and the WebAssembly stuff will remain the user-facing focus.


You are so right in not spending your hard earned money on domain names. Always another option around later.