Verisign

177 Million Domain Names And Counting, VeriSign Shows Growth Is Slowing

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So VeriSign released its Q4 2008 Domain Name Industry Brief (PDF) yesterday, a document that zooms in on “the state of the domain name industry through a variety of statistical and analytical research”. Let’s take a look at their findings and stats.

As you could have deducted from the headline, last year ended with a total base of 177 million domain name registrations across all of the Top Level Domains (TLDs), up from 153 million at the end of 2007 representing a 16% growth rate. Over the entire year, there was an average of 11.9 million new domain names registered per quarter compared to an average of 12.2 million new domain names registered each quarter in 2007.

Last quarter, like Q3 2008, the five largest TLDs in terms of overall size were .com, .cn (China), .de (Germany), .net, and .org. The overall base of .com and .net domain names grew to 90.4 million domain names at the end of 2008.

But growth is slowing, likely because of the bad economy (although this apparently didn’t stop VeriSign from raising its prices) and a falling interest and revenue potential for parked domains.

More than 10.1 million new domain names were registered across all of the TLDs in the last quarter of 2008. This reflects a slower growth in new registrations with a decline of 12 percent from the third quarter 2008 and 17 percent from the same quarter in the previous year. The decline was driven by slower growth in both gTLDs and ccTLDs. Over the entire year, there was an average of 11.9 million new domain names registered per quarter compared to an average of 12.2 million new domain names registered each quarter in 2007.

Last year ended with 71.1 million ccTLD (country code Top Level Domains) registrations, a 22 percent increase over the end of 2007. In total, there are more than 240 ccTLD extensions globally, but the top 10 ccTLDs contribute 65 percent of the total number of registrations. Unsurprisingly, .ru (Russian Federation) and .cn (China) were the fastest growing. But overall, the growth of ccTLDs is also slowing down: only 36 percent of the top 25 largest ccTLDs experienced growth rates in the fourth quarter that were higher than the growth rates in the third quarter.

To conclude, an interesting tidbit: VeriSign estimates that 88 percent of .com and .net domain names resolve to a website. Broken down, nearly a quarter of the 90 million .com and .net domain names the company analyzed lead to one-page websites, which include include under-construction, brochure-ware and parked pages in addition to online advertising revenue generating parked pages. 12 percent doesn’t resolve at all.

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