The Dot Coms Are Booming Again (Domain Registrations, That Is)

picture-3VeriSign has just put out its quarterly report on the web domain industry stating that there are now just about 183 million domain names in existence. This represents a 3% increase from last quarter and a 12% increase from last year. But perhaps most interesting is the slight turnaround that has taken place in the all-important .com/.net section of the industry.

The fourth quarter of the year is traditionally a slow one for .com and .net registrations, but the whole of 2008 was particularly slow, at least partially due to the “current macro-economic environment,” according to the report. But Q1 2009 saw those numbers turn around:

New .com and .net registrations were added at an average of approximately 2.4 million per month in the first quarter of 2009 for a total of 7.3 million new registrations in the quarter. This 17 percent increase from the previous quarter also marked the first positive growth rate in new registrations since the first quarter of 2008.

Also interesting is that domain renewals turned around for the first time in a few years. Beginning in Q1 2007, .com and .net renewal rates began declining from a Q4 2006 peak of 77%. That decline continued through Q4 2008, when the renewal number reached a low of 70%. But Q1 2009 brought the first uptick in the number (71%) in over 2 years.picture-21

So after a small depression, things appear to be looking up for .com domains once again. But that growth looks fairly minimal when compared to ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domains). Those are the domains that end in things like .cn (China) and .de (Germany), representing countries. While .com is still far and away the biggest domain, .cn and .de have both surpassed .net for the number 2 and 3 spots on the list, respectively.

You can find a lot more data in the full PDF report here.