The total number of registered domain names passed 250 million in the last quarter of 2012, according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief. More than 6 million domain names were registered in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing the total to 252 million worldwide.
The basic .com domains, of course, make up the majority of registered domain names. By the end of December users had registered 106.2 million .com domains, as well as 14.9 million .net addresses. The .com and .net top-level domains (TLDs) also accounted for the majority of newly registered domain names. In total, 8 million .com and .net TLDs were registered during the fourth quarter of 2012, up slightly from the 7.9 million that were registered in the year-ago quarter.
About 21 percent of .com and .net websites, by the way, are just one-page sites and 15 percent are registered but don’t point to a working site at all.
Outside of those two TLDs, country code top-level domains grew another 5 percent quarter over quarter and 21.6 percent year-over-year to a total of 110.2 million domain names, with China driving quite a bit of this growth. Indeed, China is now the seventh-largest TLD, according to Verisign’s data.
Top TLDs: .COM, .DE, .NET and .TK
Here is the full running order of the largest TLDs:
The largest TLDs in order by zone size were .com, .de (Germany), .net, .tk (Tokelau), .uk (United Kingdom), .org, .cn (China), .info, .nl (Netherlands) and .ru (Russian Federation).
The one domain that probably stands out here is .tk, the top-level domain of Tokelau. These .tk domain names, which are available for free through Freedom Registry, have a bit of a reputation for hosting phishing sites, but chances are that the lure of a free domain name is driving most of these registrations.