David Goldstein - Global ccTLD Registrations Grow, New gTLDs Slide and Social Media Redirects Jump


    Global domain name registrations continue to grow, growing by 1.4 million in the quarter ending March 2018 to 333.8 million, according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief. The growth equated to 0.4% for the quarter, and for the year was 1.0% or 3.2 million.

    Country code top level domains (ccTLDs) continued to show slow growth, growing 0.1% for the quarter to 146.3 million, an increase of 0.2 million. Over the year to the end of March ccTLDs increased registrations by approximately 3.2 million, or 2.2%.

    Verisign’s .com and .net had different stories for the quarter. For .com, at the end of March registrations totalled 133.9 million, up from 131.9 million, while .net registrations dropped 100,000 to 14.4 million, continuing a trend that has been ongoing in recent years. For example, at the end of the first quarter of 2014, .net registrations had totalled 15.2 million, .com 113.2 million and total registrations 276 million.

    One issue highlighted in the latest report was the growth of .com and .net domain names redirecting to popular global social media and e-commerce sites compared to 12 months ago. While total numbers weren’t given, the number of domain names for the 2 gTLDs redirecting to Instagram grew 70%, to Etsy 18%, LinkedIn (16%), Facebook (12%), Snapchat 11% and Twitter 9%.

    The top 10 TLDs were .com (133.9 million) followed by .cn (China, 21.4m), .tk (Tokelau, 19.9m), .de (Germany, 16.3m), .net (14.4m), .uk (United Kingdom, 12.0m), .org (10.3m), .info (6.2m), .ru (Russian Federation, 6.1m) and .nl (Netherlands, 5.8m).

    As of 31 March, there were 302 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root zone, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs composing almost two-thirds (65.3%) of all ccTLD registrations.

    For new gTLD registrations, a slide that has been ongoing since peaking in April 2017 now appears to have hit their nadir. At the end of March 2018 registrations were approximately 20.2 million. This was a decrease of 0.4 million or 2.0% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 and 5.3 million, or 20.7%, year over year.

    The largest of the new gTLDs were .top, .xyz and .loan, accounting for 9.9%, 9.4% and 9.4% respectively of all new gTLD registrations. The top 10 new gTLDs represented just over half (51.1%) of all new gTLD registrations.