2017 was a pretty good year for SIDN, the .nl registry. Registrants were using their domain names earlier than ever after registering, for the first time since 2010 more domain names were registered than in the previous year and research released in December found that almost three-quarters (73%) of Dutch business registrants chose .nl over any other top level domain. And they added new functionality to their website to help people find good domain names.
The new and upgraded website features a suggestion tool so if a potential registrant finds the domain name they want is taken, a few similar alternatives are offered, a tool that’s not unlike Verisign’s release of NameStudio for the TLDs they offer - .com, .net, .tv and .cc. SIDN’s tool has proven to be very successful, and they are going to develop the tool further and add additional functionalities in 2018. This year SIDN believes the tool is going from smart to super-smart!
Additionally, SIDN have added functions to assist potential registrants find the registrar that suits their requirements. Instead of being referred to a long list of registrars and being bewildered by choice and many registrars not meeting their requirements, registrars are now directed to a a list that suits their requirements, whether they be personal or business. The changes have been a big success: sidn.nl is now generating nearly five thousand leads a month, more than 15% of which result in registrations. That's almost twice as many as before the new features were launched.
The changes come on the back of SIDN’s best year in several years with the number of registrations up on the year before. In the eleven months to 1 December, more than 780,000 new .nl domain names were registered. That was 20,000 up on the same period in 2016. Taking into account cancellations, the .nl zone grew by about 100,000 to a little over 5.8 million names. This means the Netherlands has the highest domain name density in the world. With a population of just 17 million, the country has 9 million domain names!
SIDN have also found registrants are putting .nl domain names to use sooner by linking them to websites, email services and other applications. Over the last two years, the average interval between a domain name being registered and entering use has come down from more than 4 months to less than 2.