September 28, 2012    


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Global TLD Registrations Pass 50 Million As New Users Stream Online


By Ron Jackson
& Richard Meyer

Evidence of a domain boom is everywhere. Owners report more offers for their domains and increasingly higher sales prices, venture capital companies have moved into the space and are buying up entire portfolios, pay per click ad rates are strong  and registration levels continue to hit all-time highs. One subset of the registration market just hit a new high water mark on April 22, 2005. The total number of Global TLD  domain registrations (gTLDs) have passed the 50 million mark for the first time, according to statistics compiled by WhoIs.sc. The gTLDs are the five extensions meant for international use; .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz

The 50,141,759 gTLD registrations reported April 22 represents a whopping 34% jump from the 37,391,570 reported in mid April of last year by Zooknic.com (another firm that tracks domain trends). Companies and individuals have been pouring online at a phenomenal rate as they realize a web address is just as essential as a business card in today's web-powered world. 

As fast as the gTLDs are growing, individual country code domains (ccTLDs), like .de (Germany), .co.uk (United Kingdom) and .us (United States) are rising even faster. Last fall a ZDNet.com report quoted Verisign statistics that showed ccTLD's now represented 39% of all domain registrations. On April 22 the .de registry, Denic.de reported over 8.6 million .de registrations, the most of any country and second worldwide only to .com. Total registrations including both gTLDs and ccTLD's shot past 65 million by the start of 2005.

.Com remains the runaway registration leader and despite losing a bit of market share to the new gTLDs (.info and .biz), registration numbers for the reigning king still jumped 31% in the past year. As you can see in the table below, all five extensions enjoyed very healthy increases from where they stood in April 2004:

 

TLD

Registrations as of April 22, 2005

Pct. Increase 
From 1 Yr Ago
.COM 36,324,998 31%
.NET

5,677,484

24%
.ORG 3,522,493 22%
.INFO

3,477,860

203%
.BIZ 1,138,924 18%
TOTAL 50,141,759 34%
Source: www.Whois.sc

 


.Info’s 203% increase obviously stands out in the statistics above, however that extension's gains were skewed tremendously by the registry giving away over 2 million free registrations in a promotional move to boost .info recognition (some registrars passed the free domains on to their customers while others charged a nominal fee). Even so, if you subtract those two million registrations from the current 50 million total, overall gTLD registrations still would have jumped nearly 30% in the past year. That rate of increase would be 10 points higher than the 20% jump recorded between April 2003 and April 2004. This is solid evidence of an online flood that is growing in strength as new users flock to the web.

In the table below you can see the percentage change in total registrations as well as individual extensions year over year since Jan. 1, 2000.


Percentage Increases in Registrations From Previous Years

DATE  .COM .NET .ORG .INFO .BIZ TOTAL
4/22/05 31% 24% 22% 203% 18% 34%
4/14/04 22% 20% 15% 7% 7% 20%
4/15/03 6% 3% 6% 36% 44% 7%
4/14/2002 -4% -14% -13% 0 0 -1%
4/18/2001 179% 253% 251% 0 0 194%
1/1/2000 134% 366% 124% 0 0 148%



The huge percentage increases you see in total registrations in 2000 and 2001 occurred during the first domain registration boom that ended with the bursting of a speculative ecommerce bubble. Only 4 million gTLD domains had been registered in Jan. 1999. One year later the number had soared to more than 10 million and by the spring of 2001 an enormous wave of registrations had pushed the figure to more than 29 million. But then things went south, with the number of active registrations actually falling briefly from 2001 to 2002 before resuming an upward ascent that has continued to gain momentum for the past 3 years. The table below shows the registration numbers for each of the gTLDs since Jan, 1, 1999 (.info and .biz were not introduced until the fall of 2001):


Number of Registrations 

Date  .COM .NET .ORG .INFO .BIZ TOTAL
4/22/05 36,324,998 5,677,484 3,522,493 3,477,860 1,138,924 50,141,759
4/14/04 27,796,613 4,580,960 2,898,591 1,149,293 966,113 37,391,570
4/15/03 22,832,760 3,807,467 2,523,473 1,078,555 900,758 31,143,013
4/14/2002 21,581,810 3,710,409 2,372,801 791,551 624,743 29,081,314
4/18/2001 22,374,229 4,293,519 2,734,719 0 0 29,402,467
1/1/2000 8,006,100 1,216,750 779,950 0 0 10,002,800
1/1/1999 3,425,625 261,375 347,550 0 0 4,034,550
Source: Zooknic.com (number of existing domains + new registrations - expired domains)


When .info and .biz arrived on the scene their older siblings, .com, .net and .org each gave up a small piece of their market share to the newcomers. On New Year’s Day 2000, with only three options available to domain registrants, .com had 80% of all registrations. Today with two more global options, the .com share has dropped to it’s lowest share of the gTLD market to date – 72.4%, a loss of 7.6%. .Net has slipped by just over 1% and .org by just under 1%. 

The higher percentage decline for .com is understandable. With 6 times more registrations than .net and over 10 times more than .org, .com has considerably more excess weight to shed. In addition, with almost every good word or term already taken in .com, buyers either have to pony up a higher price or look to the other extensions to get the word/term they want.  Also, .com would have given up less share if .info had not made such a large gain by giving away registrations. The table below shows the year over year market shares for each gTLD.  


Market Share of Global TLD's for Each Extension 

Date  .COM .NET .ORG .INFO .BIZ TOTAL
4/22/05 72.4% 11.3% 7.0% 7.0% 2.3% 100%
4/14/04 74.3% 12.3% 7.8% 3.1% 2.6% 100%
4/15/03 73.3% 12.2% 8.1% 3.5% 2.9% 100%
4/14/2002 74.2% 12.8% 8.2% 2.7% 2.1% 100%
4/18/2001 76.1% 14.6% 9.3% 0 0 100%
1/1/2000 80.0% 12.2% 7.8% 0 0 100%
1/1/1999 84.9% 6.5% 8.6% 0 0 100%



No matter how you slice and dice the data, there is no denying that the domain market is in the midst of a powerful boom. Though no one can tell what the future holds, the chart below shows that if this year's 30% growth rate continues, the number of gTLD registrations would double to 100 million in less than 3 years. Here is a peak at what the future might hold depending on how quickly new users realize a web presence is an indispensable asset in modern society:


5-Year Projection of gTLD Registration Totals At Selected Annual Growth Rates
Date 30% Growth 25% Growth 20% Growth 15% Growth
4/22/05 50,000,000 50,000,000 50,000,000 50,000,000
4/22/06         65,000,000     62,500,000       60,000,000        57,500,000
4/22/07         84,500,000     78,125,000       72,000,000        66,125,000
4/22/08       109,850,000     97,656,250       86,400,000        76,043,750
4/22/09       142,805,000    122,070,313      103,680,000        87,450,313
4/22/10 185,646,500 152,587,891 124,416,000 100,567,859
 

      185,646,500

   152,587,891

     124,416,000

     100,567,859



Editor's Note: Ron Jackson is Editor/Publisher of DNJournal.com. Richard Meyer of American Marketing/DotCom Group is a veteran domainer who did most of the research for this article.

 

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