The massive slump in Chinese domain name registrations appears to have hit the overall domain name market significantly in the first quarter 2010, slowing its growth.
According to the latest VeriSign Domain Name Industry Brief, only one million net new domains were registered across all TLDs in the period, a paltry 0.6% increase.
There were about 193 million domains active at the end of March, up from 192 million at the start of the year.
A million might seem like a lot, until you consider that the market grew by 11 million domains in the fourth quarter and by three million in the first quarter of 2009.
The slump is certainly due to the rapid decline in .cn domains.
China’s ccTLD had about 13.4 million names at the end of last year, and only 8.8 million at the end of March. April’s numbers show the decline continued, with 8.5 million names registered.
The China drag has been caused by a combination of pricing and the Draconian new identification requirements the communist government placed on the registry, CNNIC.
Chinese registrants now have to present photo ID before they can register a domain.
VeriSign’s own .com/.net business did a decent trade in the quarter, up 7% compared to the same quarter last and 2.7% on December to 99.3 million names in total.
With registrations growing by 2.7 million per month, this means VeriSign already has more than 100 million names in its com/net database.