The controversial new gTLD .xyz is now officially the biggest, with 67,504 domains under management.
That’s according to today’s zone files, which see former number ones .club at 65,630 and .guru at 60,480.
Due to what appears to be an ICANN screw-up, there were no zone files available for any new gTLDs via the Centralized Zone Data Service yesterday, so I can’t tell you what the daily growth numbers are.
But .xyz had 36,335 names in its zone on Wednesday. It’s grown by 85% in two days.
That’s a shocking, unprecedented growth spurt.
The question is, of course, how many of these registrations are legit?
.xyz has come under a great deal of fire from domainers the last few days, after it emerged that the majority of its growth in the first days of general availability was questionable.
Network Solutions, it transpired, had seriously inflated .xyz’s numbers by registering .xyz names matching existing .coms on behalf of its customers without their permission and for no charge.
NetSol seems to have paid .xyz a few hundred thousand dollars for domain names its customers have not requested.
Data from today’s .xyz zone file is likely to reinforce the perception that most of .xyz’s apparent popularity is bogus.
I see that 56,019 domain names in .xyz today — 82% of the gTLD’s total — are using register.com name servers.
Those name servers belong to Web.com, NetSol’s parent company.
There were 27,000 such names on Wednesday. While .xyz as a whole has grown by about 31,000 names in two days, NetSol’s .xyz share has grown by about 29,000 names.
Nobody believes that NetSol, with its $40 retail price for .xyz (with a wholesale price I peg at around $6 to $7), could have obtained this market share with actual, paid-for sales.
I believe that the large majority of NetSol’s roughly 56,000 .xyz names are freebies, not reflective of buyer demand.
Many domainers are incandescent about this.
They look to registration numbers as a measurement of demand, which could be a predictor of the resale market for a TLD, so they’re upset at anything that looks like a manipulation of that number.
Daniel Negari, the charismatic CEO of .xyz, has borne the brunt of this criticism, despite the fact that there’s no evidence out there yet that .xyz supported or had prior knowledge NetSol’s mass giveaway.
Negari has so far refused to comment on the situation (he hasn’t responded to several inquiries from yours truly), which has only served to reinforce the suspicion that the registry was somehow complicit in NetSol’s promotion and used the registrar to artificially inflate its numbers.
I have no evidence one way or the other.
NetSol refused to even confirm the existence of the promotion when DI inquired earlier this week.