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Verisign: 41% of new gTLD sites are parked

Kevin Murphy, August 13, 2014, 09:42:57 (UTC), Domain Registries

As much as 41% of domains registered in new gTLDs are parked with pay-per-click advertising, according to research carried out by Verisign.

That works out to over 540,000 domains, judging by the 1.3 million total I have on record from June 29, the day Verisign carried out the survey.

Domains classified as carrying “business” web sites — defined as “a website that shows commercial activity” — accounted for just 3% of the total, according to Verisign.

There are some big caveats, of course, not least of which is .xyz, which tends to skew any surveys based on “registered” names appearing in the zone file. Verisign noted:

XYZ.COM LLC (.xyz) has a high concentration of PPC websites as a result of a campaign that reportedly automatically registered XYZ domains to domain registrants in other TLDs unless they opted out of receiving the free domain name. After registration, these free names forward to a PPC site unless reconfigured by the end user registrant.

On June 29, .xyz had 225,159 domains in its zone file. I estimate somewhat over 200,000 of those names were most likely freebies and most likely parked.

The practice of registry parking, carried out most aggressively by Uniregistry and its affiliate North Sound, also threw off Verisign’s numbers.

Whereas most new gTLD registries reserve their premium names without adding them to the zone files, Uniregistry registers them via North Sound to park and promote them.

Tens of thousands of names have been registered in this way.

Coupled with the .xyz effect, this leads me to conclude that the number of domains registered by real registrants and parked with PPC is probably close to half of Verisign’s number.

That’s still one out of every five domains in new gTLDs, however.

Judging by a chart on Verisign’s blog, .photography appears to have the highest percentage of “business” use among the top 10 new gTLDs so far.

Verisign also found that 10% of the names it scanned redirect to a different domain. It classified these as redirects, rather than according to the content of their final destination.

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Comments (1)

  1. Donuts Inc. says:

    From Verisign’s latest earnings call:

    Gray Powell – Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division
    And then just one more, if I may, and I hope this one isn’t too specific. Do you have a sense as to the percentage of .com domains that are either parked or owned by speculators?

    D. James Bidzos – Founder, Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
    We don’t have that number with any accuracy. I’m not sure that we — I mean, we may have — I’m not sure how we reported that number you’re referring to. It would be speculative, anyway. I mean, I can — it’s a very difficult number to arrive at. So I’ll give you one very brief example of why you have to be very careful about those numbers. I own a couple of domains, very few, just a handful. I’m not a domain speculator by any means, but I do own a couple of domains that are not active. I don’t do anything with them. And I’ve registered 1 with 1 registrar, and I’ve registered 2 with a different registrar. Registrar A has a policy that allows them to park my domain because it’s not active and to post ads to that. And so anybody who’s out there crawling the Web, trying to assess what that domain name is would very quickly conclude, based on its characteristics, that the owner is a domain speculator. And I am absolutely not a domain speculator. The other registrar that I have domains registered through has a policy that does not allow that. And so maybe you’ll get a more accurate accounting for that one. So it’s very, very difficult there. Lots of individuals who have purchased domains, their family name, as in my case, or other domains, that they just aren’t doing anything with at this moment. And depending on who they’re registered through, they very much look like they’re owned by domain speculators. So if you do see any statistics like that, I think you have to be very, very careful about them. It’s a very tricky thing to assess.

    Indeed, a very tricky thing to assess, so perhaps Verisign should take care with its claims about TLDs not its own.

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