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New gTLDs pummel .net below 15 million domains

Kevin Murphy, January 2, 2015, 09:41:01 (UTC), Domain Registries

Verisign’s .net gTLD has had a disappointing start to 2015, as its zone file dipped below 15 million domains for the first time since achieving the milestone.

As of last night, .net had 14,998,404 names in its zone, a daily dip of over 10,000 domains.

That’s down by about 200,000 names from the roughly 15.2 million it had in March 2014, the earliest count for which I have records.

The gTLD first passed 15 million in August 2013, according to a celebratory blog post at the time.

Verisign has previously blamed the “confusion” created by the launch of new gTLDs for the decline, which was inexorable in 2014.

In October, CEO James Bidzos told financial analysts that “.net may be more susceptible to that confusion that swirls around new gTLDs.”

My similar view is that the existence of new gTLDs is causing people to wake up to the fact that defensive or shopping cart up-sell .net registrations are now superfluous, and that the days of .net riding on big brother .com’s coat-tails may be numbered.

There are still about 31,000 dark .net domains — registered names not present in its zone file — according to Verisign.

At the end of August 2014, .net had 15,569,398 registered names, according to the most recent available ICANN registry report.

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Comments (3)

  1. Seb says:

    .Net registration numbers could have remained steady if Verisign did the right choice.

    The solution to face more inventory was to decrease price, not increase it by a huge 10% on February 15.

    This is a short sighted immediate profit that destroys Customer base and ruins long term profits.

    Bad management and throwing in the towel with .NET without even fighting if you ask me.

  2. Nuno says:

    Exactly … .net is harder to sell and they raise prices like that? I’ll continue dropping.

  3. John Berard says:

    Kevin,

    Any name, regardless of registry, that does not offer a necessary element of description (from coke.com to rays.pizza and beyond) and remains only a destination will likely get a hard look from their domain name portfolio manager.

    If the new gTLDs have done one thing, they have alerted us all to the value of a descriptive URL. This has been a guiding principle of corporate naming consultancies since the founding of that business.

    Your name ought to provide the market some direction. With the new gTLDs, that is again possible on the Internet.

    Happy New Year!

    Berard

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