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Domain universe grows almost 1% in 2017 despite new gTLD slump

Kevin Murphy, February 16, 2018, 13:48:57 (UTC), Domain Registries

The total number of registered domain names in all TLDs was up 0.9% in 2017, despite a third-quarter dip, according to the latest data compiled by Verisign.

The latest Domain Name Industry Brief, published yesterday, shows that there were 332.4 million domains registered at the end of the year.

That’s up by 1.7 million names (0.5%) on the third quarter and up 3.1 million names (0.9%) on 2016.

Growth is growth, but when you consider that 2015-2016 growth was 6.8%, under 1% appears feeble.

The drag factors in 2017 were of course the 2012-round new gTLDs and Verisign’s own .net, offset by increases in .com and ccTLDs.

New gTLD domains were 20.6 million at the end of the year, down by about 500,000 compared to the third quarter and five million names compared to 2016.

As a percentage of overall registrations, new gTLDs dropped from 7.8% at the end of 2016 to 6.2%.

The top 10 new gTLDs now account for under 50% of new gTLD regs for the first time.

The numbers were primarily affected by big declines in high-volume spaces such as .xyz, which caused the domain universe to actually shrink in Q3.

Verisign’s own .com fared better, as usual, with .net suffering a decline.

The year ended with 131.9 million .com names, up by five million names on the year, exactly offsetting the shrinkage in new gTLDs.

But .net ended up with 14.5 million names, a 800,000 drop on 2016.

In the ccTLD world, total regs were up 1.4 million (1%) quarterly and 3.4 million (2.4%) annually.

Excluding wild-card ccTLD .tk, which never deletes domains and for which data for 2017 was not available to Verisign, the growth was a more modest 0.7 million (0.5%) quarterly and 2.3 million (1.8%) annually.

The DNIB report for Q4 2017 can be downloaded here (pdf).

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Comments (2)

  1. Brad W. says:

    It’s hard to draw conclusions from a momentary snapshots such as this, however several large dynamics are skewing the numbers. Verisign has been pushing hard on marketing rebates to drive .com and .net growth offering Godaddy and other large registrars very high volume discounts to drive growth. There earnings show deep discounts being given. New GTLD names which initially went from zero to tens of millions of registrations are retracting as free names and rebates run out. Both dynamics will play out and then reverse again over time as new GTLDs discount again and innovate and grow while the discounted .com net and other names delete. In the very long run market forces dictate that all new names will equilibrealize against com net and even more so as Round 2 TLDs come onstream. Expect .com and net will to retreat to 40-50% of all names registered within 10-15 years.

  2. Myron says:

    gtlds suck so bad. that’s all i have to say. thanks for listening.

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