The new gTLD universe passed 12 million domains for the first time today, according to zone files.
Today, we counted 12,001,346 domains across all the 2012-round gTLD zones, up by just under 60,000 names on the day.
Over 50,000 of the new names were split fairly evenly between .xyz and .club, which seem to be the beneficiaries of a domainer surge that’s been going on for the last four days.
As of today, .club has overtaken .wang to be the third-largest zone, with 638,565 names.
It’s taken less than one month for the new gTLDs to add their latest million names.
Our total zone file count topped 11 million on January 12.
.xyz alone has added over 380,000 names since then; .club another 90,000. Most of that growth has come in the last seven days.
Second-placed budget Chinese-run gTLD .top has added over 95,000 names in the last 30 days.
Zone files don’t take account of domains that are registered but don’t have name servers, so the actual number of registered names will be slightly higher.
The .xyz gTLD at the weekend became the first new gTLD to pass the two million domains mark, as it experiences ridiculously fast growth.
Its zone file has grown by 274,315 domains in the last seven days, hitting 2,092,346 yesterday.
It added 130,000 names on Saturday alone.
That’s the kind of growth more usually associated with .com, and pre-2012 new TLD launch periods.
It’s reasonable to assume that the majority of these names are being registered for investment purposes. It seems Chinese registrars processed much of the spike.
But XYZ.com isn’t the only registry that saw a big spike over the weekend.
.CLUB Domains’ .club added almost 44,000 names to its zone between Saturday and Monday. Its usual daily add rate is around the 1,000 mark.
Having just finished the most-successful new gTLD launch day to date, Radix Registry reckons it can get .online to seven figures in two to three years.
“We’re at 37,170 names as of an hour ago,” Radix CEO Bhavin Turakhia told DI at about 1000 UTC this morning.
That represents less than a full day of general availability. The company said last night that 28,000 names were registered in the first 30 minutes.
UPDATE: At the 24-hour mark, Radix tweeted this:
— Radix (@RadixRegistry) August 27, 2015
That beats .club’s 25,000-ish, which was Radix’s publicly stated goal, but it also tops .berlin’s 31,000 first-day names.
The CEOs of both these rival registries had publicly predicted their positions would be toppled and actively encouraged Radix to claim the crown.
Turakhia said that the majority of names registered came from pre-orders, largely at 1&1.
“Fourteen thousand names came from 1&1, 6,000 from Go Daddy, 2,700 from United Domains, 1,900 from Name.com and 1,400 from Tucows,” he said, partially breaking down the 37,170 figure by registrar.
He said the goal is to have a .online zone measured in the millions of names.
“I estimate that we should be able to get to a million names in a period of two to three years,” he said. “That’s on a conservative basis.”
Depending on how you count domains, .xyz may have already been the first to hit one million. Its zone never got as high as a million names, but it may have briefly crossed a million in terms of domains under management earlier this year.
At auction, .online sold for what is believed to be an eight-figure sum, originally to a joint venture of Radix, Tucows and Namecheap.
Radix bought out its partners earlier this year.
That was an increase in risk exposure Radix business head Sandeep Ramchandani said made him nervous. He said launch day’s numbers show .online’s potential.
Turahkhia said that there are 680,000 names in the .com zone that end in “online” today, and a million that have “online” somewhere in the second level, showing that the string is desirable to registrants.
Radix said last night that its Early Access Period — during which names are sold for a higher price — ended with 1,130 sales.
Turahkhia said that of these, about 1,000 were registered in the last three days, during which time the price was $100. Regular .online pricing is around the same as .com ($14.99 at 1&1 and Go Daddy), but some registrars are selling for as much at $50.
ICM Registry president Stuart Lawley may be just weeks away from launching his second and third gTLD registries, but that doesn’t mean he has a positive outlook on new gTLDs in general.
“I think people need to wake up,” he told DI in a recent interview. “If you do the math on some of these numbers and prospective numbers, it just doesn’t stack up for a profitable business.”
“The new ‘Well Done!’ number seems to be a lot less than it was six months ago or 12 months ago,” he said.
Lawley said he’s among the most “bearish” in the industry when it comes to new gTLD prospects. And that goes for ICM’s own .porn, .sex and .adult, which are due to launch between March and September this year.
While he’s sure they’ll be profitable, and very bullish on the search engine optimization benefits that he says registrants could be able to achieve, he’s cautious about what kind of registration volumes can be expected. He said:
If you add up everybody that has ever bought a .xxx name, including the Sunrise B defensives, we have got a target market of about 250,000 names. People to go back to and say, “Look, you still have a .xxx or you had a .xxx at some stage. Therefore, we think you may be interested in buying .porn, .sex or .adult for exactly the same reasons.”
So, our expectations to sell to a whole new market outside of those quarter of a million names is probably quite limited.
Lawley said that he believes that the relatively poor volume performance of most new gTLDs over the last year will cause many registrars to question whether it’s worth their time and money to offer them.
I can see why registrars can’t be bothered. How many of these am I going to sell? Am I going to sell two hundred of them? Am I going to make five dollars per name? That’s one thousand dollars. It’s not worth it to me to put in ten thousand dollars worth of labor and effort to make one thousand dollars in revenue. So, I think that’s a challenge that many of the small lone player TLDs may face.
Lawley said he’s skeptical about the ability of major portfolio players, such as Donuts, to effectively market their hundreds of gTLDs, many of which are targeted at niche vertical markets.
He said in an ideal world a gTLD would need to spend $20 million to $30 million a year for a few years in order to do a proper PR job on a single TLD — ICM spent about $8 million to $9 million, $5.5 million of which was on US TV spots — and that’s just not economically viable given how many names are being sold.
But he added that he thinks it’s a good thing that some new gTLDs are seeing a steady and fairly linear number of daily additions, saying it might point to better long-term stability.
A lot of the TLDs that seem to be doing okay — .club for argument’s sake and several others in that ilk — seem to be doing their three hundred domains per day ADD, or 32 or 12 or whatever the number is, in a relatively linear fashion six or seven months after launch, which I think is potentially positive if one extrapolates that out.
.CLUB Domains has honored the $10.99 registration of credit.club, a premium domain it had hoped to sell for a record-busting $200,000.
The registry this week said it would allow registrant Bruce Marler to keep hold of the domain he bought at the base registration fee, even though it was due to be sold as a premium with an asking price above the previously record price for a .club name.
Marler acquired the name January 14, the day wine.club sold for $140,000 at NamesCon, for a reported $10.99 via Name.com. He’s since launched a basic web site there, though he made his intention to sell the domain clear in an email exchange with DomainGang.
.CLUB CEO Colin Campbell told DI: “It was listed for 200,000 on StartUp.club.”
StartUp.club is the company’s recently launched site for selling premium .club domains, many for six-figure sums.
A registry screw-up seems to be to blame for the sale.
Judging by a a post on NamePros by Campbell, the company was in the process of transferring 130 premium .club names from a registry-reserved status to its own ownership.
During the 26-hour period the domain was unreserved and available, Marler grabbed it.
Campbell said that the contracts between Name.com, itself, and the registrant would allow it to reclaim the domain, but said:
The registry does not believe it is in our best interest nor the best interest of the registrant to pull the name back given the substantial investment in time and money he has invested to launch credit.club. I informed the registrant of such matters and wish him a continued success.
While domainers are obviously lauding the decision as an example of registries owning — and paying for — their technological mistakes, I can’t help but wonder whether this was an economically sound decision.
The registry has certainly won brownie points in the investor community, it’s also lost a potential $200,000 sale.
Marler, by his own admission, intends to sell on the domain. While the domain hosts content today, it may not wind up being the kind of flagship, big-ticket anchor tenant that new gTLD registries need.
UPDATE: Marler, in the comments below, says he feels morally obliged to develop the site.