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Domain industry SHRINKS again… except of course it doesn’t

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2021, 16:59:21 (UTC), Domain Registries

Verisign has published its latest Domain Name Industry Brief, once again showing growth numbers thrown off wildly by a single factor.

The second quarter closed with 367.3 million registrations across all TLDs, down by 2.8 million over the same point last year, the DNIB states.

But the entirety of that decline can be attributed to a single TLD. It’s Tokelau again!

.tk was down by 2.8 million domains compared to the year-ago quarter also. This decline was first recorded by Verisign in the fourth quarter last year, where it had a similarly depressing effect on the overall picture.

The ccTLD is operated by Dutch company Freenom, which gives away most of its domains for free, often on a monthly basis, and monetizes residual traffic whenever a name expires or is suspended for abuse.

It’s quite possible that most of its names are registry-owned, so it’s in Freenom’s discretion to keep hold of its entire inventory or periodically purge its database, which may be what happened in Q4.

It’s debatable, in other words, whether .tk’s numbers is really any reflection or guide on the rest of the domain name industry. To it’s credit, Verisign breaks out the non-.tk numbers separately.

The DNIB reports a rosier quarterly growth comparison — total internet-wide regs were up by 3.8 million names, or 1.0%.

The company’s own .com did well, growing by 2.4 million names to end June at 157 million. Even .net did better than usual, adding a net of a couple hundred thousand names, to 13.6 million.

All the top 10 ccTLDs were flat sequentially after rounding, with the exception of Brazil’s .br, which was up by 200,000 names.

Total ccTLD regs were 157.7 million, up 1.2 million sequentially but down 2.4 million year-over year. Factoring out .tk, the increases were 1.2 million and 400,000 respectively.

The second quarter of last year was a bit of a boom time for many registries due largely to the lockdown bump, which saw businesses in many countries rush to get online to survive pandemic restrictions.

Tokelau can not be blamed for the whopping 8.8 million decline in new gTLD registrations between the Junes, of course.

About six million of the plummet can be blamed on heavily discounted .icu, which saw its first junk drop begin about a year ago, and another two million seem to be attributable to .top.

Quarterly, the picture was a little brighter — Verisign says new gTLDs were up by under 100,000 compared to Q1 at 22.9 million.

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Comments (6)

  1. kimmy says:

    Verisign has tremendous growth in .com, why in the world are they allowed to raise prices yearly!? It is such a racket that this company gets to tax the internet like this with no repercussions. Who gave them all the control? When will .com be put out to a competitive bid? Far too many registries exist today that can do the job for half the price with equal uptime. Just look at .org for example.

    • Owen says:

      Here are some answers to your questions:

      >> Verisign has tremendous growth in .com, why in the world are they allowed to raise prices yearly!?

      ICANN and Verisign amended the .com contract in 2020, and despite many comments protesting, it was adopted.

      >> It is such a racket that this company gets to tax the internet like this with no repercussions. Who gave them all the control?

      First the US government and then ICANN.

      >> When will .com be put out to a competitive bid?

      When pigs fly.

  2. Snoopy says:

    New TLDs are collapsing, the numbers are so bad that it is bring down the numbers for the entire industry.

    • Ethan says:

      Please read the post carefully. The numbers are caused by not refreshing the heavily discounted registrations such as .icu and .top, not by so-called “collapsing”.

    • Adrian Kinderis says:

      Such an ignorant comment. The facts don’t match your rhetoric. Maybe have a look at a few of the consolidation sales lately. “Collapsing”? Pffffttt. Got much money invested in .com’s by chance?

Leave a Reply to Snoopy