Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began accepting applications for new custom top-level domains (TLDs) on January 12. While the new TLDs are cost-prohibitive to small businesses — $185,000 each — the domain landscape is about to change dramatically. The application window closes on April 12, 2012. We've described the new custom TLDs here previously, in "New Custom, Top-Level Domains Coming."
Before undergoing this radical change, let’s take a look at where TLDs are now. In December, domain registry Verisign issued a report summarizing the current count of TLDs, through the third quarter of 2011.
Total Domain Registrations
The third quarter of 2011 closed with nearly 220 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains, both generic and country code. This was an increase of 4.9 million domains, or 2.3 percent, over the second quarter. Since the third quarter of 2010, registrations have grown by more that 18 million, or 8.9 percent.
Domain registrations have grown 8.9 percent since the third quarter of 2010. The largest TLDs were, in order, as follows.
- .de (Germany)
- .uk (United Kingdom)
- .tk (Tokelau)
- .nl (Netherlands)
- .ru (Russian Federation)
- .eu (European Union)
The .com and .net TLDs reached 112 million domains in Q3 2011. There was a 2.3 percent decrease in new registrations since the second quarter, but year-over-year registrations have increased by 5.9 percent, as shown in the graphic below.
Country Code TLD Breakdown
Among the twenty largest country code TLDs, Brazil, Australia, the New Zealand territory of Tokelau, and the Russian Federation each exceeded 4 percent quarter-over-quarter growth.
The country code TLDs reached a total of 86.9 million, a 2.3 million increase, or 2.7 percent, from the previous quarter. Of the more than 240 country code TLDs, the top 10 comprise 60 percent of all registrations.
.com/.net Renewal Rates
The .com and .net TLDs reached 112 million names, a 1.8 percent increase from the previous quarter.
New Generic TLD Program
While it is impossible to forecast the impact of the new custom TLDs, understanding their categories will be critical to navigating the new domain landscape. The new custom TLDs will be composed of brands, communities, geographic locations, industries, interests, specific services, as well as internationalized TLDs in non-Latin scripts. Once the application window closes and ICANN posts the strings for which applications have been filed, we can begin to assess this altered landscape.