VeriSign Report Highlights Domain Growth

VeriSign’s quarterly domain name report indicates that with more than 63 million registered domain names, the Internet’s .com and .net top level domain (TLD) names are at an all-time high.

At the same time, the number of domain names that are actually connected to working Web sites is also on the upswing, with domain registration businesses benefiting from a growing world demand for the Internet locales.

“Though North America has the highest number of Internet users as a percentage of its population — some 55 percent — increasing Internet traffic is a reflection of a fast-growing group of Internet users around the world,” said VeriSign’s Naming and Directory Services executive vice president Rusty Lewis in a statement.

Record Registrations

While it said overall trends in growth, use and globalization fall in line with previous quarterly domain name reports, VeriSign indicated that the 4.7 million new domain name registrations last quarter helped set a record for the most names ever registered.

VeriSign said the 63 million registered domain names represented one domain name for “every 100 people living in the world today.”

VeriSign said that there were records set for new registrations, renewals and the overall number of names under registration, surpassing even the number of domain names registered during the Internet “bubble.”

Getting Real

VeriSign also said the larger base of domain names is being used more actively than ever before as measured by renewal rates, look-up rates, and the percentage of domain names tied to live sites.

The domain registry giant reported that while only 55 percent of domain names resolved to a Web site at the height of the Internet boom in December 2002, more than 72 percent of today’s domain names resolve to working sites.

Afilias, a registry company that oversees the .info TLD, has a similar percentage of 70 percent of its registered sites that are “active sites,” including parked, password-protected, redirected and dedicated sites, company spokesperson Heather Carle told TechNewsWorld.

“That indicates to us that over the last three years, domain name registration in a speculative sense is starting to subside,” Carle said.

Going Worldwide

Carle also echoed VeriSign’s report when she said that much of Afilias’ .info business has gone to European customers, with more than half of the business from Europe and, in particular, nearly a quarter of it from Germany.

VeiSign said country code TLDs — or ccTLDs for short — are accounting for a growing portion of overall domain names and now represent 40 percent of all domain names registered worldwide.

In addition to the success of country-based TLDs such as .de for Germany and .uk for the UK, VeriSign said several countries around the world are launching internationalized domain names (IDNs), which are also known as multilingual domains. These allow for the use of domain names written in non-ASCII character sets.

VeriSign’s Lewis indicated that the numbers are a harbinger of even more explosive world Internet growth to come. “For instance, 223 million people in Asia and 173 million people in Europe currently use the Internet on a regular basis, compared with around 175 million in North America,” he said.

“But those Internet users represent only 6 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of the total populations of Asia and Europe.”

Speculative Use of Domains

VeriSign spokesperson Patrick Burns agreed that the “speculative use” of domain names had diminished. “That aspect is gone, but real Internet use is rising dramatically,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Burns said that on the basis of 11 billion queries per day against the .com and .netdomain names, there is no doubt that usage and numbers of names will continue to climb steadily.

The quarterly report from VeriSign, released for the second time from the company this week, is meant to educate the industry and provide “a snapshot of what’s going on,” Burns said.

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