Continued growth sees global domain name count top 330 million

Worldwide, the total number of domain names continues to rise. By 1 April, the figure had reached 333 million. That's the headline from the latest Global TLD Report published by the industry's umbrella organisation CENTR. The report covers the period 1 April 2017 to 1 April 2018. Despite the overall growth, the market for gTLDs (.com, .org, etc) looks increasingly volatile. It was only because of .com that the gTLD market recorded growth in the report period. The number of ccTLDs – domains linked to countries, such as .nl – grew steadily, but there were big differences between regions.

ccTLDs: stark regional differences

Over the year, the European market expanded by 3.6 per cent. That was better than expected, mainly because the number of cancellations was well down on the predicted figure. Notably, Europe's ccTLDs out-performed their Asian counterparts and matched America, where the market penetration is much lower. With growth of 16.2 per cent, Africa was the only region where expansion outpaced Europe's. However, the African market is a lot smaller than the European market, with just 3.3 million registered domain names compared with 72 million.

Volatility on the gTLD market

.com continues to drive overall gTLD growth. The domain's 4.1 per cent growth was well above the market norm. In fact, without .com, the global gTLD market would actually have contracted. The performance of the new gTLDs (nTLDs) launched since 2012 was patchy. More than a third of all nTLDs contracted in the report period. As one of the growers in this category, .amsterdam did relatively well.

Prospects

CENTR doesn't comment on the prospects for the market. However, it doesn't bode well that the market remains very dependent on the growth of .com, despite the introduction of a thousand-plus new TLDs. Clearly, the nTLD programme's effect on the market currently remains modest.

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