New gTLD review – April 2016

Stuart Fuller

It appears that, based on the past two months of new gTLD registrations, the registration temperature is cooling slightly, with month-on-month registrations down for a second consecutive month. The total for the whole program broke through the 17 million mark on 23 April, whilst growth during the month was still an impressive 722,000 (1.17m in March). This may be down to the slow progress of the number of gTLDs being launched, as well as the second renewal phase of a number of the original launches back in 2014. China still leads the way in terms of country of origin of the registrants, with 54%, and Chengdu West Dimension Digital is still the biggest registrar, with just over 4.2 million (25%) of all new gTLDs registered; growth of around 100,000 domain names during the month.

The top ten most-registered gTLDs is still headed by dotXYZ (2.81m registrations by end of April), which added around 70,000 new names to its zone; approximate growth of 4% in the month. There has been very little change in the rest of the top 10, with dotTop, dotWang, dotWin and dotClub still taking up the top five registered, with dotTop once again the fastest-growing TLD in the month. As of the end of March, the fastest-growing gTLDs on a week-by-week basis are:

1st – Top – 8,054 per week
2nd – XYZ – 3,117 per week
3rd – Online – 1,253 per week
4th – Review – 936 per week
5th – Site – 918 per week

Only two registry agreements were signed in April by ICANN, but they could be two of the most popular generic TLDs to be launched – certainly this year if not in the program as a whole. Lifestyle Domain Holdings signed its agreement for dotFood, whilst GMO Networks signed the agreement for dotShop, which it bought earlier this year for over $41 million. Nearly 93% of all TLDs now have signed registry agreements, with less than 100 still to go.

Ten gTLDs were delegated during the month, including two belonging to one of the most familiar names on the UK high street: Next Plc (dotNext and dotNextDirect), whilst Olayan Investments Company saw three of its TLDs, including the IDN for Olayan added to the root zone of the Internet. There was also some horse-trading between registries, with Donuts swapping its dotGame TLD for Uniregistry’s dotShopping. Close to 1,000 TLDs are now classed as operational, but less than half have actually launched their sunrise periods, which is a cause for concern for ICANN.

Four new gTLDs launched their Sunrise period in April. Two (dotLtd and dotGMBH) were launched by Donuts after a relatively quiet few months, whilst Dominion added to its transport-themed TLDs with the launch of dotMotorcycles. The most popular TLD launch, though, was Radix’s dotStore. The duo of dotIst and DotIstanbul launched their landrush period in April after recording Sunrise registrations of around 600 each.

In terms of TLDs passing into General Availability, Dominion’s nautical-flavored dotBoats and dotYachts finished the month with around 100 registrations each, whilst the two geographic IDNs (dot佛山, meaning ‘The city of Foshan’, and dot广东, meaning ‘The city of Guangdong’) also launched.

May will see dotGame enter Sunrise, as well as the highly anticipated dotInsurance launch, whilst dotHomes may prove to be the most popular TLD entering General Availability.

In terms of the most popular gTLDs, there have been a few changes in the top ten websites as ranked by Alexa, although (a Korean-language project-resourcing website) has returned to the summit of the Alexa top 100,000 new gTLD sites, relegating last month’s most popular website,, down to third. There are a total of 964 domain names within the Alexa 100,000 (up from 783 last month), with dotPics now jointly the most popular TLD on the list, with 125 registrations (up by 30 from last month), followed by dotClub (77) and dotOnline (64).

The few dotBrands that have launched have consolidated their position within the Alexa top 1 million, with, banco.brandesco and leading the way both for the financial sector and for dotBrands everywhere – both increasing their rankings in the past four weeks. Sandvik, which launched its dotSandvik TLD in February, has already risen to the top of the Google rankings under the key company search term.