After a couple of months of explosive new gTLD growth, July saw one of the slowest months of registrations in the past year, with only 248,000 domain names added to the total – less than 10% of the total registered in the previous month. With few price promotions, only a small number of new gTLDs launched, and the holiday season starting in earnest across the Northern Hemisphere, it seemed that those of us still working in the domain name world were few and far between.
The growth of the program is still being fueled by domain speculation and investment out of China, where just over 46% of all registrants live, whilst over 18% of all registrations sit behind a privacy/proxy shield.
The top ten most registered gTLDs is still headed by dotXYZ (almost static at 6.44m registrations by end of July), whilst dotTop saw the biggest growth in the month, adding around 300,000 new registrations to consolidate its position as the second most registered new gTLD. The rest of the top five (dotTop, dotWang, dotWin and dotClub) hasn’t changed for another month. As of the end of July, the fastest-growing gTLDs on a week-by-week basis* are:
1st – Top – 12,404 domain name registrations
2nd – Win – 1,841
3rd – Racing – 1,640
4th – Online – 1,050
5th – Tech - 979
ICANN signed three registry agreements in July – dotEco, dotRadio and the Google-owned dotPHD. In terms of delegated strings, over 50 dotBrands were added to the root zone, comprising a veritable who’s who of global brands – Calvin Klein, CitiGroup, Fiat, Hyatt, Chrysler and Booking.com can all now move ahead with launch plans for their dotBrands. The only generic string delegated was Donuts’ dotDoctor.
The biggest news in the month was undoubtedly the ICANN auction that determined the fate of the dotWeb string. It was won by Nu Dot Co (which was backed by Verisign) for a staggering $135m – over three times as much as the previous most-expensive gTLD, dotShop. We will all wait with interest to see how it will launch this gTLD in the coming months.
There are now over 1,140 new gTLDs that are classed as operational, with 82 still to sign their registry agreement with ICANN. Less than half of the gTLDs have now passed through to Sunrise, which is a cause for concern for ICANN, which is keen on ensuring that the program is “complete” before any second round can start.
Three new gTLDs opened for Sunrise registrations in July – dotStorage (first come, first served), dotGames and dotShopping; whilst dotAutos and dotTube passed into General Availability. August will see the Sunrise period open for dotBlog and dotDoctor, whilst Amazon’s debut TLD, dotMoi, enters the Landrush phase. The only scheduled gTLDs moving into General Availability are Verisign’s local-language dotCom IDNs in Korean.
In terms of the most popular gTLDs, www.namu.wiki still tops the list, according to Alexa Rankings, whilst there have been a few new entrants into the top 10, including www.kinogo.club (Russian torrent website), www.ouo.press (URL shortener) and www.iha-a.link (unknown). Within the Alexa Top 100,000 websites, there are 935 sites that use a new gTLD, with dotXYZ (139 sites), dotClub (84) and dotOnline (64) being the most used. Disappointingly, the GeoTLDs do not fare very well in the list, with only one website for each of dotLondon, dotNYC and dotParis appearing in the rankings.
The online banking portal for BNP Paribas (www.mabanque.bnpparibas) is still the highest-ranked dotBrand, at number 14 on the list. Other dotBrands launching their new digital assets have been scarce this month.