.Com/.net base up about 5% compared to last year, but new TLDs are on the horizon.
Verisign reported earnings today as well as combined statistics for its .com and .net business.
The company added 1.55 million net new names during the third quarter, ending the quarter with 125.9 million active domain names in the zone for .com and .net. That’s a 5% increase over the zone at the end of the third quarter in 2012. In Q2 2013 it added 1.22 million net new names, which was also about a 5% increase in the base over the the same quarter in 2012.
It’s important to understand that in order to get 1.55 million net new names, Verisign has to sell a lot more domain registrations than that. That’s because every quarter domain names expire. In Q3, Verisign processed 8.7 million new domain name registrations.
So here’s the question on many peoples’ minds: can the registered base of .com domains continue to grow when hundreds of new TLDs such as .web hit the web?
It’s unlikely that owners of existing .com domains will switch to alternative top level domain names. Some with really bad domains might make the switch. But the real question is what happens with those 8 million+ new domain registrations Verisign processes each quarter. Will some of those be siphoned off by new TLDs? Will an accountant starting his business choose Adams.CPA instead of AdamsCPAonline.com (AdamsCPA.com is already registered)?
If new TLDs siphon about 1.5 million new registrations away from .com each quarter, the .com base will start to shrink.