Reporting aggregate numbers for new TLD registrations is misleading.
Some day this month one or more companies will proclaim that new top level domain name registrations have topped one million domain names.
It will be very misleading when they announce this.
If you look at the top 10 domains by zone files, at least three of them include a lot of free or registry-owned domain names.
The biggest example is .xyz. Network Solutions gave away tens of thousands of domains to customers at no charge. The customers didn’t even have to accept the domain; it was registered on their behalf.
In the case of .berlin people had to at least request the domain. .Link is also in the top ten, but I believe about 20,000 domains are registry owned and activated.
I’m not blaming all of these registries for being misleading. Frank Schilling never asked for people to report the top line from the zone on .link. He didn’t activate the domains to make it look like .link had a lot of registrations; he did it to create billboards on each one.
Smaller registries, including .buzz, also have premium domains activated in the zone.
Just how many domains in the zone files are paid and unpaid is hard to calculate.
On the flip side of this equation, companies that paid Donuts and Rightside to block their domains from registration aren’t counted, while you could argue they should be. Then you have the issue of the zone files undercounting the total number of registrations.
This makes it hard to really know when new TLDS collectively pass one million registrations. But I do know this: when that first company proclaims new TLDs have hit the million domain registration milestone, they’ll be