Which registrars are top for a domain can help explain TLD growth.
It can be difficult to judge the success of a top level domain based on the number of registrations. Unfortunately, that’s all we usually have. But digging down just one level can give a hint about the quality of a namespace’s registrations.
Take a look at the #10 domain on nTLDstat’s charts: .LTD.
It appears that this domain is doing quite well with about 500,000 names in the zone file. But take a look at the breakdown by registrar and things look fishy.
Alibaba is #1 with 93% of the market. West.cn is #2 with another 3% of the market. So over 95% of registrations are at Chinese domain name registrars.
The “Limited” corporate identifier comes from the UK but also extends to former colonies. Think Hong Kong. And there’s a corporate identifier in China that translates to Limited.
But over 93% of registrations coming through one Chinese registrar? Such a big skew to one Chinese registrar is perplexing.
It’s also strange when you see sudden jumps in registrations outside of the launch phases:
This suggests that much of the activity is based on promotions and bulk registrations rather than people registering the domains to use for their business.
Compare this to Google’s .app and its 300k+ registrations. The #1 registrar is GoDaddy, which is a good sign because GoDaddy is by far the largest registrar in the world. #2 is Google, which makes sense given that it’s Google’s TLD. Then you have Namecheap, West263 and Name.com. Seems reasonable.
Are many of these registrations from investors? Sure, but these are also likely spread out across many domain investors. I also like how smooth this registration curve is:
This isn’t to say that there’s a problem with the business model of targeting Chinese domain investors. At the same time, it’s worth looking at the registrar data and trend lines to understand more about how a TLD is growing.