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.Com dominates North America. What about the ROW?

Country code domains are still the majority outside of North America.

Chart showing dominance of .com in North America and ccTLDs in other regions

Take a look at the chart above. What do you notice?

While .com dominates North America, it is secondary in ICANN’s other four regions.

It’s easy to be United States-centric, but the reality of domain name demand is very different around the world.

Afnic, which operates the French country code domain name .Fr, released a report detailing the domain name market in 2018 that included this chart. It’s a great look at the market and required reading for anyone interested in the current mechanics of the domain name market.

If you travel or live outside the United States, you have undoubtedly seen the importance of country code domains in other regions of the world.

Of course, regions are large and the dominance of .com vs. ccTLDs varies by country. And .com is still quite common in most countries, even those in which the country code domain is the most used.

ccTLDs are, by their nature, limiting. Afnic notes:

These data highlight the difficulty for new entrants to impose themselves faced with “cultural prisms” in one case prioritizing the notions of region and proximity, and in the other case a global approach that overrides any reductive specific feature implied by the TLD chosen.

The report has many other takeaways. Here’s a good one about the registry/registrar dynamic and how some registries need to follow a different strategy:

As we already noted in 2018, the fact remains that the registry – registrar system will no doubt have to change in the future, by increasingly favoring the emergence of specialized or “proximity” resellers, who will take care of marketing nTLDs to the relevant niche markets. The transformation is not an obvious one for every player and remains slow to enter the mores, registrars often considering themselves as wholesalers whose role is not to build and facilitate dealer networks optimized for this or that target. Current and future nTLDs cannot, however, be successful without the changing of the retail system.

Afnic also notes that 50% of new top level domains are potentially “loss-making” if they sell domains for less than $20 wholesale, and 83% if they sell below $10.

The full report is available online.

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Reader Interactions


    Leave a Comment

  1. Samantha Frida says

    If country trends are defined by whois country data, how accurate is this data, especially for gTLD’s?

  2. H says

    Most popular African domains are the free .ga, .gq and .cf. Doubt most of their users are from Africa though.

  3. John says

    I’ve said it before, people outside the US appear to be far more aware .us even exists at all than the American public is.

      • John says

        Oh clueless one who just wants to continue troll-dogging me, for the sake of the readers I will answer you.

        By my comment I am implicitly pointing out how outside the US the concept of ccTLDs is heavily ingrained in people’s minds; and my experience with .us and foreign traffic bears it out. People outside the US know to look at example.us, whereas here in the US the American public still scarcely knows it even exists. One of life’s ironies, when from day 1 it would virtually have cost nothing to ignite American awareness into a bonfire, and every day since.

  4. Mark Thorpe says

    Good article and nice find with the graph.
    ccTLD’s are great if you only want to do business within your own country.
    But if you want to do business globally, you need to own a .COM domain name.
    .COM is what big global businesses use.

    • Rubens Kuhl says

      Nope, big global businesses use .com in North America and ccTLDs everywhere else. They own the .com ? Sure.

  5. MapleDots.ca says

    Actually the article is not quite accurate. It says 76% .com and 5% ccTLD for North America. Well Canada is North America too and .ca (ccTLD) outshines .com here as well. So the article should say America as in USA and not North America.

  6. MapleDots.ca says

    I don’t know where in Canada anyone here lives in but almost every retailer there is has a .ca. Every business I deal with has a .ca
    Yes some of the tech companies have .com’s but to say .com’s are used more than .ca’s is just not true.

  7. MapleDots.ca says

    (Almost every car company .ca)

    I could go on and on….. none of them use .com for Canada

    Very few exceptions to this rule

    • TheBrandable says

      These companies use the .ca because the .com is designated for their US operations and they seem to like to segment their sites per country.
      Not because they prefer the .ca over the .com. Most, if not all, own the .com anyway.

  8. Umet says

    No matter .com or ccTLDs matter is only consider brand name if you have in .com then you are King in your own business if you have registered in ccTLDs then also king and no rocket science in other tlds

  9. Brian Galveston says

    The Afnic study is really a great peace of work as it not just came up with pure number crunching but also with in-depth information such as mergers and aquisitions and trending topics.

    Within the high volume of data I found two mistakes to mention, both on page 20.

    First, the number of domain names mentioned for .tirol (+54,000 in 2018) and .cologne (+51,000) is wrong. Due to fantasy numbers in their Registry Reports the four nTLDs .cologne, .koeln, .tirol and .wien show the same number of domains registered for montha now: 61,000 domain names. At ntldstats.com the numbers are correct. Please check out.

    Second, classifying .app, .fun and .icu as .brand TLDs like .microsoft, .google or .kpmg is misleading fort this category. The 550 .brands had about 16,000 domain registrations together by end of 2018, not 913,000 as shown in the current report.

    I would be happy to see these numbers and conclusions based on these numbers corrected and I would appreciate if more great reports like this are published in the future.

    • Loic Damilaville says


      I thank you for the comments. I discovered that ICANN’s data are sometimes wrong when calculating some basic ratios which are not relevant for some TLDs (for instance a Maintenance Rate above 100%).

      As for nTLDstats, the data are alas wrong too. You may notice that they are moving from a period to another, That is to say, the stock on 1/01/19 for instance will be different for the very same TLD on 01/01/19, 02/01/19 or 01/03/19.

      Furthermore, my feeling is that nTLDstats only considers the domain names which are installed on DNS Servers, without being able to take in account the domains that are only registered. The delta with ICANN’s (false) numbers are somewhat 10% from one month to another. I may be wrong in this interpretation and I prise nTLDstats because thanks to them, we are not obliged to wait three monthes to see what’s happening on the market.

      My position is this study was to stay with ICANN’s numbers, even if sometimes false, because the are “official” and do not evolve in the time. On the global scale, the trends are correct, but one must be aware that the TLD by TLD analysis can be wrong.

      This ICANN-based approach nevertheless suggests some kind of alerting sent to ICANN’s staff in order to get some reliable data.

      I also share plainly your analysis about huge volumes .BRANDs, which cannot be considered at all as .BRANDs. I shall coin a new category for next year and “replay” my calculations.

      I think that some nTLD categories will see the light in the future, along with new kind of usages or business models. This is life! 😉



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