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