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Total domain counts are falling. Here’s why

.Com is doing fine, but the same can’t be said for other top level domains.

Red arrow trending down and to the right on a blue background

Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) has published its quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (pdf) for the first quarter of 2021.

The company calculates that total domains registered across all extensions fell 2.8 million, or 0.8%, since the end of 2020. Total domains fell 3.3 million, or 0.9%, compared to the first quarter of 2020.

This might come as a shock to people who have heard about exploding growth in domains during the pandemic and with Verisign raising its guidance for the year.

While .com continues to grow at a steady clip, total country code (ccTLDs) and new top level domains have fallen.

Verisign figures the total base of ccTLDs fell 1.5% compared to the end of last year and 0.6% compared to a year ago.

The biggest fall has been in new top level domains, which have plummeted 29.3% over the past year and 12.3% in the last quarter. This has to do with a handful of top level domain operators halting or reducing low-cost registration promotions.

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  1. John Poole says

    The decline in new gTLDs’ registrations is significant and more than just “a handful of [new gTLD] top level domain operators halting or reducing low-cost registration promotions.” Look at the data Andrew, across ALL of the new gTLDs, and stop parroting BS from the new gTLDs’ hucksters, You are doing a disservice to your readers, though I understand your need to please your advertisers. See https://ntldstats.com/tld — the decline is widespread and has affected more than just a “handful” of new gTLDs.

    • rubensk says

      So far all the drops I saw in new gTLDs are related to ones operating 1st cheap/free domains. Can you elaborate by mentioning new gTLDs that are falling but haven’t done 1st year promotions ?

      Not that new gTLDs are growing; the pandemic seems to reinforce the leaders in each category and domains are no different. But besides some unnatural registrations, price-induced, the others seems to be keeping a steady level.

      • John Poole says

        “Not that new gTLDs are growing” — hardly, a drop from 35.7 million registrations on Sep 24, 2020, to less than 25.8 million on June 3, 2021 (data source: https://ntldstats.com/tld) is a catastrophic drop in registrations, particularly in view of what the new gTLDs’ hucksters, Frank Schilling et al, said would be the story by now. If you want to know the TRUE story about new gTLDs, and ALL TLDs, look at ALL the DATA, it’s there in PLAIN SIGHT. .NET has not been a great success in recent years either, a FACT which Verisign likes to cover up by wrapping .COM & .NET data together in reports to VRSN shareholders.

      • John Poole says

        OK, Andrew, I’ll give you some more new gTLDs you failed to mention in your original posting May 6, 2021, which you linked to in your post above. On May 6th you wrote, “The drop is accounted for by a handful of domain names …” citing only .ICU, .TOP, .SITE, .CLUB, .VIP, .BUZZ as declining Oct 1, 2020-May 5, 2021. I’ll give you 6 more that declined during that same period: .WORK, .FUN, .LIVE, .SPACE, .WEBSITE, .LINK (unfortunately Frank waited too long and didn’t get out “at the top”). Since most new gTLDs’ registrations occur in fewer than 30 new gTLDs (including the 12 mentioned above), this is a catastrophic decline in less than 8 months. Put another way, if new gTLD registrations continue to decline at this rate of almost 10 million registrations every 8 months, there will be no new gTLD registrations left in less than 2 years!

        • Andrew Allemann says

          .work, .fun, live, space and .website all had very low first year promos. I think .link had one bulk owner drop their domains. They probably had low promos as well.

          I picked the ones that seemed to have the biggest drops during that period.

          If we want to pick out domains like these and say they are indicative of the overall market, then when a new TLD does a promo and suddenly its registrations go up, should we say the new TLD market is doing well? I don’t think so.

          • John Poole says

            I NEVER said the “new gTLDs market” was EVER “doing well” but I know of many others who have made those claims, repeatedly, ICANN Org management included. These new gTLDs have been running promos and scams (domain stuffing etc) from the beginning, and even the new gTLDs’ data is suspect (e.g., compare numbers reported via https://namestat.org/ vs. https://ntldstats.com/tld vs. Verisign’s DNIB ). But the aggregate data available shows some troubling trends overall, confirmed by the recent catastrophic decline in total new gTLDs’ registrations.

  2. John Poole says

    The problem with your position, Andrew, is the new gTLDs industry has utilized promos from the beginning (2014), and we have seen waves of gains followed by declines REPEATEDLY, this is NOT a one-off event, so your discounting the significance of the size of this catastrophic decline (10 million registrations) seven years after the new gTLDs first launched, is disingenuous.

    • Lifesavings says

      He told you exactly the truth. Most the ones that fell are cheap ones. If you are going to cherry pick the worst, I can cherry pick the best. I don’t think I need to, but certainly ‘some’ increased, just as well.

      $1-2 domains are toxic. No one can dispute many of these were not intended to hold.

      If you want to actually figure out something worthwhile, look at alexia top sites, and compare which ones are new TLD. This is more helpful than looking at anything else IMO

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