Many servers have chosen new top level domains, with .social the big winner.
Twitter alternative Mastodon has been getting lots of attention after Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
Mastodon is built on open source software. Rather than signing up for the main service like you do with Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok, you join a server running Mastodon. These servers are run by various people or companies.
And, importantly for domain names, those servers typically have their own second level domain name.
For example, you can sign up for the original server maintained by the Mastodon gGmbH non-profit, mastodon.social. Or choose learningdisability.social, an inclusive community for people with an interest in learning disabilities.
There are currently 6.1 thousand servers and 1.8 million active monthly users on Mastodon.
Reviewing the list of servers shows that new top level domains are popular for those running each instance. Mastodon lists 57 of the servers that have agreed to the Mastodon Server Covenant. Here’s the breakdown of those servers’ top level domains:
One each: .ai, .app, .au, .be, .ca, .chat, .club, .co, .exchange, .games, .gr, .ie, .lgbt, .lol, .nu, .nz, .party, .press, .scott, .sh.to, .uk, .us, .wales, .world, .xyz, .zone
A handful of these are subdomains built on existing websites. And keep in mind these are just the ones highlighted on Mastodon’s website.
According to nTLDStats, .social has experienced a jump in registration volume this month:
With about 6,000 servers, the raw registration numbers are nothing special for new top level domains. But each of these domains is now in use, which is critical: every user is exposed to the top level domains.
Mastodon gGmbH uses joinmastodon.org for its website. I reached out to the owner of mastodon.com a couple of weeks ago to see if it is experiencing a surge in traffic, but I have not heard back.