Verisign industry brief highlights domain name growth in 2012


According to a report issued by SIDN, the ‘.nl’ registry operator, the growth of the number of domain names registered under ‘.nl’, the country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Netherlands, slowed considerably in 2012. The SIDN 2012 Annual Report showed that a net increase of 6.6% was recorded, compared with 14.5% the year before, which represents a slowdown of 48%, the biggest in 10 years.

Interestingly, the number of new registrations remained generally unchanged at 1.1 million and it was an increase in the number of cancellations that affected the figures, clearly due to people downsizing their domain name portfolios by cancelling unwanted domain names. SIDN's CEO, Roelof Meijer, explained the slower growth by saying:

"Companies are looking more carefully at their expenditure, and there isn't as much money to be made from domain name trading now. So we saw a lot more cancellations in 2012. Other country-code domains also experienced weak growth in 2012. Germany's ‘.de’ domain grew by 77% less than in 2011, and the United Kingdom's ‘.uk’ by 54% less. Despite the slower growth, ‘.nl’'s share of the Dutch domain name market increased in 2012, to stand at 72.9% by the end of the year."

However, according to the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief for April 2013, global ccTLD growth was up by around 21.6% in 2012, which relates to an increase of around 19.6 million domain names from the previous year. Growth varies dramatically amongst the top 20 ccTLDs with the highest performers being China, India, Russia and Tokelau. However, the release of free domain name registrations under ‘.tk’, the ccTLD for Tokelau, has skewed these figures considerably.

As of December 31 2012, there were 280 ccTLD extensions delegated into the root zone in the world (including internationalised ccTLDs); 63.1% of the total domain name registrations are concentrated in the following countries:

  1. Germany (‘.de’)
  2. Tokelau (‘.tk’)
  3. United Kingdom (‘.uk’)
  4. China (‘.cn’)
  5. Netherlands (‘.nl’)
  6. Russian Federation (‘.ru’)
  7. European Union (‘.eu’)
  8. Brazil (‘.br’)
  9. Australia (‘.au’)
  10. France (‘.fr’)

Thus, while there has been a dip in growth across some ccTLDs, globally, the domain name market continues to grow, despite the current economic climate. As a result, brand owners would be well advised to continue to monitor domain name registrations and be prepared to enforce their rights against cybersquatters.

David Taylor and Sean Kelly, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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