Verisign: Domain Registrations Up 16 Percent in 2008

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Domain registrations are up, but growth is slowing, according to a fourth-quarter report released this week by Internet infrastructure giant Verisign.

177 million domain registrations were recorded in 2008, a 16 percent increase compared to 153 million in 2007, according to Verisign's 2008 Domain Industry Brief.

Versign reports the base of Country Code Top Level Domain Names (ccTLDs) totaled 71.1 million, a 22 percent increase year over year and a 3 percent increase quarter over quarter.

The number of new .com and .net domain names registered or renewed in connection with online advertising networks declined in the fourth quarter, which reflects a weakening in the earnings per click (EPC), the study said. Verisign projects online advertising names will become an increasingly smaller part of the .com and .net base.

Dot-com domains to have the highest base in terms of total registrations, followed by .cn (China), .de (Germany) and .net. The bases for .cn, .de and .uk represented 47 percent of all ccTLDs.

More than 10.1 million new domain names were registered across all of the TLDs in the last quarter of 2008. The new report says this reflects a slower growth in new registrations, with a decline of 12 percent from the third quarter 2008 and 17 percent from the same quarter in 2007.

The decline is attributed to slower growth in both Generic Top Level Domain Names (gTLDs) and ccTLDs.

The largest TLDs in terms of base size were .com, .cn, .de, .net, .org, .uk, .info, .nl (The Netherlands), .eu (European Union), and .biz, the study said.

An average of 11.9 million new domain names were registered per quarter compared with an average of 12.2 million new domain names registered each quarter in 2007.

Verisign said 2008 ended with 71.1 million ccTLD registrations, a 22 percent increase over the end of 2007. Just more than 2.2 million ccTLDs were added in the fourth quarter of 2008, representing a three percent growth over the third quarter.

With more than 240 ccTLD extensions globally, the Top 10 ccTLDs still contribute 65 percent of the total number of registrations. Among the Top 25 largest ccTLDs, .ru (Russian Federation) grew the fastest with 11 percent growth quarter over quarter, and China's .cn was close behind with 8 percent growth quarter over quarter.

The report also looked at Internationalized Domain Names that do not use the Latin alphabet, including Asian and Arabic nations.

View the brief at the Verisign website.