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Domain Naming Reaches New Heights



It’s a boom time for domain names as more people and more marketers flock to the Internet. Domain names have grown 7% in one year, with more than 41,000 new ones added each day, on average, last quarter. Online ad revenue in the U.S. is expected to reach $25 billion this year, according to reports from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

So we asked Pat Kane, Assistant General Manager for Naming Services at VeriSign, Inc., for the latest information on the boom. VeriSign with 2,200 employees worldwide, is the global registry operator for .com and .net, and is the leading provider of Internet infrastructure services.

With the company since 1999, Pat Kane is responsible for product development, marketing and management for VeriSign’s Naming Services business unit that includes all Top-Level Domains (TLDs) operated by VeriSign under contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as well as emerging domain name spaces.

Q: Pat, we understand domain names around the world have now passed a milestone — the 200 million mark.

Correct. According to our latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief, the third quarter of 2010 closed with a global base of almost 202 million domain name registrations across all TLDs.

That was a 2% increase over the second quarter, which means about 3.8 million new domain names were added in just three months. In other words, on average for each day for the last quarter, more than 41,300 new names were added.

Registrations have grown by 13.3 million, or 7% year-over-year.

Q: How big was the growth in .com and .net?

The combined base of .com and .net domain names topped 103 million. New .com and .net registrations totaled 7.5 million during the third quarter, an increase of 7 % from a year ago.

By the way, we estimate that 88% of .com and .net domain names have a live website with actual content.

Q: What’s happening internationally?

It’s obvious by now that the Internet has become a pervasive tool in our society. The total number of Internet users has jumped more than 500% in the past decade. But the growth was even more explosive internationally.

In our latest survey, the base of Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) was 79.2 million domain names, a 2.4% increase from a year ago.

Today, the English-speaking world makes up less than 40% of Internet users. Africa had less than 5 million Internet users a decade ago; now, it has more than 100 million. And while in 2000, Asia was essentially even with Europe and North America for users, today it has more than those two continents combined.

In the coming decade, the Internet will continue to become a ubiquitous, multi-cultural tool, fueled in part by the adoption of International Domain Names (IDNs).

Q: Please explain. How will IDNs change things?

IDNs will enable online content and businesses to be represented in local scripts and languages.

All domain names must be represented to the Domain Name System using ASCII characters (A-to-Z, 0-to-9, and the hyphen). But Latin-based language words that require diacritics in Spanish and French, and other languages that use non-Latin scripts such as Arabic, cannot be resolved natively in current domain names.

By enabling online content and businesses to be displayed in local scripts and languages, IDNs will help the Internet expand technology to cultures and regions. The Internet also helps preserve cultures – such as the .cat domain preserving the Catalan culture online. All this will connect the world in new ways.

Over the past year, several new IDNs for country-code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) have been approved. Users in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Russia now have access to IDN versions of their country-code domains.

Q: What if our readers want more information on the growth in domain names?

VeriSign provides Internet users throughout the world with statistical and analytical research and data on the domain name industry and the Internet as a whole.

Copies of the latest 2010 quarter Domain Name Industry Brief, as well as previous reports, can be obtained at VeriSign.

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