After a couple of months of steady growth, the new gTLD program exploded into June. Over 3.6m new domain names were added in the first three days of the month, compared to 1.1m registrations over the whole of May. The reason behind this unprecedented growth was a number of promotions that saw some TLDs being offered for just a few pence. For example, to celebrate its second birthday, dotXYZ offered a price promotion through a number of key registrars that saw its base grow from 2.9m names as of the end of May to over 6m by 4th June.
DotXYZ wasn’t the only success story in the month. The launch of dotVIP into General Availability saw it break into the top ten most registered new gTLDs, thanks to over 150,000 registrations in the opening part of the month; dotTop consolidated its position as the second most registered new gTLD, with approximately 250,000 new registrations in June.
And it wasn’t just the registries that enjoyed huge growth. Some registrars also had a bumper June, including Uniregistrar, which added nearly 1.5m registrations to its base in early June – although the vast majority were dotXYZ domain names.
The growth of the program is still being fueled by domain speculation and investment from China, where nearly 47% of all registrants live; whilst over 18% of all registrations sit behind a privacy/proxy shield.
The top ten most registered gTLDs is still headed by dotXYZ (6.44m registrations by end of June), which added over 3m new names to its zone during the month. There are now no three-character domain names left to register in the dotXYZ zone, nor any four-character letter or number names. The rest of the top five (dotTop, dotWang, dotWin and dotClub) hasn’t changed for another month, and the only new entry in the top 10 is dotVIP at number seven. As of the end of June, the fastest growing gTLDs on a week-by-week basis* are:
1st – XYZ – 10,976 domain name registrations
2nd – GDN – 6,136
3rd – Top – 5,554
4th – Racing – 1,458
5th – Online – 1,249
After ICANN only managed to sign one new gTLD Registry Agreement in May, it appears to have sharpened its pencils in June, with eleven signed – including the contested TLDs dotDoctor, dotPhone and dotMobile. Google saw its dotMap and dotSearch TLDs signed, whilst Walmart got the green light for dotGrocery. Eight new gTLDs moved to delegation in June, including the generic dotArts and dotShopping, whilst the NFL and Fedex saw their dotBrands take a step further towards reality.
There are now over 1,000 new gTLDs that are classed as operational, with 81 still to sign their Registry Agreement with ICANN. Over half of the gTLDs have now passed through to Sunrise, which is a cause for concern for ICANN.
Only two new gTLDs launched their Sunrise during June, but they’re both worth a closer look. DotMoi is Amazon’s first generic launch – the first of many – and whilst it may not be the most relevant generic term for many, it’s a milestone for one of the world’s biggest online shops. Talking of which, the second launch is one of the most anticipated in the whole program: dotShop, which launched on the last day of the month. The registry GMO paid over $41m to run the dotShop registry, so it will be hoping for strong numbers in the Sunrise period. During July, three more Sunrises are scheduled: dotStorage, dotGames and dotShopping, all of which could see quite strong numbers. The only gTLD that moved into Landrush in June was dotInsurance, which only saw 21 registrations in total. There are currently no further gTLDs scheduled to move into Landrush in July, although a number of strong TLDs, including dotGroup and dotStore, opened and closed their Early Access phases.
In terms of TLDs passing into General Availability, the Japanese character set for dotCom headed up the IDN list, whilst the generic words dotStore, dotLtd, dotGMBH and dotStream all went into free registration. Two interesting dotBrands that launched for those with a sweet tooth were dotFerrero and dotKinder. July will see two further gTLDs launch – dotAutos and dotTube – whilst Teva Pharmaceuticals will launch its dotTeva.
In terms of the Alexa top 100,000 most popular gTLD websites, the highest ranked site is www.offerhaus.link, which appears to have no content, whilst www.namu.wiki (a Korean-language project-resourcing website) is still the second most popular. The rest of the top ten is made up of link farm and streaming directory websites. The online banking portal for BNP Paribas (www.mabanque.bnpparibas) is still hovering around the top ten at number 12, making it the most popular dotBrand. There are 913 new gTLDs within the Alexa rankings (down from 964 last month), with dotXYZ the most popular TLD on the list with 140 registrations, followed by dotClub (81) and dotOnline (66).
Slowly but surely we’re seeing more dotBrands starting to launch, with new websites emerging from the likes of dotSaxo (www.markets.saxo), Canon (www.global.canon), Shell (www.makethefuture.shell) and Netflix (www.nic.netflix). At last we’re seeing the new gTLD program sparking into life.