Mapping the new internet: one year on

October 6, 2017

If numbers drive the debate over the progress of new gTLDs, it doesn’t look like much has happened in a year. In August 2016 we made a tube map of the top 250 by domains under management (DUM) as a means of visualising the new generic top level domains (gTLDs). A year later and we’ve updated the map, just showing the top 100 by DUM to highlight the changing trends.

On paper, not much has changed. The total of new gTLD registrations sits at 25.4m and accounts for 7.7% of the total domain registrations across top level domains; only relatively minor changes from the 23m and 7% of registrations we noted in last years’ report. The two new gTLD leaders remain the same – .xyz and .top – with previous third place .wang slipping down to eighth to allow .loan to step up into the breach.

With some exceptions, the new gTLDs have not grown quite as some expected or forced ccTLDs out of the picture. However, interesting things have been happening in the past 12 months to challenge any expectations of what is ahead. It’s not about numbers; it’s about ripples and shifts in thinking when it comes to the new gTLDs and their use across various industries that are getting online.

One of the big news stories of the year has been the rise of .blog, which hit 100,000 registrations in July. There was also news from MMX that .vip has seen renewals after the first month of over 75% in China. This influential Asian nation, as I discussed in a previous blog, presents a powerful market for new gTLDs. The Chinese-owned .top now leads the pack in terms of volume since many of the low cost .xyz domains were not renewed. Cheap doesn’t always call the shots: casino.online sold for over $200,000 in the past few months, one of the biggest price tags for a new gTLD domain. On a slightly smaller scale, mylove.art sold for over $9,000 within the first 24 hours of general availability.

Geographical new gTLDs are noteworthy. Recent news was full of .africa finally becoming available to the public last month following a long debate over which registry could release it. While certainly not large enough to threaten the ccTLDs, geographical gTLDs still make an appearance in the rankings. The first solid location is .nyc at number 43, which accounts for 12.5% of the geographical market share. This is closely followed by .london with 10%.

For us, the big story is the .brands. These will likely never make waves on the top 100 because this is a realm in which quality and not quantity comes to the fore. We have chosen to include xx in our map to show the breadth and variety of these brands, although there are over 500 in operation. Of these, over 100 already have active second line registrations. The first half of this year saw a 12% rise in .brand domains becoming active, and data shows it is the insurance industry that comes top. There are over 1,800 registered, branded domains across this industry, with European insurer .mma coming top with over 1,700 domains registered (as of 31 July 2017).

Worldwide, the headline grabbing .brand stories of the year were India’s biggest bank moving to .sbi, France’s national railway jumping onto .sncf and America’s Major League Baseball using .mlb. The most active countries in the .brand zone are Germany, France and Spain, with the US creeping in at fourth. As of June, the three most popular domains were the French mabanque.bnpparibas, the Brazilian banco.bradesco and America’s blog.google.

Although no date has yet been set for the next round of applications, there is talk of a 2019 release and many experts believe it will be a ‘now or never’ moment for .brands. These past few years have given companies and businesses the opportunity to better understand domains and how they can play a part in marketing as well as security. With an increase in cyber attacks and a push to secure sites online, choosing the right domain name could be pivotal; .brands may finally have their moment.

As a registry service provider already supporting brands such as Bradesco, BBC and Bentley, we wait for what lies ahead and prepare ourselves for an influx of interested parties. In the meantime, we can all enjoy the intrigues and changes that filter across the new gTLD world as global consumers adjust to different domain names, and businesses begin to understand the power and potential of different domain endings.

View full map here.

New Tube Map 2017