• United States

Domain name sales soar

Mar 01, 20042 mins
DNSInternet Service ProvidersNetworking

* More domain names added in 2003

In a sign that the Internet industry is rebounding after three years of decline, the number of registered domain names grew 16% to an all-time high of 60 million in 2003, according to VeriSign, which operates the .com and .net registries.

VeriSign recently published a study called “The Domain Name Industry Brief,” which details several trends in the domain name industry.

Among the trends highlighted in the study are:

* Names ending in .com and .net represent 30.4 million domain names, more than half of all names registered in the 250-plus possible extensions.

* Domain-name sales activity was strong in the fourth quarter of 2003, with more than 1.7 million .com and .net names added to the registry.   

* In October 2003, 1.5 million new domain names were registered, which is the highest monthly domain-name sales figure in the history of the Internet.

* Some 40% of domain names are being registered in the 240 available country code top-level domains, with .de for Germany and .uk for the U.K. being the two most popular of these extensions.

* VeriSign processes over 10 billion .com and .net queries per day, more than three times the number of telephone calls made daily in the U.S.

* More than 580 million people around the world use the Internet.

“There’s a recovery going on in the domain name business,” said Ben Turner, vice president of VeriSign’s naming and directory services group in a recent interview. “If you look at the domain name market, it’s a pretty leading indicator in the growth in small business. As more small and mid-sized businesses are growing, they’re adding domain names and Web sites.”

VeriSign sees a large, untapped market overseas where until recently domain names were available only in English-language approximations of foreign names. Now more registries and country code top level domain name operators are introducing internationalized domain names [IDN] that support foreign language characters.

“There’s a trend toward multinational corporations using IDNs in their corporate advertising and on billboards,” Turner said. “Last year about 12% of IDNs had a Web site. In January, that was up to 26%. We expect that to rapidly increase over the next couple months.”

To read about other trends in VeriSign’s “Domain Name Industry Brief,” visit: