Thursday, 18 November 2010

Domain Names Market is Changing

COM COM über alles, über alles in der Welt
Recent gossips that GoDaddy is promoting .CO as replacement for .COM surprised me. I did my research and found out (with relief) that such a great surprise is over and .COM is back to the throne. Has anything changed since .CO and .ME  launch and recent poor results of .TEL .BIZ or .MOBI aftermarket sales?

Yes, the main change is .CO popularity and in the contrary, low value sales of premium .ME domains and decreasing total number of .ME names in the zone. Additionally, sales of .TEL .BIZ or .MOBI are showing signs that such TLDs  are far from popularity among domainers.

Most dynamic TLDs
Here are the numbers - net increase between October and November 2010 in the following zones:
COM 621092
INFO 82414
NET 78423
ORG 60797
CO 42967
MOBI 2556
BIZ 931

The data clearly shows that .COM is still the most prominent for Registrars, then INFO goes, followed by NET ORG and... CO. The rest is not out of competition.

So, how Registrars react to the changing primary (and secondary) market? The best way is to look at the starting pages of Registrars. Here they are:

GoDaddy promotes .COM, than .CO followed by .INFO .NET .ORG .ME and .MOBI
Let's check what thinks

The primary choice for is quite similar: .COM .ME .NET .INFO .ORG .US .TEL. I'm a little bit surprised with such high positions of .TEL and .ME on list. Telnic (operator of TEL domains) has net growth of only 298 domains in October and doMEn (operator of ME domains) has net decline of 2230 domains in October and 2082 in September.

Let's check what our colleagues from EuroDNS think about primary market. Here it is:

EuroDNS is... different. The primary choice is .CO.NO and .SO - the two new extensions. .CO.NO is the most interesting - it's privately held 2nd level domain under most restrictive European TLD - .NO operated by NORID.

For companies/individuals operating in Norway, it's extremely difficult to register domains directly under .NO. Norwegians have the following alternatives:
  • .COM (obvious), 
  • .NU [1]
  • .CO.NO. 
.EU is not an alternative for Norway due to the fact that Norway is not a member of the European Union.

To the contrary to .CO.NO, dotSO is the Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) for The Republic of Somalia. It was redelegated to The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MoPT) in April of 2009, and will be available to the public for Open Registration on March 1st, 2011.

Among other extensions, EuroDNS prefers .EU (yes, EuroDNS is an European company), than .COM (am I surprised? No), NET, ORG, MOBI (??? this is surprising due to the decreases in the recent months), INFO, BIZ, TEL.

1. Registrars focus on the new TLDs where the profit margin is higher than for "normal" registrations. The best choice is .CO.NO (I like it, probably I will register one name there), and dotSO.
2. The next comes .CO. Yes, Colombian ccTLD zone is still "empty" if compared to .COM and still nice (valuable) names are available...
3. The next are most popular gTLD: COM NET ORG
4. Keeping .TEL (Telnic) or .MOBI (Afilias) on the list is rather a mistake; decisions are probably not based on (business) analysis but "expectations" IMHO.

I will watch closely how Registrars react to the new world of domains. Is it going to be traditional (COM COM über alles, über alles in der Welt) market or something new is going on?

[1] .NU is the Internet country code top-level domain assigned to the island state of Niue.  "nu" in Swedish means "now" and regardless of the fact that Niue Island has no connections with Sweden or Norway, ".NU" become popular in Sweden and Norwegian businesses operating in Sweden.


  1. you forgot to mention that EuroDNS controls (just like they did in the past for, which is why they push it heavily.
    Also, another popular extension for companies in Norway is .AS (equivalent to the English "Ltd").

  2. Yep, this is probably the main reason. I didn't know about EuroDNS ties with CoDNS BV. Thanks for info, I will ask J-C :)

    It's funny how strong NORID opposes .CO.NO and is discouraging people

  3. Hi guys :-) Although we like the concept and agreed to help them with our Registry management system, we don't "control" 100% of CoDNS Bv.

    Truth is, as you know EuroDNS has always been in favor of openness when it comes to Registrations and we have lobbyed quite hard in the past to see those (artificial) locks removed or at least eased in various ccTLDs (.Fr among others).

    Not only do we believe Co.No is a step in the right direction for Europe, it is also one of the "newest" extensions around.

    This is why .CO.NO is featured on top of our list and will be for a while... But don't worry Francesco, we still love .mobi :)

  4. Registrars will experiment with the positioning of TLDs on their default search pages. Sometimes it's a simple experiment, others it's because a particular registry has given some kind of incentive to the registrar to push it.
    However .com is still "king", with the ccTLD of the registrant a close second (based on our experiences)
    I'm really not sure how people are going to react to the launch of new TLDs, but a lot of that will probably depend on how good the new registry operators themselves are at promoting their offerings



  5. @Michele Neylon: I agree with you that the prime choice is COM and than ccTLD of the Registrant. And experiments are always good for business - sometimes one can find a good "niche".

    @Jean-Christophe: I like your approach. I personally don't care if CoDNS Bv is related to you or not, but in general it's a good step forward in opening Norwegian ccTLD space. I don't understand why NORID is doing "black" PR for .CO.NO: I hope other Registrars will start offering .CO.NO as alternative to Norwegian ccTLD.