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The Status Quo of the Domain Industry in 2022

While the global economy faced the challenges caused by the pandemic and society embraced new trends, the domain industry continued to expand thanks to the ongoing push toward digitalization.

There is no sign of slowing down. The domain industry continued to move forward, embracing the internet’s expansion: new trends, new technologies, niche markets and developments. Although the DNS can already rely on solid foundations, the internet industry keeps growing and changing. The ecosystem is working to promote the Universal Acceptance for a more digitally inclusive internet that provides the gateway to the next billion users. In 2021, twelve new gTLDs reached General Availability (GA). These are clear signs of how vibrant, active and future-oriented this industry is.

There is also no doubt that the demand for domains remains high. And this is backed up by figures. According to Hakan Ali, InterNetX registered a 15% increase in domain sales over the past 12 months. The positive numbers in the industry should not come as a surprise as there are strong reasons driving this growth:

  1. Our society is becoming more and more digital
  2. New niche segments and digital services are becoming more relevant
  3. New markets are emerging around the world

Sedo provides proof of how the situation remains active and dynamic in the aftermarket, where domain prices are rocketing skywards. According to Ron Jackson, editor of DNJournal and domain investor, the biggest challenge in 2021 was to keep up with the incredible number of sales.

The Global Domain Report 2022 by InterNetX and Sedo

To offer valuable insights into the status quo of the domain industry in 2022, InterNetX and Sedo teamed up to deliver the Global Domain Report 2022, now in its third edition. Based on over 150 million data sets presented in 75 pages, the report takes a comprehensive look at trends and developments and includes statements from leading experts.

The Global Domain Report 2022 by InterNetX and Sedo

The Ten Most Popular TLDs

In 2022, the top10 saw some newcomers while other extensions dropped out. The TLD .com, which accounts for more than 43% of all registered domains worldwide, saw another significant increase in registrations last year. An impressive growth streak that has not stopped since the early ‘90s. The ccTLD of Tokelau .tk once again occupies the second position.

The top10 most popular TLDs in million.

The high number of domain registrations is probably mainly due to the cost-free registration policy for the first 12 months. The German ccTLD .de is another successful case study and the third most registered TLD. In 2021, on its 25th anniversary, it reached the milestone of 17 million registered domains.

ccTLDs Remain Strong and African ccTLDs Get a Boost

The ccTLDs have always represented an important segment of the domain industry, amounting to 30-40% of the global market share. In some regions such as Europe, the ccTLD rate has always been very high—a long-standing trend based on historical and cultural reasons that lead Europeans to prefer national TLDs to localize their web presence. A ccTLD that performed exceptionally well in the region was .gg, for the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Despite the small population, .gg rose to prominence as a common initialism used in gaming and is used as the abbreviation for “good game.”

The Americas present a very different scenario. Legacy gTLDs such as .com or .net still dominate the picture, with .br being the only notable exception.

Top 20 ccTLDs

The case of .cn is also noteworthy. Over the past twelve months, it showed heavy registration losses compared to the previous year. Although there is no official information from the Chinese registry, perhaps the renewal rate of the so-called “corona domains” and the growth of other new gTLDs may have played a part. Another remarkable performance is the +298% growth rate for .pk, the ccTLD from Pakistan.

This year also saw the fruition of a fact that we have been anticipating for years, namely the rise of African ccTLDs. The country codes TLD for Gambia, the Central African Republic, Mali and Equatorial Guinea all achieved very high registrations numbers.

Top 10 ccTLDs Middle East & Africa

When it comes to the aftermarket, Sedo reports that the most expensive domain sales took place under ccTLDs. A domain with the extension .ae, ccTLD for the United Arab Emirates not only marks the most expensive sale in 2021 but of all time. The second highest sale in 2021 was under .co, the country code TLD for Colombia, which followed a very positive rising trend.

The Diversified Scene of the New gTLDs

In 2012, the first new gTLDs round opened up more than 1,000 additional extensions, adding diversity and new opportunities to the namespace. A second round was announced a couple of years ago and should add even more diversity to the TLD scene with industry-specific and creative solutions.

As of today, the “winner” in this category is pretty straightforward: The extension .xyz is a span ahead and doesn’t look like it will let up anytime soon. The XYC Inc. registry, run by Daniel Negari, also expanded its portfolio this year by introducing several new gTLDs. The .xyz extension appears to be establishing itself predominantly in the innovation and tech scene. The registry is cooperating with Web3 and crypto players, and it is now possible to connect a .xyz domain with an Ethereum wallet.

Top 10 New gTLDs

Three new gTLDs experienced a drop: .icu, .top and .site. Although we don’t have factual explanations of why, we can speculate that market volatility, the instability caused by the pandemic and decline after the initial hype may have played a role.

New gTLDs are also gaining popularity in the aftermarket, not only among investors but also among end users. While there were only 125 extensions in the previous year, this number grew to 227 in 2021. Due to the high demand triggered by the pandemic and the low availability of established legacy TLDs, we can imagine that many users turned to a domain under a new gTLD.

Like in the primary market, .xyz is the most traded new extension on the aftermarket. This TLD vastly outperformed .online, last year’s #1 ranked extension.

To conclude, the ten most expensive published new gTLD domain sales show a clear trend around cryptocurrencies and NFT.

If you’re interested in blockchain, NFT and crypto, the Global Domain Report 2022 has dedicated an entire chapter exploring their impact on the domain industry offerings.

What 2022 Will Bring for the Domain Industry

The domain industry is on the move, chasing trends, closely following the market and developments in our society—this is clearly illustrated by the facts presented in the Global Domain Report 2022.

We expect that new gTLDs registrations and sales will enjoy further growth. The positive development for new gTLDs like .xyz looks set to continue. The second new gTLD round is closer than ever, and the year 2022 could be the turning point that further enriches the namespace. We will see the growing popularity and consolidation of African ccTLDs. Following recent trends, premium domain prices will continue their upward course. Companies of all sizes will be increasingly willing to invest in their domain strategy, striving for shorter and more memorable domain names.

Thanks to their versatility, domains offer fantastic business opportunities, make for great investments and provide trading options to various stakeholders. In the digital world, they are gaining importance and are more relevant than ever.

By Simone Catania, Global Content & Communications Manager at InterNetX

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Comments

New gTLDs & ICANN Insanity John Poole  –  Apr 16, 2022 12:23 PM

For reliable data on the state of Top-Level Domains (TLDs) without the hype, shameless self-promotion, and selective cherry-picking evident in the above article, read the recent Domain Industry Brief published by Verisign (Vol 19, Issue 1) covering Q4 2021 -  https://www.verisign.com/en_US/domain-names/dnib/index.xhtml - just one example: Total new gTLDs’ domain name registrations were 24.7 million at the end of 2021, a DECREASE of 1.3 million domain name registrations (-5.2%), year over year! Well, that SUCKS! Of course, incompetent, corrupt, and captured ICANN is planning to issue even MORE unwanted, unneeded, and untrustworthy new gTLDs, with usability issues and unreliable pricing, a living embodiment of Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

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