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A Breakdown of the Domain Industry 2024

As we advance into 2024, the global landscape remains etched with the marks of a tumultuous previous year. The world economy grappled with challenges on multiple fronts in 2023, from surging inflation rates across significant economies to geopolitical conflicts and instability fostering a climate of uncertainty. Compounded by ongoing disruptions in global supply chains, these factors painted a rather somber picture of the economic outlook for many sectors. Amidst this backdrop, the domain industry emerges as a beacon of resilience and innovation, seemingly unfazed by the ebbs and flows that characterized much of the global economy last year.

The Global Domain Report 2024 examines trends and transformative shifts, mainly focusing on the influence of artificial intelligence (AI), which has redefined market dynamics and user engagement. Even during global economic uncertainty, the industry’s enduring strength and adaptability are evident, with data showing 359.8 million registered domains in 2023. Despite the challenges, registrations have maintained a steady yet somewhat tempered pace, recording a 2.5% increase year-over-year (YoY).

With a comprehensive analysis, let’s delve into ccTLDs, new gTLDs and gTLDs to highlight some of the year’s most compelling insights.

The Global Domain Report 2024 by InterNetX and Sedo

InterNetX and Sedo have collaborated to present the Global Domain Report 2024, a comprehensive, 80-page deep-dive into the world of domain names. This annual assessment of the domain industry offers valuable insights and an informed perspective on the status quo of domain names in 2024. Our report investigates an extensive range of trends and developments shaping this industry, enriched by the insights and opinions of leading experts in the domain sector. Our focus chapter is dedicated to AI and the tech industry as we seek to unravel the exciting intersections between AI, the ever-evolving tech industry, and the domain space.

gTLDs: The legacy continues

The initial wave of gTLDs has left an indelible mark on the internet’s domain infrastructure. Despite the emergence of countless new extensions, gTLDs, especially .com (159.6 M), .net (13.1 M) and .org (10.8 M), continue to dominate the digital realm in terms of registration numbers and usage.

ccTLDs. The evergreen pillars

Within this vibrant ecosystem, ccTLDs have consistently reinforced their foundational role. There have been a number of challenges recently. Perhaps one of the prickliest being the .tk domain extension grappling with Freenom’s loss of ICANN accreditation. Although it currently remains the most registered ccTLD, the full impact of this is anticipated to unfold in the coming year. At the same time, ccTLDs like .cn and .ru have exhibited substantial growth.

Notably, European ccTLDs make up half of the top 20 ccTLDs worldwide, highlighting Europe’s significant contribution to this market segment. This prevalence underscores the pivotal role of regional importance and cultural connection in shaping domain registration trends. Furthermore, African ccTLDs have demonstrated the highest year-over-year growth, showcasing their emerging prominence in the domain landscape.

New gTLDs: Creative and innovative digital frontiers

The introduction of new gTLDs has opened up a vista of possibilities, enabling the domain industry to tap into niche markets with unprecedented creativity and specificity. In 2023, new gTLDs witnessed vigorous growth of 14.7% YoY. This surge is indicative of evolving internet usage patterns in which new gTLDs foster unique branding opportunities and reflect the shifting paradigms in online navigation and digital identity.

The extension .xyz stands out as the most popular choice, particularly favored by enterprises within the blockchain, Web3 and cryptocurrency sectors in recent years. This year, the new gTLD ranking has some newcomers, namely .cfd, .app and .click.

However, despite the increasing registrations of new gTLDs, a significant portion—nearly half of the websites within these new domains—still primarily function as redirects to their .com counterparts. Furthermore, data reveals that less than half of the sites registered under new gTLDs are hostfully developed websites.

Decoding the .ai revolution

Firmly positioned in the vanguard of technological innovation, the .ai domain extension is asserting itself as an industry game-changer, boasting an awe-inspiring 162% year-on-year growth rate. This significant upward trend mirrors the escalating interest and subsequent integration of AI technologies into digital platforms. Consequently, .ai has emerged as one of the most coveted TLDs in the digital landscape.

InterNetX has witnessed the rapid rise of .ai as the TLD that charted the highest yearly growth at an unprecedented 256%. Notably, the you.ai domain topped the sales list at Sedo in 2023, further underscoring the high international demand for .ai domains.

More intriguing is that 45% of all .ai domains are no longer just placeholders but fully-fledged websites. Nearly half of all operating websites under the .ai umbrella are used for business purposes. This data suggests a promising future for businesses and individuals with respect to harnessing the power and potential of .ai domains.

What does the future hold?

Looking ahead, it becomes apparent that the domain industry in 2024 stands at a confluence of tradition and innovation. With ccTLDs maintaining their regional significance, new gTLDs breaking new ground and legacy gTLDs upholding their foundational role, the industry is navigating through an era of transformative change.

The growing influence of artificial intelligence on domain strategies is central to this transformation, heralding a future teeming with opportunities and challenges for the industry. The integration of AI is not merely a trend but a significant shift, poised to redefine how domain names are valued, managed and utilized to bolster online identities and businesses.

As we navigate this thrilling evolution, the importance of staying informed about technological advances and market shifts becomes ever more apparent. Such vigilance ensures that the domain industry adapts to the digital age and leads the charge in the ongoing technological revolution, setting new benchmarks for innovation and excellence.

Stay ahead of the curve in the domain industry by keeping yourself updated with the Global Domain Report 2024. Download it today!

By Simone Catania, Global Content & Communications Manager at InterNetX

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