Verisign New gTLD Usage Analysis: Is It Too Soon To Have It?

Verisign published a blog post called “Website Usage Analysis in the New gTLDs” by Andy Simpson featuring an analysis of all second-level domains registered in new gTLDs according to published zone files on June 29, 2014.

My comment on this is that it is too soon to conduct this kind of analysis. The oldest New gTLDs are active for no more than 6 months now. A similar study on newly (and never before) registered .com domains should have been conducted as well so we could have the comparison.

The post says something similar for the timing of the analysis: “While it is still early days for new gTLDs, this analysis offers an interesting snapshot of the first few months of new gTLD general availability. It will be interesting to see how website usage evolves over the next year as more gTLDs become available for registration.”

After yesterday’s attack from Donuts on .com you could only expect a similar retaliation attack from Verisign, the .com registry, on New gTLDs. Even if the Verisign analysis was conducted way earlier than the Donuts’s post .com has been attacked by other registries so a reply was long coming.

One of the key findings is that only 3% of domain names registered in new gTLDs contain business websites:

One key finding from our June 29, 2014, analysis is that 3 percent of domain names registered in new gTLDs contain business websites. In this case, we define ?business? as a website that shows commercial activity, a definition that is slightly broader than EURid?s ?business? classification which is defined as a website that clearly shows commercial activity and that is designed for customer interaction. EURid?s usage stat for 8 established TLDs found that 30.5 percent of domain names on these established gTLDs contained business websites.

Then the analysis found that 41% of New gTLD domains feature Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads:

Our analysis also found the most common use of domain names in the new gTLD space is Pay-Per-Click (PPC), with roughly 41 percent of all new gTLD domain names serving up PPC websites. A PPC website contains little user-generated content and almost exclusively advertising links.

The prevalence of PPC websites in the new gTLD space can likely be attributed to:

·         Heightened speculation in the new gTLD space;

·         The practice of several new gTLD registries to register their own domains which are still technically available at premium retail pricing, and several campaigns that provide domains from the new gTLDs at little or no cost to end users (some reportedly without their prior consent), and at least one campaign which automatically creates PPC websites on those provided domain names; and,

·         The EURid approach classifies domains which immediately redirect or ?forward? according to their ultimate destination.  In contrast, the Verisign method for website classification identifies domains that forward to an alternative destination as a ?Redirect.?  The most notable change to augmenting the Verisign approach to classify domain usage according to the ultimate destination is an additional 2 percent of new gTLD registrations are linked to websites serving up PPC content.

Finally, Verisign?s study also found that each of the new gTLDs have a personality of their own with very different usage distributions. Two such examples include:

1.      Dot Chinese Online (.??/.xn?3ds443g) has 91 percent of the registered base serving up ?Error? websites. This usage spike likely correlates with their unique distribution model, where they agreed to assign a significant portion of their new names to the Chinese central government. All of the names that are presumably part of that deal fail to return websites when users from the United States attempt to access them. The usage distribution of the remaining top 10 TLDs can be seen in Figure 2.

2.     XYZ.COM LLC (.xyz) has a high concentration of PPC websites as a result of a campaign that reportedly automatically registered XYZ domains to domain registrants in other TLDs unless they opted out of receiving the free domain name. After registration, these free names forward to a PPC site unless reconfigured by the end user registrant.

Here is the complete post.


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.

One comment

  1. Well the GTLD’s have been making bullshit type comments, and predictions since DAY 1, so if you have a couple billion on the line, why not publish these facts.

    They are basically saying only domain investors are registering these things on the majority end, and businesses are not grasping onto this new realm.

    Good luck to all

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