Donuts Inc., the world’s largest registry for new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs), marked the one-year anniversary of general availability of new Internet identities, reporting that its 150 now live gTLDs are home to more than 1.2 million registrations, accounting for nearly one third of the four million total names registered across all new gTLDs.
The company, which expects eventually to run approximately 200 gTLDs, said it currently operates eight of the top 25 and half of the top 50 new gTLDs by registration volume, including .GURU (80,584), .PHOTOGRAPHY (51,431), and .EMAIL (48,031). Registrants are widely dispersed geographically, with United States customers most active (48 percent), followed by Germany (12 percent) and the United Kingdom (11 percent). Usage of new gTLDs has climbed steadily, as well—according to CSC Digital Brand Services, there was a 52% increase over the past quarter in the number of new gTLD domain registrations ranked in the Alexa top one million most visited sites.
“We’ve built a foundation to create vibrant online communities that drive commerce, participation, communication and the exchange of information,” said Donuts CEO and cofounder Paul Stahura. “As we promised early last year, there’s now a relevant, specific domain name for everyone, promising the ability to identify products, services, communities, companies and organizations.”
Adopters are agreeing. According to Brad D. Riggan of Liquid Media®, an Oklahoma City-based multi-dimensional digital creative firm, the switch to a new gTLD was intuitive. “We changed to Liquid.MEDIA because we wanted a domain name that represented the meaning of our company,” he said. “This is a precise descriptor that tells our clients and potential clients what we do.”
Donuts recently launched .WORLD into general availability, and tomorrow will make .ENERGY and .DELIVERY open to any registrant. .COACH, .MEMORIAL, .LEGAL, .MONEY and .TIRES are now available exclusively to trademark holders and will open to all registrants later in March.
The new gTLD program, still in its infancy, is undergoing rapid growth as .COM and other legacy over-used gTLDs fade in utility. Last fall, Afnic, the registry operator for the .FR country code TLD (ccTLD), released a study documenting that new gTLDs are growing faster than both legacy gTLDs and ccTLDs. And as reported in October, analysts at investment bank B. Riley & Co. forecasted that new gTLD registrations could cross the 20 million mark by 2016.
Further pent demand will be addressed throughout 2015, when “contention sets”—gTLDs for which more than one registry applie —will be resolved. Including names like .MUSIC, .SHOP, .ART and .APP, remaining contention sets account for what will likely be some of the most popular and well-used gTLDs. “We’re still very early in the life of new gTLDs, but the promise of these names has already been well proven,” Stahura said. “As less relevant legacy gTLDs continue to decline in popularity, consumers and businesses are embracing the semantic meaning and specificity of new gTLDs.”