Last week when Verisign released its 3rd Quarter Domain Name Industry Brief everyone focused in on the raw numbers
246 million domain names.
However what if I was to tell you that one change made by Verisign has made a huge impact on the overall domain registration numbers.
That change was including the .TK registry in the Domain Name Industry Brief.
Two quick points.
The .TK registry was not always included in the quarterly reports, matter of fact Verisign included the registry for the first time in the 3rd quarter of 2011 or exactly the same quarter Verisign just reported on one year later.
If we look at the last report Verisign put out before including the .TK registry numbers it was the 2nd Quarter report for 2011.
At that time Verisign reported 215 million domains.
At the end of 3rd quarter including the 1st time it reported the .TK registry the total domain count was 220 Million domains.
Now we have the 3rd quarter report for 2012 and although Verisign doesn’t break each ccTLD with an exact number it does provide a chart on which it certainly appears that .TK is responsible for close to 13 million registrations, possibly more.
Lets check out the chart.
.Tk is the green color represented on the chart.
As you can see .TK starts under the 220 million mark and ends around 230 million, that’s what I’m going to call somewhere around 13 million domain names. Moreover we know that the TLD ahead of .TK is .net with just under 15 Million registrations represented by the color white. If you compare the two colors on the graph they are pretty close.
Overall Verisign says that ccTLD’s “registrations were approximately 104.9 million in the third quarter of 2012 with the addition of 4.6 million domain names, or a 4.6 percent increase compared to the second quarter. ”
“This is an increase of almost 18 million domain names, or 20.7 percent from a year ago”.
So where does that leave us?
Without the .TK extension included, total domains were around 230 million with the 14 million .TK domains included.
The difference in the overall growth of the domain channel is halved without the inclusion of the .TK registry numbers.
Why is the .TK registry so important to be pointed out?
Because the domain registrations are basically free of charge unlike any other registry included in the Verisign report.
So Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief’s now must carry an asterisk when comparing growth numbers to note that the .TK registry was not part of earlier reports so that everyone knows that we are not comparing Apples to Oranges and paid domain name registrations to fee one’s.
It is not going to be shocking if the .TK registry continues to add millions of domains a quarter since they are free while all others are paid registrations and renewals.