Verisign issued a report on new gTLD registrations through June 29, 2014, finding that 41% of all new gTLD registrations are parked and only 3% of New gTLD Domain Names Are resolving to Business Websites.
Of course Verisign operates the .com and .net registries and have a lot to lose in the new gTLD world, yet the numbers are the numbers.
The report entitled Website Usage Analysis in the New gTLDs:
“We thought it would be an interesting exercise to extend similar analysis to the new gTLD market. So, we analyzed all second-level domains registered in new gTLDs according to published zone files on June 29, 2014.
One key finding from our June 29, 2014, analysis is that 3%t of domain names registered in new gTLDs contain business websites.
In this case, we define “business” as a website that shows commercial activity, A recent EURid’s report showed that for the legacy TLDs including .com and .net, 30.5% of domain names on these established gTLDs contained business websites.
Our analysis also found the most common use of domain names in the new gTLD space is Pay-Per-Click (PPC), with roughly 41% of all new gTLD domain names serving up PPC websites.
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,
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 (.在线/.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.
So what we know is that 41% of the new GTLDs are PPC and that .XYZ domains that are not adjusted by the new “owner” redirect to a PPC site…so not exactly helpful other than to point out that as of now, domains are on hold or redirecting with minimum usage as a website unto themselves. Colour me shocked (not really)
Aren’t XYZ’s 95% robo-registrations? The 440k+ registrations definitely skew the numbers for the legitimate gTLDs.
John McCormac says
Massively skewed in favour of PPC due to .XYZ. Just over 90% of .XYZ websites were on PPC in the June 26th web usage survey. However taking all the new gTLDs together like this is not a reliable way of measuring usage. Much of PPC is due to the registrar parking undeveloped domains on their own PPC landers rather putting these undeveloped domains on a Holding Page. Genuine PPC activity exists but Godaddy’s position in many of these new gTLDs accounts for major parts of the PPC activity.
Steven Sikes says
Curious. Have the gTLDs (registrations and concomitant revenues) hit the projections and assumptions that were presented in business plans to parties/investors?
At this stage, would the roll-out (reg and adoption rate) and launch of gTLD domains be considered, as expected,, better, lower? Too early to tell? Not enough data?
John McCormac says
At this stage some of the new gTLD projections should be in brown trousers territory. Generally the daily registrations patterns begin to stablise about six months after the Landrush day (start of General Availability). But the whole timescale with the new gTLDs is being compressed into days or weeks rather than months. A lot of new gTLDs are struggling to get significant registration volumes. Add ICANN’s bungling on data retention requirements (which were contrary to EU regulations) and a lot of European registrars have not been quite so enthusiastic about promoting new gTLDs. Perhaps there will be an increase in new gTLD registrations coming up to the Christmas market but at this stage, some new gTLDs are getting tens or hundreds of new registrations a day instead of thousands.
For me the story is less about how many end users are hosting websites on the domains and more about how many are redirecting them to their already established websites.
Given the opportunity for the ntlds to be more intuitive and offer greater ease of recall, I think this is a trend that we will see in the short to medium term.
Raymond Hackney says
Chris you mean someone who can get a short.whatever and then forward to their ThreeWord.com that is established ? It is certainly a concept for marketing, if you were at say AustinsBestPlumbing.com but you also market and advertise with Austin.plumbing. Some would be worried about confusion but I guess you could over time let users know it is just how you made it easier for them to find you.
Essentially, yes. Given the dearth of end user marketing this far, those who have bought in are likely to be early adopters / SEO-savvy businesses who aren’t going to abandon sites/addresses in which they have made significant investments and enjoy good SEM results. The first natural step for them is to make sure they acquire the names they like and at least get some utility out of them by putting a redirect in place, not set up a brand new website on it whilst general awareness is as low as it is.
Chris, keep in mind a URL forward gains nothing in terms of SEO and delivers almost none to the target. It’s more a marker of convenience. To properly utilize gTLDs or any domain really as a portal to an already established web site, is to provide unique content, with a link to the established site.
It is only proper utility of a domain if your goal is for that domain to provide search engine benefits.
In the immediate future, I don’t believe that the vast majority of end users, who have existing businesses with vested websites, will be too concerned about the SEO benefits of these secondary web addresses. I suspect that those early adopters who are engaged will simply be concerned with acquiring good, relevant addresses that they can do something with in the future, redirecting it to their site for now.
There’s also a good argument that if the new domain you purchase achieves a primary goal of being intuitive and easily recalled from above the line marketing, where it resolves to is irrelevant so long as the prospect surfs there directly.
I’m not saying what you say isn’t good practice (and I agree with your premise). What I am saying is that I dont believe end users will be investing time and money into establishing a presence in any .domain whilst there is still a general lack of understanding of the new landscape within their markets – why spend the money if you’re worried that people are going to put.com on the end? Hence, I find the significant % of redirects to be more interesting than the small % of websites in terms of understanding general take-up and would be interested to know more about what is going on in this segment.
Chris – The issue among domainers is the supposed hubris that will occur if anything ends in a non .com TLD. The fact is, that every ccTLD in existence covers the needs a .com does just fine, and that the current expansion into gTLD territory is through a need to overcome the lack of direct, meaningful keyword+TLD pairs. Back in the day, .org meant “organization” and .net meant “network” and these two were not touched for any commercial reason, had the .com been taken. The need for the keyword use reversed that. During the NamesCon keynote speech, the future – as perceived by corporate marketing departments – was explained. Providing unique experiences through the use of gTLDs for products and services is what all is about. Domainers need to open their eyes wide, at last.
A link to a summary I provided back then: http://domaingang.com/domain-news/namescon-there-is-no-way-that-the-gtlds-will-fail-change-is-the-law-of-life/