The Fastest-Growing New Top-Level Domains
By Peter Prestipino, Editor-In-Chief
The new generic top-level domains (or nTLDs) provide an opportunity to stand out from the digital crowd and as a result have quickly captured the attention of marketers.
In fact, just over 12 million have been registered to date, according to ntldstats.com, and industry interest just keeps growing. While the .COM extension certainly is not going away any time soon (particularly with nearly 300 million currently registered at the end of 2015), big brands and small businesses alike are not ruling out using one of the many alternative extensions available today.
Understanding which extensions are growing the fastest, however, provides the best opportunity to make a smart branding decision for the digital presence of a business moving forward - and there are many reliable resources that can be used to determine which extensions are a must, and which (at least so far) have been a bust.
NameState (namestate.org), for example, provides a running list of the biggest selling nTLDs as well as those that are the fastest growing. It's the latter that is most important to monitor for marketers and 'Net professionals because it relates directly to what is happening right now in the domain name landscape and how the industry will likely move forward.
Currently at NameState, .XYZ remains the fastest-growing (and most popular) nTLD. There are now 2 million-plus .XYZ extensions and nearly 40,000 are added each week on average (most consequently through Chinese registrar Chengdu). There are, of course, many other options if that particular extension doesn't match a brand's demands or expectations.
Other fast-growing extensions that have captured the attention of 'Net professionals include .CLUB (615,000 currently registered and averaging over 6,000 new registrations weekly on average at the time of writing), .TOP (1 million domains registered and 2,600 added weekly on average), .LOAN (161,000 registrations with 1,000 added weekly on average) and .WIN (600,000 registrations and 1,000 added weekly on average).
.SCIENCE, .LINK, .PARTY, .CLICK and others are also experiencing decent growth.
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One of the reasons that domains often grow so quickly is because of the promotions that are offered by registries and registrars alike. This encourages domain name speculation, which could inflate the potential and the perceived long-term importance of the extension.
There are some top-level domains that are planning for the future, however, and which should be on the virtual radar of 'Net professionals. New generic top-level domain .FEEDBACK, for example, entered into general availability recently and the extension could definitely be a contender in the competitive domain name space and prove appealing to brands for a few reasons. Not only is the .feedback extension being priced rather competitively (less than $30 at many registrars) but every domain comes with a free feedback platform. The available features are somewhat basic at this point (limited to submissions, voting and sharing capabilities, and some standard performance metrics), but it's the novelty of having a ready-made feedback platform that will likely be attractive to brands. Another interesting aspect of .feedback is that the registry has a policy that all registered domains need to resolve to a Web page that takes feedback. That should eliminate domain squatting as well as the scourge of inactive websites.
In comparison, nearly 65 percent of .xyz extensions resolve to a parked domain. This focus of encouraging the actual use of domains (rather than just registration for the purpose of speculation) is not unique to .feedback. Japanese domain name company GMO Registry, which recently won an auction for the rights to the new .SHOP top level domain (for a whopping $41.5 million price tag), is also forbidding speculation and trading of domains under the TLD.
Registration of a .shop domain name, according to the company's charter, is solely for the purpose of selling, exchanging, trading, leasing the domain name shall be deemed as inappropriate use or intent.
The domain name space is an exciting one and is important for today's digital enterprises to monitor.
Knowing which extensions are emerging and which are falling flat (or which are prone to speculation) provides an opportunity to make smart decisions about the branding of a digital presence.