Alternative Domains Surge

Interest in the relatively new global top-level domains (gTLD) is showing signs of taking off in the Internet community, according a to report published by VeriSign Wednesday.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based registry company’s quarterly “Domain Name Industry Brief” shows registration gains for .biz (2 percent), .info (5 percent) and .name (1 percent).

According to the report, the three domains gained a percentage point in the total number of domain addresses in use today in relation to other extensions from the previous quarter.

They’re still a very small piece of the domain-name pie, however, compared to industry giants .com (46 percent), .de (11 percent) and .net (7 percent). But it shows the Internet community might be looking elsewhere to get an Internet address.

Raynor Dahlquist, VeriSign vice president of naming services, said the gains to .name, .biz and .info can be attributed to an aggressive pricing campaign to generate interest in the extensions.

The growth, she said, is continued evidence in the confidence people have in continuing to register and renew domain names across the board and an indication of the market’s health.

”The economy still seems to be smiling favorably on the Internet industry in terms of growth,” she said.

The domain extensions are three of seven TLDs selected by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in November 2000 to expand the base of available domain names for consumers past .com, .net and .org.

Both .biz and .info went through growing pains in their early days. Registrars at .biz didn’t account for the number of resellers, a situation that caused delays at the launch; .info managers ran into a similar problem with underestimated demand.

Despite the initial demand from copyright and trademark holders, domain-name speculators and cyber squatters, there’s been little growth from the seven relative to the established .com and .net.

The .com gTLD saw its first decline in some time, in relation to the other extensions. It dropped from 47 percent of total domain names to 46 percent, though it still holds a dominating position.

It’s not certain exactly how much .com has declined in the past quarter since VeriSign doesn’t break down the numbers of its .com and .net registries individually . Officials said the combined total of the two extensions reached 44.2 million this past quarter.

The total number of Internet domain names has increased in the last quarter, a 7.8 percent jump from 76.9 million to 82.9 million. New registrations for the quarter numbered more than 8.1 million, a 20 percent increase from last quarter’s more than 6.7 million.

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