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Domain Registrations Slow to Top 184 Million

The total number of Internet domain names continues increasing, but there are signs that growth could be slowing.

According to VeriSign's second-quarter 2009 Domain Name Industry Brief report, there are now 184 million domain names registered globally, a 9 percent increase over the same quarter of last year.

The .com and .net top-level domains (TLDs) now account for a total of 93.5 million registered domains, which is a 7 percent increase on a year-over-year basis. Country Code TLDs (ccTLDs) now number 74.4 million domain names, which is also a 7 percent increase on a year-over-year basis.

While the total number of domains is growing, the rate of growth is being impacted by a reduction in the number of new domain registrations.

VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) said in its report that, "around nine million new domain names were registered across all of the TLDs in the second quarter of 2009." Still, that figure represents a 15 percent decline from the second quarter of 2008.

"The overall base of domain names grew by 9 percent year-over-year and 1 percent quarter-over-quarter," Jill McNabb, vice president of naming services at VeriSign, told InternetNews.com. "While the number of new registrations declined, there were new registrations coming in, thus resulting in the growth of the overall base."

McNabb said the continued growth in domain name registrations in the second quarter of 2009 was in line with expectations. VeriSign has seen that there is seasonality in domain name registrations with the second quarter of the year dropping from the first.

"In the second quarter 2009, the impact of seasonality as well as the overall weak economic conditions impacted the number of new registrations for both gTLD and ccTLD registrations, though the ccTLD decline was much larger," McNabb said.

Earlier this year, McNabb had told InternetNews.com that VeriSign had been pleased to see better-than-expected growth during the first quarter of 2009. At the end of that quarter, VeriSign reported that 11.8 million new domain names had been registered among a total base of 183 million domain names globally.

While the current economy is still a challenge, McNabb noted that VeriSign is cautiously optimistic that overall economic environment is stabilizing.

"As the macro global economy turns around, domain name registration should see continued growth in the future," McNabb said.