Domain name industry thrives despite the gloom

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Domain name industry thrives despite the gloom

The domain name industry has defied the economic gloom by posting 16 per cent growth last year compared to 2007, according to the latest figures from VeriSign.

The .com registry's Fourth Quarter 2008 Domain Name Industry Brief revealed that 24 million new domain names were created in 2008, boosting the total across all top-level domains (TLDs) to 177 million.

The TLDs with the most registrations are .com, .cn (China), .de (Germany), .net and .org. The .uk is sixth in the list, with 13 per cent growth during 2008.

Tobias Wann, European leader of domain name services at VeriSign, explained that the creation of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) will spur more growth in the future.

"Despite all the turmoil we're seeing around us, the [domain name industry] is still growing significantly, specifically on the international side," he said.

"Demand has now been created for fully international TLDs, to the left and right of the dot, which will result in a lot of growth opportunities for everyone involved. But there are still a couple of technical and business challenges to be resolved before this can be implemented."

Wann added that "interoperability and interconnectivity" issues still need resolving to ensure a consistent user experience when accessing IDNs before they can be launched.

"We must make sure that, whatever we implement, the user experience stays the same wherever you are. We need to be technically ready to support them," he said.

Wann explained that the advent of new generic TLDs (gTLDs) would help to further expand and grow the market.

However, Phil Kingsland, director of marketing and communications at .uk registry Nominet, was more cautious about the planned expansion, arguing that it is still difficult to predict whether the new gTLDs will be well received.

"There is definitely great opportunity for organisations interested in owning one of the gTLDs, as this will give them significant potential to create their own space on the internet," he said.

"There are also challenges, namely cost and how organisations will defend their brand against online infringement if they do not defensively register every suffix."

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