.Verisign published another edition of their Domain Name Industry Brief. I always enjoy reviewing the stats in this publication. The two stats I focus on are total domains worldwide and total COM/NET domains under management. As of Q4 2016:
329M Total domains
142M COM/NET domains
In short, the Domain business is still growing. Its interesting to read about the impact of the New TLDs as well. Verisign has a nice callout on the New TLD volume with .XYZ and .TOP leading at 1 and 2 respectively. As a side note, .XYZ is also ranked 9th overall in volume across all TLDs.
Outside of these volume figures, Verisign also discusses frequent keywords, DNS queries, and other tangential factors related to the domain registry business. I think it would be really interesting for VeriSign to start discussing where they believe the domain name growth is coming from. I think this the next natural step for Domain Name Industry Brief. One obvious step would be to interview the domain name registrars and get their perspective on what is driving COM/NET, gTLD, ccTLD, and New TLD growth. I would be very interested in their perspectives. Possibly even interviewing various registries as well on their perspective. On the same note would be very interested to understand the latest trends in the registrar channel:
Is Verisign still signing up Registrars? Or has this plateaued? Curious if organizations still value getting accredited so they can receive the direct wholesale cost from the registries. In addition, does this desire for lower pricing outweigh any issues they foresee with integrating around all the ICANN policies. With all the recent acquisitions, I wonder if the registrar number is even growing or is it shrinking based on the continuing consolidation?
Reading this doc again today really got me thinking about these growth questions. If there is really no new registrars entering the registrar channel, then it means domain name registries will be very reliant on the Top 10 registrars for volume/sales. In addition, it may also signal that the potential "registrars" are electing to utilize the "Reseller" option for domain sales. If that is true, then Tucows was smart to acquire eNom. They basically locked up the entire wholesale market. So, they may stand to benefit the most from any future registry growth incentives.