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The Chinese Domain Name Bubble Bursts

John Yunker

Nearly one year ago, I asked Will .CN become the next .COM (also discussed here on CircleID)?

And perhaps I was right in more ways than one.

Because now it appears that .CN is experiencing its very own .COM bust.

Just a year ago Chinese domain registrations were booming, so quickly in fact that .CN had surpassed .DE to become the most-registered ccTLD.

Of course, registrations were cheap, really cheap.

A year later, those domains have come up for renewal. And, according to Domain Pulse, more than a million Chinese have decided against renewing:

Registrations for .CN have declined from an end-of-month peak of 14,082,553 in February 2009 to 12,545,589, a decline of approximately 1.5 million

Which means Germany (.DE), as just under 13 million registrations, has regained the top spot as the number one ccTLD.

Even with ccTLDs, there are peaks and troughs, as illustrated here:

I'm still confident that .CN will reign supreme (perhaps until .IN gives it some competition).

By John Yunker, Author and founder of Byte Level Research
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Related topics: Domain Names, New TLDs

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Re: The Chinese Domain Name Bubble Bursts Fergie  –  Aug 18, 2009 9:07 PM PST

.CN is also the weakest ccTLD policy-wise — they DO NOT enforce abuse requests, and are the most abused ccTLD on the planet insofar as being used by Russian/Ukrainian cyber criminals.

I would not consider that a success story.

- ferg

Chinese? The Famous Brett Watson  –  Aug 18, 2009 9:14 PM PST

...more than a million Chinese have decided against renewing…

What makes you think that they were Chinese, as opposed to, say, spammers and malware pushers of indeterminate ethnicity who registered random disposable domain names in bulk for strategic (blacklist-evading) reasons? Next question: did the miscreants find cheaper domain name pickings elsewhere, or are too many places blacklisting the whole of .cn pre-emptively now?

Correction John Yunker  –  Aug 18, 2009 9:18 PM PST

Brett — good point. I didn't mean to call out a people — just the domain (and those who manage it).

Re: Correction Fergie  –  Aug 18, 2009 9:25 PM PST

Hi John,

The problem is that "domainers" keep looking at the domain "sales" and registations, and call it a "success".

We look at the abuse and call it a miserable failure, due to the fact that .CN administration (and child registrars) do not respond to abuse requests, and abuse in .CN is *rampant*.

It is — by far — a the most abused ccTLD on the planet, and criminals know it.

And the est of the Internet suffers.

If this persists, the rest of the world is likely to firewall themselves off from .CN, ironically the opposite of simialar situations insiade of China.

- ferg

Lets get a few things straight. The David Wrixon  –  Aug 22, 2009 5:26 AM PST

Lets get a few things straight. The boom occurred when the previously heavily discounted ASCII names were opened up to the rest of the World. Americans and others piled into worthless English Generics in a dot CN extension. It was always madness and it was always going to implode, but the Chinese made a fast buck. Obviously the economic contraction in the West has played a role. If anything within China, as it focuses more on its own internal market domain names will become more important than ever. However, it is now clear that most of the names that will be needed won't be in Latin script which is why they are now getting junked. Once the secondary market in Chinese IDN becomes firmly established the buying frenzy will happen again, but it will be more subdue as Chinese Script dot CN always have been and will remain quite expensive.

If you are going to write articles on China at least have the courtesy to do a little research first.

That .cn registration figures rose dramatically is Michele Neylon  –  Aug 28, 2009 6:20 PM PST

That .cn registration figures rose dramatically is hardly surprising when you consider how cheap they were.
As already mentioned, there's no way to know if the registrants were Chinese or not, unless the registry releases figures on that. Do they?
Spammers, phishers and fraudsters will always flock to cheap domain registrations if sufficient controls aren't in place. Of course, as will happen, we'll all notice the abusers more than the legitimate registrants, which is a pity, but hardly surprising.
It'll be interesting to see how things pan out in the next few years.

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