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.APP gTLD Signs of Life Web Usage Survey

When a new TLD goes into General Availability or Land Rush, the first few days are filled with registrations that reflect how the market perceives the TLD. Registrants may register domain names to develop or for speculative purposes. Others register to protect their brand. The first major web usage survey for a new TLD is generally a Signs of Life survey where the early stages of development can be detected. These surveys were based on the May 19th, 2018 .APP zone file.

A web usage survey determines how domain names are being used, or not used for websites. HosterStats.com uses approximately 28 different categories of usage in these surveys ranging from actively developed websites to Social Media pages as websites. These usage categories are grouped into simpler Content/No Content/Redirects (CNR) classifications. In a newly launched TLD, actual web usage is normally low because few registrants have developed websites that are ready to launch as the TLD goes into General Availability. There is a kind of development curve for domain names. Some new registrations will have fully functional websites from their registration date but many will take time before a working website appears on the domain name.

The .APP gTLD is an unusual gTLD in that it is supposed to be secure from the start with a heavy reliance on HTTPS. Like all such great aspirations, it runs into the brick wall of reality. The reality is that many domain names are not developed and are often on holding pages provided by the registrars. Some registrars automatically park these undeveloped domain names on PPC advertising landing pages. As with any Gold Rush, there's gold but it takes time and effort to find it. Developed websites are like gold for the registries because a domain name with a developed website is more likely to be renewed than one that is undeveloped. Typically, over 70% of the domain names that are deleted have no developed website.

There are two surveys in this .APP Signs of Life Survey.

The first is the standard non-HTTPS one.

Content: 1.15%
No Content: 86.97%
Redirects: 11.88%
(HTTPS redirects (part of the Redirects): 3.12%)

The second is the HTTPS survey.

Content: 1.21%
No Content: 95.95%
Redirects: 2.84%
(HTTPS redirects: 1%)

There are signs of life in the .APP gTLD. However, the HTTPS angle has made it somewhat more complex for registrants. This is not quite in the same category as the .MOBI registry and its standards for mobile web content. HTTPS is a major feature of web usage in many TLDs and the percentage of HTTPS websites and redirects to HTTPS websites is continuing to increase in other gTLDs and ccTLDs. In both the non-HTTPS web usage survey and the HTTPS survey redirects to HTTPS sites were present.

The Land Rush period in a normal, mass-market TLD can last as long as six months before normal registration patterns emerge. With some of the new gTLDs, especially with those with a higher than .COM registration fee, the Land Rush patterns are dampened in that the massive, million-plus registrations in the first few weeks are not seen and speculative registrations tend to be more precisely focused. Over the next few months, the acceptance of .APP by the market and the development of .APP websites by the registrants may increase. However, the registry has to play its part and promote the gTLD.

By John McCormac, CIO of www.hosterstats.com
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