The Ghosts of Deletions Future – December 2018 Versus December 2019

By John McCormac

In the absence of data on renewals and deletions which are yet to happen, it can be enlightening to compare the domain names from the zone files of a year ago to the domain names in the current zones. The first group is the legacy gTLDs. The "Retained" domain names are those still in the December 2019 zone files. The "Deleted" domain names are those which are no longer in the current zones. Some of the retained domain names may have been reregistered, but these are not renewals charts. That is something completely different. What these tables provide is a quick snapshot of the performance of December 2018 domain names.

gTLD - Dec-18 - Retained - Deleted - Retained % - Deleted %

COM - 137,079,290 - 113,328,636 - 23,750,654 - 82.67% - 17.33%
NET - 13,814,821 - 11,199,790 - 2,615,031 - 81.07% - 18.93%
ORG - 10,239,250 - 8,519,055 - 1,720,195 - 83.20% - 16.80%
BIZ - 2,167,172 - 1,293,712 - 873,460 - 59.70% - 40.30%
INFO - 4,866,076 - 3,420,801 - 1,445,275 - 70.30% - 29.70%
MOBI - 423,787 - 341,130 - 82,657 - 80.50% - 19.50%
ASIA - 202,207 - 156,337 - 45,870 - 77.32% - 22.68%
CAT - 106,887 - 91,746 - 5,141 - 85.83% - 14.17%
COOP - 7,822 - 7,139 - 683 - 91.27% - 8.73%
JOBS - 46,483 - 43,330 - 3,153 - 93.22% - 6.78%
MUSEUM - 551 - 487 - 64 - 88.38% - 11.62%
NAME - 131,702 - 114,304 - 17,398 - 86.79% - 13.21%
PRO - 289,737 - 176,753 - 112,984 - 61.00% - 39.00%
TEL - 74,524 - 62,586 - 11,938 - 83.98% - 16.02%
TRAVEL - 17,064 - 14,011 - 3,053 - 82.11% - 17.89%
XXX - 92,352 - 90,335 - 2,017 - 97.82% - 2.18%

The core legacy gTLDs, .COM/NET/ORG, all have relatively low deletions as would be expected. The .BIZ and .INFO have slightly higher deletions due, in part, to some promotional registrations dropping out of the zone files over the year. The .CAT, .COOP, .JOBS, .MUSEUM and .TRAVEL are all targeting specific niche markets. They are not truly generic TLDs. In some respects, a managed TLD means lower registration numbers but potentially higher levels of retention. The performance of the .XXX gTLD is exceptional, but it depends on brand protection registrations, which are in the zone file but not active. Brand protection registrations provide dependable revenue for registries as they keep on renewing without fail for as long as the business survives or considers the TLD to be relevant.

The new gTLDs form a more complex set of TLDs. Many of the top new gTLDs have used discounting promotions to grow their zone files. Discounted registrations do not generally renew well, if at all. This is because the registration fee for discounted registrations can jump from under $1 in the first year to over $10 in the second year.

gTLD - Dec-18 - Retained - Deleted - Retained % - Deleted %

top - 3,514,579 - 615,317 - 2,899,262 - 17.51% - 82.49%
loan - 2,196,438 - 21,540 - 2,174,898 - 0.98% - 99.02%
xyz - 2,035,492 - 683,612 - 1,351,880 - 33.58% - 66.42%
club - 1,140,507 - 367,484 - 773,023 - 32.22% - 67.78%
online - 955,912 - 404,426 - 551,486 - 42.31% - 57.69%
vip - 736,195 - 533,848 - 202,347 - 72.51% - 27.49%
site - 712,393 - 268,649 - 443,744 - 37.71% - 62.29%
ltd - 550,503 - 194,087 - 356,416 - 35.26% - 64.74%
work - 477,829 - 139,610 - 338,219 - 29.22% - 70.78%
shop - 474,285 - 188,186 - 286,099 - 39.68% - 60.32%

The full table of the new gTLD comparison is on HosterStats.com: Deleted and Retained Domain names in new gTLDs December 2018

The ex-Famous Four Media gTLDs, now operated by GRS Domains, all had high levels of deletions over 2019. This was due to the wholesale fee for the domain names being raised in August 2018. It resulted in most of the discounted registrations being deleted from these new gTLDs over 2019. However, this has started the process of rebuilding these gTLDs. The top new gTLDs have differing levels of deletions because their zones are often are a mix of full-fee registrations and discounted registrations. This is further complicated by the fact that the registrations in these gTLDs have a complex geography.

With .COM, the largest percentage of its registrations are on US registrars. This is not the case for all of the new gTLDs. The US registrations on US registrars are less than 50% of the market on some new gTLDs. The economies of these other countries will have an effect on the registrations and their retention or deletions in these gTLDs.

The new gTLDs did not benefit from brand protection registrations in the same way that the legacy gTLDs did. Brand protection is more than a trademark or service owner. It is more often small business owners registering their domain name in a new TLD. These are the ones who develop websites and drive registrations. The large brand owners are invisible to users of new TLDs because their brand is so strong. People don't add the TLD when they mention Facebook or Google. Getting these small businesses to develop websites and use new TLDs is one of the hardest tasks for the new TLD registries. Even five years after the first new gTLDs went into General Availability, web usage in the new gTLDs is still a work in progress.

By John McCormac, CIO of www.hosterstats.com. Visit the blog maintained by John McCormac here.

Related topics: Domain Management, DNS, Domain Names, Registry Services, New TLDs

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