Anatomy of a Domain Name Land Rush

By John McCormac

The launch of a new or repurposed Top-Level Domain (TLD) is always surrounded with speculative activity. Some domainers will register domains in the new TLD with hopes of getting rich quick. Others will do so because the same domain in .com is worth a lot of money. And then there are the developers who see the prospect of building a carefully branded website in the new TLD. And with all those proposed new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), this cycle will be repeated. But what does a Domain Name Land Rush look like? It looks like this: Domain Landrush Graph .asia

The .asia sponsored Top-Level Domain (sTLD) is a very good example of how a new TLD evolves over the first few years of its operation. The Land Rush phase lasted from April 2008 to September 2008. During this time the numbers of new registrations massively outnumbered the numbers of deletions. For any new TLD, many of the domain name registrations during this period are speculative but there is also an element of brand protection as existing businesses register their brand in the new TLD. Brand protection registrations are a significant part of the registrations in new TLDs.

The end of the Land Rush phase in .asia occurred in September 2008. The volume of new registrations began to decline and the monthly registration figures started to move towards what would become the "normal" level of new registrations for .asia sTLD.

The first anniversary of the Land Rush phase is always a tough time for a new TLD. This is when many of the speculative registrations that could not be sold or monetised are dropped. This anniversary is sometimes referred to as the "Junk Dump". The deletions peaked in June 2009. However the interesting thing is that the numbers of new registrations remained relatively stable. The second Land Rush anniversary is when more of the domains that made it through the first anniversary are dropped. Some of these are reregistered domains that had been dropped in the first anniversary. The deletions in the second anniversary peaked in June 2010.

The new gTLDs will all go through a similar evolution. The Land Rush graphs may differ slightly but they will all have to deal with the first and second anniversaries and the deletions. But as with the gold rushes and the land rushes of old, those who made the real money sold the tools and supplies to the prospectors.

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

Related topics: Domain Names, Registry Services, New TLDs