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There are now 184 million registered domain names and counting

Verisign, the registry that handles the .com and .net top-level domains (TLDs), has released a new edition of its quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief, a report covering trends within the domain name industry.

As usual the report is crammed full of data about domain name registration trends and which TLDs are the most popular. We’ve cherry-picked some of the more interesting data points for your reading pleasure.

Registrations across all TLDs

Counting all TLDs there are now 184 million registered domain names (to be precise, this was the number at the midpoint of 2009). About nine million new domain names were registered during the second quarter of 2009, but the total number of domain names only went up with about one million (because of dropped domain names, i.e. existing domain names that weren’t renewed).

Country code TLDs

There are now 74.4 million country code TLDs (ccTLDs), which means that 40% of all registered domain names are ccTLDs.

Out of the more than 240 ccTLDs in the world, the top 10 make up a full 66% of all domain registrations. It’s interesting to note that .us only comes in at number 10, probably due to the pervasive use of .com in the US.

Renewals are going down

An interesting trend revealed by the Verisign report is that the renewal rate for domain names has been decreasing for some time now, at least for .com and .net domain names. The trend is clearly visible:

If you compare Q2 2009 with Q2 2007, renewal rate for .com/.net has gone down from 76% to 70%. Looks like it’s been dropping with about three percent units per year, so it will be interesting to see if this will continue into 2010.

Exactly what this trend depends on isn’t discussed in the report, but one might speculate that due to the larger number of domain names in general there are fewer “good” ones that people want to keep just on speculation in the long run. That’s probably just part of the truth, though. (If you have other theories, please share them with us in the comments.)

In conclusion

A year ago, the number of domain names across all TLDs was 168 million, so with today’s 184 million that means the number has grown with more than 9%.

Then there’s the mystery of the slowing rate of domain name renewals. Again, if anyone has any theories, please feel free to chime in!