Has COVID-19 Wounded New gTLDS As Almost 600,000 Registrations Shed In 2 Months

New gTLDs reached an all-time high of 33,736,338 registrations on 8 May, but just two months later on 8 July registrations have dropped 582,873 to 33,153,465 according to statistics from nTLDstats. Registrations amongst the 1,188 new gTLDs that are currently delegated were largely stable from around December 2018 to September 2019, hovering around the 26 million mark. They then grew 7.5 million in the next 8 months until the current slide and today have slipped just below the 33 million mark.

But why the decline is the question. To be honest, I don’t know. Initially I thought it might be Chinese registrants, particularly investors, selling down their portfolios as the world economy declines. Of registrants whose location is listed as China though registrations have increased over this two-month period by around 344,500 to 16.4 million as of 8 May. Chinese registrants accounted for 47.3% of all registrants. The only other country with more than one million new gTLD registrations is the USA, but even here registrations have grown 283,000 in the two-month period to 3.728 million, accounting for 10.7% of new gTLD registrations. As of 8 May there were 6.818 million new gTLD domains whose registration details are unknown, accounting for 19.6% of registrations, up 617,000 from 6.201 million.

Among the largest new gTLDs by registrations it’s been a mixed bag. The four largest have seen declines. .icu, the largest according to newTLDstats, with 5.969 million registrations has seen a decline of 154,000 while the second largest .top has seen a decline of 172,000 to 3.581 million. The third largest, .xyz, declined by 58,000 while .site was down 119,000. The fifth largest is .online and is the first to show an increase, growing by 21,000 during the period. Rounding out the top ten is .club (+25,300 over the two months), .wang (-2,700), .vip (-111,400), .live (+6,600) and .app (+19,900).

Positions 11 through 20 have seen six declines and four increases. .shop, currently in 11th place declined 63,180, .work (-465), .buzz (+39,000), .fun (-39,500), .space (-10,300), .store (+21,700), .website (-3,900), .tech (+155), .gdn (-1,394) and .life (+5,800).

It’s possible the decline is random. Looking back at previous years has seen a mixed bag over the same two-month period with three years showing an increase, one a decrease. In 2019 over the same two month period there was an increase of only 113,570 to 26,027,747, in 2018 an increase of 1.01 million to 23,939,842 in 2017 there was a decline of 853,500 to 27.13 million, in 2016 there was an increase of 5.66 million to 23,096,264.

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