.FR Grows 3.7% In 2019 And Closes In On 3.5 Million Domains

France’s ccTLD grew 3.7% in 2019, totalling 3,428,951 domain names under management as of 31 December, an increase of 123,655 in the 12 months according to Afnic’s Annual Report released this week. This makes .fr the ninth largest ccTLD in the world according to Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief.

Growth among many TLDs has plateaued or declined in recent years, so the growth is unusual. According to the most recent CENTRstats Global TLD Report, among the ten largest TLDs, only three grew more: .com (4.8%), .uk (8.7%) and .icu, the largest of the new gTLDs which launched in 2018, grew by 1,599.5%.

Back to .fr, the 2019 increase was down on 2018’s growth of 4.4%, but was still well above that of the French domain name market as a whole.

Afnic operates the registry for a number of French territories: .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna), .yt (Mayotte). These grew 5.5% during the year.

In addition to the territories, they also provide registry services for a number of .brand new gTLDs: .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc, .sncf, .lancaster, .total, .aquarelle and .bostik. These grew 2.4% for the year, although for these total registrations are not an important indicator.

Afnic saw total revenues in 2019 grow 4.7% to over €17M. There were also 176 projects supported by the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity with €3.87m allocated in four years.

In other highlights for 2019, the Activity Report notes a number of partnerships and programmes:

  • In February, Afnic and INPI (French National Industrial Property Institute) signed a partnership agreement aimed at facilitating processes for enterprise creators to file trademarks and register domain names at the same time. This joint educational effort represents an opportunity for both organisations to improve coordination of their actions aimed at improving the security of entrepreneurs’ intellectual property.
  • The “Réussir-en.fr” [Succeed with .fr] support programme, with its practical workshop initiative Foliweb , deployed in partnership with Neocamino, continues to gain traction. More than 15,000 VSEs/SMEs took part in 2019, illustrating Afnic’s tangible and practical contribution to the digital transformation.
  • In October, Afnic launched a variation of its platform Réussir-en.fr for young people aged 18-25, offering educational content, tutorials and advice to manage their online presence. This initiative to promote digital identity is reinforced by a partnership with the French federation of student associations (FFBDE – Fédération Française des Bureaux d’Étudiants) to train ambassadors to run workshops at schools and universities.

There was also a study that looked at the popularity and reputation of .fr. Conducted towards the end of the year by independent polling institute (MV2), the study confirmed the positive image of France’s country code top-level domain (ccTLD) with over a third (36.7%) of people asked about the domain names they are familiar with mentioning .fr as their first response, ahead of the .com (29.5%).

Afnic’s 2019 Annual Report is available here [pdf].

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