Verisign Excludes .TK and 4 Other ccTLDs Due to ‘Unexplained Changes’ in Latest Quarterly Report

After total domain name registrations decreased by 2.7 million, or 0.7%, to 364.6 million in the third quarter of 2021, they were back on the up in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter of 2021 closed with 341.7 million domains across all TLDs, an increase of 3.3 million domain name registrations, or 1.0%, compared to the third quarter of 2021 according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief. Domain name registrations have increased by 1.6 million, or 0.5%, year over year.

Hang on! The number at the end of the third quarter was actually higher than that of the fourth! The reason is Verisign in the fourth quarter for the first time excluded the .tk (Tokelau), .cf (Central African Republic), .ga (Gabon), .gq (Equatorial Guinea) and .ml (Mali) ccTLDs. These are ccTLDs that offer free registrations with .tk having 24.7 domain name registrations at the end of the third quarter. And all 5 ccTLDs have registry services provided by a company called Freenom. Verisign explain these ccTLDs have been excluded “due to an unexplained change in available estimates for the .tk zone size and lack of verification from the registry operator for these TLDs.”

As of 31 December, there were 160.0 million .com domain names, while for .net, the second of Verisign’s big TLDs, there were 13.4 million domain names. Compared to 12 months ago there were 165.2 million .com domains while .net has stayed the same.

New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 10.6 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 10.5 million domain name registrations at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.

Total ccTLD domain name registrations were 127.4 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 0.7 million, or 0.6%, compared to the third quarter of 2021. ccTLDs decreased by 5.3 million registrations, or 4.0%, year-over-year. Excluding .cn, which experienced a registry-implemented zone reduction during 2021 of 9.4 million domain names, ccTLDs increased by 4.1 million, or 3.8%, year over year.

Total new gTLD registrations were 24.7 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 1.2 million, or 5.1%, compared to the third quarter of 2021. New gTLDs decreased by 1.3 million, or 5.2%, year over year.

To see past issues of The Domain Name Industry Brief, see: verisign.com/en_US/domain-names/dnib/domain-name-industry-brief-reports/index.xhtml

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