The amount of internet domain-name registrations is soaring again. During the first three months of this year the amount broke the quarterly registrations record of the second quarter of 2000.
According to the report from Verisign a total of 4.7 million new domain names were registrated in the first quarter of this year. This makes a total of 63 million domain names.
"Looking back, we've not seen this kind of growth since the speculative bubble," said Raynor Dahlquist, acting vice president of naming services at VeriSign, the Mountain View, Calif., registry that manages the .com and .net domains.
The latest resurgence in registrations, though, appears to be a result of an improving economy as well as greater use of the Internet, Dahlquist said. It comes as more domain names are resolving to an active site, signaling a move away from the speculative buying during the dot-com era, she said.
In Q2 2000 about 4.5 million domain names were registered, but much of those were from individuals and businesses trying to buy popular domain-names to sell them with profit afterwards. Most of the current registrations are more legitimate.
Within the .com and .net domains, the percentage of names associated with live Web sites has increased over the past 12 months from 61 percent to 64 percent. Compare that to December 2002, when 55 percent of domain names matched a live site. Meanwhile parked Web sites, those associated with a domain name but not actively being used, have dropped from 12 percent of names to 8 percent over the past 12 months, VeriSign reported.
At the end of the first quarter, the .com domain remained the most popular, accounting for 45 percent of registered names. The country code domains .de (Germany) and .uk (United Kingdom) followed in the second and third tops spots, respectively, while the .net domain was fourth.
VeriSign's contract for managing the .net domain is due to expire next year, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the domain name system, is developing a process for opening that domain to bidders. VeriSign also challenging ICANN's authority in a lawsuit against the non-profit organization.