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Domain development success story: From expired domain to $22,000, but…

January 18, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Domain development success story: From expired domain to $22,000, but…

The way this guy cashed in on his expired domain might give you pause.

The New York Times published a story today that could be considered a domain name development success story. An exciting expired-domain-to-riches story.

Or something much worse.

The Times profiled Cameron Harris, a recent college graduate who wrote some of the most successful fake news stories of the presidential election season.

Harris explained that he found the expired domain name ChristianTimesNewspaper.com through ExpiredDomains.net. He then concocted fake news stories, published them to his site, and nudged them to go viral.

His biggest hit was BREAKING: “Tens of thousands” of fraudulent Clinton votes found in Ohio warehouse.

He earned $5,000 in Google Adsense revenue by getting gullible people to click and share that one article.

Harris was also behind popular fake news stories such as “NYPD Looking to Press Charges Against Bill Clinton for Underage Sex Ring,” “Protesters Beat Homeless Veteran to Death in Philadelphia,” and “Hillary Clinton Files for Divorce in New York Courts.”

(Sadly, I recall seeing some of these articles in my Facebook feed leading up to the election.)

So, on one hand, we have someone who developed an expired domain from nothing to $22,000 in revenue with little work. On the other hand, you might question the ethics behind it.

Oh, and Google turned off the Adsense ads on the site when it decided to crack down on fake news. I’ve found that overnight success online that seems too good to be true usually ends quickly.



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End user domain name sales, including one by a $25 billion company

January 18, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on End user domain name sales, including one by a $25 billion company

$25 billion company was among domain name buyers at Sedo last week.

The buyer of DrinkingAndDriving.COM is excited about the domain change.

Sedo had a great sales week. Some of the better sales still have whois privacy or are in escrow . Was BonApp.com (€15,000) the publication Bon Appetit? We can probably guess what the buyer of the descriptive domain CodeReview.com ($13,499) will do with the domain.

The domain names below were sold on Sedo this past week and the buyers are end users. Many of them have already been put to use:

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

FoodFuture.com $25,000 – Food & Future says it “empowers people to better understand their 
food and have greater control over their food choices”. It previously used the domain name FoodFutureEcoLab.com.

Best.CreditCard $10,900 – there’s already a credit card comparison site live on the domain. The buyer must have some experience that suggests that domains that span the dot like this work for SEO.

Fayr.com $6,200 – The buyer also owns the domain Fayr101.com, but that domain isn’t resolving right now.

RentalYard.co.uk $6,000 – Sandhills Publishing already owns the .com and is forwarding the .co.uk to it.

Innovation360.com $5,000 – Innovation 360 Group AB in Sweden

ParkTerrace.com $5,000 – Hotelier Club Quarters bought the domain name, likely for a new hotel property.

PriorityDirect.com $5,000 – Saint-Gobain has over 100 brands. This is likely to be a new one. The company has a $25 billion market cap.

Bruk.co $5,000 – A guy whose last name is Bruk. He already owns the .com.

Lumenaid.com $3,100 – Lumenaid is a lighting company. Get it? Lumenaid?

Marajo.com $2,888 – A MarkMonitor client bought this domain name.

Landsoft.com $2,800 – The buyer appears to be in real estate, and this domain name would be good for software related to land sales.

Acmeo.com $2,700 – acmeo GmbH & Co. KG currently uses the domain name acmeo.EU.

HCG.io $2,600 – the whois currently shows Hoenick Consulting GmbH, making this an acronym domain.

DrinkingandDriving.com $2,377 – The owner of DrinkingandDriving.org was psyched to get this domain, as evidenced by the updated logo.



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End user domain name sales, including one by a $25 billion company

January 18, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on End user domain name sales, including one by a $25 billion company

$25 billion company was among domain name buyers at Sedo last week.

The buyer of DrinkingAndDriving.COM is excited about the domain change.

Sedo had a great sales week. Some of the better sales still have whois privacy or are in escrow . Was BonApp.com (€15,000) the publication Bon Appetit? We can probably guess what the buyer of the descriptive domain CodeReview.com ($13,499) will do with the domain.

The domain names below were sold on Sedo this past week and the buyers are end users. Many of them have already been put to use:

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

FoodFuture.com $25,000 – Food & Future says it “empowers people to better understand their 
food and have greater control over their food choices”. It previously used the domain name FoodFutureEcoLab.com.

Best.CreditCard $10,900 – there’s already a credit card comparison site live on the domain. The buyer must have some experience that suggests that domains that span the dot like this work for SEO.

Fayr.com $6,200 – The buyer also owns the domain Fayr101.com, but that domain isn’t resolving right now.

RentalYard.co.uk $6,000 – Sandhills Publishing already owns the .com and is forwarding the .co.uk to it.

Innovation360.com $5,000 – Innovation 360 Group AB in Sweden

ParkTerrace.com $5,000 – Hotelier Club Quarters bought the domain name, likely for a new hotel property.

PriorityDirect.com $5,000 – Saint-Gobain has over 100 brands. This is likely to be a new one. The company has a $25 billion market cap.

Bruk.co $5,000 – A guy whose last name is Bruk. He already owns the .com.

Lumenaid.com $3,100 – Lumenaid is a lighting company. Get it? Lumenaid?

Marajo.com $2,888 – A MarkMonitor client bought this domain name.

Landsoft.com $2,800 – The buyer appears to be in real estate, and this domain name would be good for software related to land sales.

Acmeo.com $2,700 – acmeo GmbH & Co. KG currently uses the domain name acmeo.EU.

HCG.io $2,600 – the whois currently shows Hoenick Consulting GmbH, making this an acronym domain.

DrinkingandDriving.com $2,377 – The owner of DrinkingandDriving.org was psyched to get this domain, as evidenced by the updated logo.



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Interesting UDRP involving Capital One and a “reviews” domain name

January 18, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Interesting UDRP involving Capital One and a “reviews” domain name

National Arbitration panelist gives nuanced discussion of using a trademark term in a domain name that could be used for criticism.

Banking giant Capital One has lost a cybersquatting complaint brought against the owner of CapitalOneReviews.com, a domain name registered in October last year.

It’s a well-reasoned case that examines the use of trademarks in domain names intended to be used as gripe or review sites.

Panelist Charles A. Kuechenmeister closely examined all three prongs of the UDRP and the varying viewpoints on how it applies to sites like CapitalOneReviews.com.

Identical and/or Confusingly Similar

There are two schools of thought that apply to domain names that include derogatory terms or terms that suggest a domain name is not owned by the trademark holder.

One school is that a domain name isn’t confusingly similar if it includes a term that tells internet users that they shouldn’t expect the site to be owned by the trademark holder. So if the domain is CompanyNameSucks.com, a typical internet user will not be confused into visiting the site thinking it’s operated by the company.

The other school is that all that matters is that the domain name contains the trademark or something similar.

Kuechenmeister opted for the second school of thought, and he gave a fairly good rationale:

Finally, because the Policy requires a complainant to prove all three elements set forth in Policy ¶ 4(a) in order to prevail, a respondent could avoid transfer of its domain name in cases involving manifest bad faith and patently deceptive practices simply by crafting a domain name that clearly implies independence and separation from the trademark owner and its business, while the resolving website fails to deliver on the services represented or implied by the domain name, or is a simple bait-and-switch or other fraudulent type of operation. To use the example of the term “reviews” present in this case, a respondent could register a domain titled for a website that offered sham reviews of that bank and then directed consumers to the services of another bank, perhaps one owned by or affiliated with the respondent itself. If a panel, applying the expanded, more restrictive standard, found that the domain name was not identical or confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark in such a case, it would not have an opportunity to address the fraudulent and deceptive practices occurring in the website under either of the other two elements articulated in subparagraphs (ii) and (iii) of Policy ¶ 4(a). The respondent would have prevailed on the Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) element, and the case would be over. This would result in manifest injustice and frustrate the purposes for which the Policy was developed.

Note that Kuechenmeister did consider this issue in the third prong.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

The respondent in this case primarily argued rights or legitimate interests based on nominative fair use. Here, he had a Catch-22.

On the one hand, he argued that the case was brought only a couple of months after he registered the domain name so he hasn’t had time to develop it yet. On the other hand, since he hasn’t had time to develop it yet and show how he will use the domain, it’s difficult to show rights or legitimate interests. Kuechenmeister explained the issue and decided in Capital One’s favor on the second prong:

In this case, the Respondent presently has no active website associated with the Domain Name. He points out that he registered the Domain Name only a couple of months before Complainant filed this proceeding, and the WHOIS information contained on Exhibit B to the Complaint corroborates this, showing a creation date of October 2, 2016. This probably is not sufficient time within which to develop his planned reviews website. He may have made demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Name for this purpose but as Complainant points out he failed to submit any real evidence of this, and all the Panel has at this point is his unsupported statement that he plans to use the Domain Name for a website on which reviews of Complainant’s products and services may be posted and read. He offers no details about how or even whether he intends to use the website to generate revenues. This shortcoming is problematic but not material, however, because without an actual website in place it is impossible for the Panel to determine whether the requirements articulated in [Nominative Fair Use case examples] are (or will be) met. He certainly is not presently offering the services promised by the Domain Name, and there is no way to determine whether the site will offer genuine reviews of Complainant’s products and services or something altogether different, such as a bait-and-switch program whose primary purpose is to direct consumers to other providers of banking and/or financial services. Respondent’s temporary website has a prominent disclaimer and link to the Complainant’s website, and Respondent has registered only the Domain Name at issue in this case, so there is no evidence that he would attempt to “corner the market” as described in Oki Data. Nevertheless, without an actual website in operation, it is impossible for him to demonstrate that his website, when completed, will meet the requirements for a successful nominative fair use defense.

Registration and Use in Bad Faith

OK, so the respondent can’t show rights in the domain name yet because he hasn’t launched the site. But how can Capital One show registration in bad faith after just a couple months with the site not being launched yet?

As to Complainant’s first argument, that the resolving website is not currently active, Respondent registered the Domain Name on October 2, 2016, less than 60 days before Complainant initiated this proceeding…Respondent explains that although the Domain Name resolved to a page that stated “Under Development” when the Complaint was filed, he has since caused it to point to his new easywayreviews.com website, which he says is still under construction and “progress is being made.” He furnished a screenshot of that website which corroborates his statement that work is being done…He further explains his decision to register the Domain Name before the website would be operational as motivated by his desire to avoid investing the time and expense to develop the website only to discover when it was finished that the name was no longer available. Complainant cited a number of cases in which the panels have held that simply registering and keeping a domain without an active website is evidence of bad faith, but in this case the period of inactivity is very short. Respondent has made credible representations and has furnished documentary evidence in the form of his Exhibit A screenshot that he not only intends to create a functioning website but is actively working on it. The Panel understands and agrees that a respondent who registers and holds a domain name for an extended period of time without making any use of it can be guilty of bad faith but two months is not long enough for the inactivity to evidence bad faith registration and use. The facts of this case do not support a finding of bad faith registration and use based upon the mere absence of an active website at this time.

Kuechenmeister also noted:

The term “review” by its very nature implies independence and distance from the object of the review. Moreover, the services offered on a reviews website are wholly distinct from those offered by the vendor being reviewed. Internet users seeking to contact Complainant would not be attracted to Respondent’s reviews website because it would not be expected to be owned or operated by Complainant and would not normally enable the user to contact Complainant. While the Domain Name clearly indicates that the resolving website would be about Complainant, it also indicates that it is not owned, sponsored or endorsed by Complainant. There is no evidence of any intent on Respondent’s part to lure consumers to his website under the impression that it is Complainant’s site.

Capital One also pointed to the respondent’s registration using whois privacy, and Kuechenmeister shot down the idea that this is evidence of bad faith.



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Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Two scheduling tools to make NamesCon a success

January 17, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Two scheduling tools to make NamesCon a success

Here are two ways to make sure you don’t miss great content at NamesCon next week.

The NamesCon app

NamesCon is just five days away!

There are a lot of concurrent sessions during NamesCon, so you will definitely want to plan ahead of time. Here are two tools to help with this.

NamesCon app

The NamesCon app has a simple scheduling tool. Just scroll through the list, select which sessions you want to attend, and then the app will create a customized agenda for you. The app also has great messaging capabilities to connect with other people attending the conference. You can download the app in the Apple app store or Google Play.

DNPric.es Simple Schedule

If you want to kick it old school and simple, check out this easy-to-read version of the schedule collated by DNPric.es. It’s very simple to see which sessions are running at which times and to select the one you want to attend. Update: I forgot the link! Here you go.

Oh, and one final tip…I’ll be on stage for “Bloggers Broadcast” on Wednesday at noon.



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Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Lawsuit filed to recover stolen 4-number domain names

January 17, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Lawsuit filed to recover stolen 4-number domain names

Previous owner says two four-digit domain names were stolen.

Thomas Keefe, Jr. has filed an in rem lawsuit (pdf) in U.S. federal district court to recover domain names he alleges were stolen from his eNom account.

Keefe alleges that the domain names 1414.com and 6144.com were stolen in December 2015, although he didn’t notice the theft until October 2016.

His lawsuit includes a number of claims, including violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. For this, he is claiming common law trademark protection in the domains due to his long use in connection with paid advertising services (i.e., domain parking).

According to the suit, Keefe used eNom’s two-factor authentication, so it’s not clear how the domains were stolen.

That said, the domain name 1414.com sure did get around after the apparent theft. I count nine different owners in whois since the alleged theft, according to DomainTools historical whois records.

Keefe is represented by Attison Barnes and David Weslow of Wiley Rein. Wiley Rein is also representing the plaintiff in a stolen domain case for GMF.com, which was filed just three days before the Keefe case.



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The Future of Domains w/ Frank Schilling – DNW Podcast #119

January 16, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on The Future of Domains w/ Frank Schilling – DNW Podcast #119

Will the importance of domain names decline in the future?

Will AI, voice-activated devices and non-visual web browsers reduce the importance of great domains in the future? Frank Schilling comes on the show this week to respond to my prediction for the future and discuss what he thinks the drivers of domain growth and importance will be. Also: Escrow.com verification process, Sony’s new sites, stolen domains.

Subscribe via iTunes to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, view on Google Play Music, or click play below or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)



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Top Podcasts of 2016

January 13, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Top Podcasts of 2016

Here are the top five podcasts from last year.

This week I published the 118th weekly Domain Name Wire Podcast. Here’s a look back at the five most popular episodes from 2016:

1. WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg talks domain names (show #91) – Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress and founder of Automattic, discusses the .blog top level domain name and gives his opinion on the importance of domain names.

2. Frank Schilling: State of New TLDs (#74) – With many new TLDs struggling, Frank Schilling came on the show in March to discuss what he felt was in store for new TLD operators.

3. How to get free publicity for your website (#107) – Josh Elledge, who has been on TV/radio more than 1,500 times, explains how he gets free publicity.

4. Frank Schilling returns (#97) – Everyone wants to hear what Frank has to say!

5. How James Booth went from zero to $5 million in 6 months (#94) – James Booth, brother of domain investor Andy Booth, explains how he hit the ground running in the domain name business.



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Want to use Escrow.com? Prepare to be verified.

January 12, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Want to use Escrow.com? Prepare to be verified.

New verification process is designed to meet regulations.

Escrow.com has started a new verification process for its customers, both buyers and sellers.

In order to send or receive payments to a personal account, users will have to provide a copy of a government-issued ID (such as a drivers license) and proof of personal address (such as a utility bill).

Businesses will need to provide a copy of a representative’s government issued ID, proof of address of that representative, and company registration documents.

This will no doubt add friction to the process of buying and selling domain names, particularly if the other party is not a frequent domain trader.

But the verification is necessary for Escrow.com to not run afoul of government regulations. Escrow.com GM Jackson Elsegood wrote on NamePros:

To combat the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, US Federal law requires all financial institutions (including escrow companies) to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. This requirement is present in many pieces of legislation, but the strongest requirement comes from FinCEN and the US PATRIOT Act, section 326. You can find more information about the US PATRIOT Act and it’s requirements on the US FinCEN site.



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Analyzing new top level domain registrations by country (Part 2)

January 12, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Analyzing new top level domain registrations by country (Part 2)

Once again, we’re looking at how the world is embracing new TLDs – country by country. Last time, I compared each nation’s nTLD footprint with its online population, calculating a ratio of overrepresentation / underrepresentation.  Another way to view this is “domain user density”, which I define as the number of internet users per registration.  Here’s what it looks like:

Plot 161

In case your screen is too squished to view all the captions, here is the list of countries from left to right: China, Armenia, Panama, Netherlands, Switzerland, USA, Austria, Australia, Germany, Lithuania, UK, Hong Kong, Canada, Norway, Cambodia, New Zealand, France, Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia, Ireland, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, Belgium, UAE, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Vietnam, Chile, Thailand, Pakistan, Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, India, and Mexico.

Why these 46 countries?  My study is based on nTLDStats, which lists 49 nations with the most nTLD domain registrations (in absolute terms, not concentration).  From these I have excluded 3 outliers: Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, and the Cocos Islands – tiny places that are home to large domain industry companies, giving them an oversized footprint.  For instance, the Cocos Islands have fewer than 600 residents; but more than 19,000 nTLD domains list this territory in whois contact info.  Why?  Probably because of .CC.

As you can see, in China 1 nTLD domain has been registered for every 57 internet users.  Meanwhile, in Mexico the ratio is 1 nTLD domain per 3172 people online.  Note: nTLD volume within each country is underreported because 27.3% of domains are masked by whois privacy.  Consequently, real user density is lower than what I’m reporting.  If you assume whois privacy is used equally by all nationalities, then you can shave off a quarter.  But these numbers are changing all the time, as new nTLDs are released, more domains are registered, and old nTLD domains expire and are deleted.

Exact numbers aren’t the important story here.  The real question is this: Why do nations differ?  Why are China, Switzerland, and the USA more interested in buying nTLD domains than Poland, Hungary, and Vietnam?  Why the steep jump for Chile, Thailand, and Pakistan?  Why the even steeper jump for Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, and India?  And why is Mexico – 35th nation in terms of nTLD registrations overall – so much less interested in nTLDs per online citizen than anybody else?

We’re in the dark here.  I have a dozen theories.  And 2 partial answers: Wealth and Internet Access.

Plot 157

Wealthy nations register more nTLD domains.  The correlation is weak (-0.411) – meaning the dots don’t hug a straight line.  But there’s a discernible pattern nonetheless.  Really, it’s as if we’re looking at 2 different pictures glued together!  Below $30k, we have a messy, haphazard situation.  Some countries devour nTLDs; so their nTLD user density is quite low.  China is a relatively poor country, with a gross domestic product (GDP) averaging $14.4k per person; yet China registers more nTLD domains than anybody else.  Armenia ($8.4k) has registered 1 nTLD per 71 internet users – more than the USA!  And the poorest country shown here, Cambodia ($3.5k per person), ranks 14th in terms of nTLD registrations.  Its nTLD user density of 217 places Cambodia ahead of much wealthier nations like France and Russia.

Thus, below $30k, national wealth seems unrelated to nTLD registration rates.  Above that cutoff, however, we see no such chaos.  Wealthy countries register nTLD domains at a predictably higher rate per person.  All of them (24 out of 46) have an nTLD user density below 500.  Let’s state this precisely:

User Density >$30k <$30k
 Min  85.9  56.9
 Q1  164.9  233.1
 Median  257.5 554.3
 Q3  339.2  1095.4
 Max  442.6  3172.3
 Mean  248.5  807.3
 Std Dev  101.4  762.5

Apart from national wealth, we should also look at online access.  To some degree, the percentage of internet users within a given country is tied to GDP.  As you can see, these 2 variables track quite closely (with a correlation coefficient of 0.798).  Still, they do diverge; and the more we know, the better.  For instance, 2 countries differing greatly in terms of GDP per capita –Singapore ($85.4k) and the Czech Republic ($32.8k)  – both have 82% internet access.

Plot 159

So what does internet access tell us about nTLD registration rates?  Déjà vu.  Once again, there’s a cutoff point.  Where 73% or more of a country’s citizens are internet users, the nTLD user density is consistently low – again, below 500; and, again, this applies to 24 countries.  As before, below this cutoff, national nTLD patterns are all over the place.  Take a look:

Plot 155

What you ought to be thinking right now is this: 24 nations worth more than $30k per capita … and 24 nations with greater than 73% internet access … Are we perhaps looking at the same 24 countries in both cases?  Almost.  23 of them are identical, while Italy and Russia each belong to only 1 list.  This means 25 countries belong to a sort of elite group.  They’re developed nations worth $30k or more per capita and/or having greater than 73% of citizens online.  Knowing that, we can guarantee these nations have an nTLD user density below 500 – i.e. at least 1 nTLD domain is currently registered for each 500 internet users.

That’s interesting, right?  But what I’m about to tell you is even more striking.  Wealth and internet access explain most cases of high nTLD registration rates – not all.  As you can see, there are 9 countries that fall short of both standards … yet have nTLD user density below 500.  Who are these “registrant nations” that bucked the trend and ambushed us, registering more nTLD domains per person than we have any right to expect?  Say hello:

Country User Density % Online GDP Per Capita Near Cutoff
 China  56.9  50.3 $14.5k  33%
 Armenia 71.0  58.3  $8.4k  22%
 Panama  75.9 51.2 $22.2k 52%
 Lithuania  159.0  71.4  $27.7k 90%
 Cambodia  216.8  19.0  $3.5k  3%
 Ukraine  233.1  49.3  $7.9k  18%
 Indonesia  277.9  22.0  $11.1k  11%
 Romania  467.4  55.8  $21.4k  54%
 Turkey  472.6  53.7  $19.6k  48%

Some of these nations are quite near our cutoffs of $30k and 73% web access.  Lithuania barely falls short – which is why I say it’s 90% near the cutoff.  But Cambodia is far, far away in both respects.  It measures only 3% of those standards.  Why, then, are so many nTLD domains registered in Cambodia?

At this point, aside from Lithuania, the other 8 nations all remain a mystery.  Even China, about whom so much has been written, doesn’t fit the mold.  That is to say, national wealth and internet access aren’t the full story.  Clearly other factors are in play.  What are they?  On the flip side of this coin, look at the following 12 nations, where fewer than 1 nTLD domain is registered per 500 internet users:

Country User Density % Online GDP Per Capita Near Cutoff Above 500 Discrepancy
 Malaysia  1725.2  71.1 $27.0k  87%  345%  3.0
 Hungary 603.5  72.8  $25.8k  86%  121%  1.0
 Poland  575.4 68.0 $26.3k 82%  115%  0.9
 Greece  533.2  66.8  $26.6k 81%  107%  0.9
 Chile  977.0  64.3  $22.4k  66% 195%  1.3
 Mexico  3172.3  57.4  $17.3k  45%  634%  2.9
 Brazil  1606.0  59.1  $15.4k  42%  321%  1.3
 South Africa  1725.9  51.9  $13.2k  31%  345%  1.1
 Thailand  1056.8  39.3  $16.3k  29%  211%  0.6
 Vietnam  604.8  52.8  $6.0k  15%  121%  0.2
 India  1784.3  28.8  $6.1k  8%  357%  0.3
 Pakistan  1095.4  18.0  $5.0k  4%  219%  0.1

Those nations that sit near our cutoff ($30k and 73% web access) ought to have an nTLD user density not too far above 500.  Multiplying these 2 percentages together gives us a measure of the discrepancy.  The farther this discrepancy is from 1, the less we know about what’s going on.

Above 1.0 indicates the country is registering fewer nTLDs per person than we’d expect, given its wealth and web access.  Malaysia and Mexico apparently take no interest in nTLDs.  Conversely, a “discrepancy” below 1.0 indicates the country is registering more nTLDs per person than we’d anticipate based on our development metrics (GDP per capita and online access).

It turns out, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam – despite registering few nTLDs per person – are actually over-performing.  Once we make allowances for wealth and internet penetration, we find these countries are punching well above their weight.  This squares with my experience in the domain industry.  Indian and Pakistani domainers are quite active; and I was surprised, at first, to see such a small nTLD footprint for India in particular.

Having uncovered the reason for this lag in nTLD registrations in India so far, I can make a sort of pronouncement: This bodes well for the nTLD program.  Internet penetration in India is expected to grow at triple the global rate.  GDP will increase too.  If web access doubles, reaching just 57.6%, that will mean 735 million internet users.  And if India’s nTLD user density is reduced to 500 – in keeping with other developed countries – India will have 14.7 million nTLD domains … compared to 2.06 million today.  As of today, there are 27.6 million nTLD domains registered worldwide.  Thus, ongoing growth in India might conceivably add another 50% or so to the total.  That’s a big “if”, but India will soon overtake China as planet earth’s biggest population.  Obviously, India has big potential.

Many other nations could affect nTLD registration volume.  Remember, I’m only looking at countries that appear among the top 50 at nTLDStats.com.  Combined, those countries have 2.5 billion internet users; but another 0.7 billion live in other countries, where internet access is advancing by leaps and bounds.  At present, some countries show a startling lack of interest in nTLD domains; and that might change.  In addition to Mexico and Malaysia, consider which nations don’t appear at all at nTLDStats.  Nigeria ranks 7th worldwide with 86.4 million internet users – more than Germany, France, or the UK.  Nigeria also has 47.4% web access – better than India’s.  And its GDP per capita is exactly the same as that of India and Vietnam.  Those 2 nations are #9 and #19, respectively, in terms of nTLD registration volume.  So why not Nigeria?

Other nations that didn’t rank on nTLDStats but which already have more than 10 million internet users include (in descending order by online population): the Philippines, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Colombia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Morocco, Venezuela, Taiwan, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Peru, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

These countries aren’t as far behind as you might think.  Even a nation like the United States, which is only mediocre according to the metrics we’ve been discussing, does pretty well for itself.  Depending on the source, the USA ranks 10th, 11th, or 13th by per capita GDP ($56.1k); and we come in 49th by internet access (74.6%) – which is about even with Kazakhstan, Hungary, Russia, or Lithuania … far behind Canada, Australia, the UK, Japan, Korea, and (of course) western Europe.

But let’s return to the mystery.  Why don’t Mexico and Malaysia buy nTLDs?  And why do Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Ukraine, and Armenia register so many?  What factors are we missing?

Footnote: I should mention that I have filtered the data for this study.  Some nTLDs describe cities, regions, or ethnicities.  Predictably, a country will register more GEO nTLDs when those describe its own geography.  But the distribution of these GEO nTLDs is far from uniform.  Some countries have several; many have none.  If we are to compare nTLD registration rates among different nations, looking for factors that underlie them all, then we must remove the unequal contribution of GEO nTLDs.  So that’s what I did; I excluded GEO nTLD domains from my counts.  Those GEO nTLDs will be the topic of my next article.



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