A lot has changed in the domain name industry since the late 1980s, when the number of total domain names could be easily tracked and monitored. Over the following two decades, there has been explosive growth in the number of domain names in use in the world. As the Internet has grown to truly global proportions, the domain name industry has raced to stay on pace. Here are just a few of the statistics highlighting this remarkable growth…
#1: More than 700 top-level domains now exist on the Internet
In the 1980s, during the early formative years of the Internet, there were only six top-level domains (TLDs): .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .net and .org. According to the non-profit governing body for domain names, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), those six TLDs were enough to describe all the activity that was taking place on the Internet. But not anymore - there are now 700 TLDs, giving people enormous flexibility in how they choose to identify their organization on the Internet.
#2: The highest price tag ever paid for a domain name was $35.6 million
If you’re like most people, it’s always frustrating to find out that someone else has already registered your favorite domain name. Of course, you could always try to buy it back if the domain name is for sale. But how much would you be willing to pay for a domain name? The all-time record is the $35.6 million price tag paid for insurance.com in 2010.
Prior to that, the all-time record was the $35 million paid for VacationRentals.com in 2007. And the domain name Internet.com? Well, that sold for $18 million in 2009. More recently, Facebook paid $8.5 million for FB.com. So don’t get too upset if you’re asked to pay a small fee for a great domain name - people have paid plenty more in the past.
#3: There are now almost 300 million domain names worldwide
As of the first quarter of 2015, there were 294 million domain names worldwide across all top-level domains, according to VeriSign. Moreover, 6 million new domain names were added in just the first three months of 2015, to give you an idea of how fast domain names are being registered worldwide. On a year-over-year basis, domain names are currently growing by about 6.5% annually. So you can easily imagine a future where there are a half-billion domain names!
#4: 100% of the top 10,000 family names in the world are already being used for domain names
Are you thinking of using your last name as a domain name? Well, that might be hard to do if you have a popular family name like “Smith” or “Johnson.” In fact, according to estimates made in 2012, 100% of the top 10,000 family names in the world are already taken.
And even first names are largely impossible to use these days as domain names. That’s because 100% of the top 1,200 male names are already taken and 100% of the top 2,800 female names are already taken. Go ahead, try it. Type a name like “James.com” into your browser. You’ll either find that the site already belongs to someone else, or that it belongs to a corporation. (James.com is a web consulting company!)
#5: Approximately 40% of all worldwide domain names include .com
It’s clear that .com is easily the most common ending for domain names out there. According to VeriSign, there are now 117.9 million .com domain names that have been registered, out of a total of 294 million across all top-level domains. By way of comparison, there are only 15.1 million domain names that use .net.
So, even though there continues to be growth and innovation in top-level domain names, it’s clear that .com names are still the clear leader. On most mobile phone keyboards, in fact, there’s now a “.com” key that makes it easy to easily add that suffix to a website address.
These statistics are just further proof of how quickly the Internet continues to grow. And it’s also evidence that people need to be increasingly creative in how they select domain names, given the fact that so many of the most popular domain names are already taken!