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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Is the Internet Running Out of Domain Names?

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

The common chorus your hear rattling around the Internet is that we are running out of good domain names. Or that the good names are already registered. That this domain name shortage is part of the reason that ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is in the process of dramatically expanding the options for available for domain name extensions. To the tune of upwards of 1000 new domain  name extensions.

My practice is that I generally do keep a listed of approximately 20 to 50  unregistered domain names  or "UNREGS" as I call them-at all times. Some of the names have been on my list a year before I ultimately did register them. Some names were on my list for 6-8 months and someone else registered them before me. Sometimes I'll keep a name on the list for a while and then drop it. I would say most of the names I keep on this list are ultimately dropped or not registered. The list has on more than one occasion  "ballooned" to over 100 names. Why do I do this?  Probably because I just am not ready to register that particular name yet. Maybe I'm not "sold" on the name yet or am not convinced that it will be likely to be worth my registration fee which is generally under 10 dollars.

That leads into one of the most common questions that many domainers ask which is "Are there any good hand registered (or currently unregistered) domain names left?"

Lets take a look at a few recently released stats on the domain name Industry for some guidance.

According to a Verisign industry brief released April 2013:

"The fourth quarter of 2012 closed with a base of more than 252 million domain name registrations across all Top-Level Domains (TLDs)."

The base of country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDS) was 110.2 million domain names.

Without getting too much into numbers there are approximately 20 different TLDs available that are not country codes. (such as .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .tv, .edu, .gov, .mil, etc.)

There are probably at least 200 country specific TLDs (ccTLSs) available for registry. 

According to Verisign .com and .net TLDs reached a combined total of approximately 121.1 million domain names. Approximately 100 million for the .com extension. Now its interesting to see how many (potentially great/valuable) domain names that might leave on the table (or unregistered)?  

My simple formula below tells me that there are many (probably many thousands) of good to great domain names left or still unregistered. Even in the .com version. 

This formula below works for any domain extension. But lets say this is for .com:

To give you an example of the potential there are 11,881,376 possible combinations of 5 character English/Latin  alphabet words/domain names. (Or 26*26*26*26*26) which is how you arrive that that number of possible combinations.  Take it one more character  to six letter domain names and you have 308,915,776 possible combinations. Thats over 300 million which is more than all domains currently registered. Just up to six letters. How many combinations when you get to 7? 8? 9? or 10? When you go to 7 characters you get over 8 billion possible combinations.

That also doesn't count using numbers in the domain names which are of course used as well. Domain names can be much longer than that- however lets keep the numbers within reason.  Unless I'm mistaken, that is enough (seven character) .com domain names for every person on earth to own their very own domain name.  Not to mention the other 220 plus TLD and country code extensions that are available. By the way, that also doesn's count 6,5,4,3,2 and 1 character names that would need to be included in my examples. So my numbers are actually all much lower than reality. However, the numbers do make a point 

 Do you still think that all of the good domain names are already registered?

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