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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mainstreaming Domain Names

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo and

Verisign has recently released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 4th quarter of 2015. The operator of the .com and .net registries reported that the year ended with approximately 314 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of approximately 15 million domains over the previous quarter. 

Considering that there are over 7 billion people currently living on the earth, the figure of a 314 million domain registration count is actually quite miniscule.

So, how many email addresses are there in the world? I have no idea and no one else does either. However, I would hazard a guess that the figure is in the multiple of billions. How many telephone numbers are there currently in use in the world? Someone probably does know that number- however I'm going to guess it's in the multiple of billions as well.

And only 314 million registered domain names and counting?

Will the domain name registration numbers ever change to more of a "mass appeal" type level?

If so, the main catalyst will be ICANN's (The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) ongoing introduction of upwards of 1000 new domain name extensions onto the global marketplace. Extensions such as the following are proposed along with many more:

.app, .book, .car, .deal, .eco, .fun, .green, .home, .inc, .kids, .law, .mail, .news, .online, .pets, .radio, .sale, .security, .shop, .tickets, .web, and zip. (No to mention nearly 1000 more proposed extensions.)

What impact are the new domain extensions going to have on the average Joe or Jane Internet user?

It could ultimately be big.

Domain names represent the intersection of the Internet and the real world. They always have done this and they will always do that. At one level, domain names are how we communicate with the Internet. They are also identifiers. They identify a location on the Internet. Quite literally, domain names are Internet addresses. By the way, how many physical addresses are their in the world. As in places we live?

Let's see there are castles, mansions, towers, homes, houses, apartments, flats, cabins, cabanas, tree houses, shacks, hovels, tenements, tents, YMCA's, homeless shelters, and bridge abutments to name a few. Not necessarily in that order. Those are our residences. The places we live. How many residences are there in the wide wonderful world?


How many Internet addresses will there ultimately be? The places that we all will live on the world wide web?

Billions again?

Keep in mind of course that much of the world is not on the Internet yet. However, that is rapidly changing. India. China. South America. Africa. They are all getting on board at a hyper accelerated pace.

Now my final question.

How long before everyone has an Internet domain name of their own?

Or several? Or hundreds? Or thousands as many current domain investors do?

So let me get my math straight. Seven billion people on earth. A large majority of them ultimately getting involved with the Internet in some way. Masses of people buying domain names and using them in hundreds of different ways (many of the uses likely to not have been invented or created yet.)

What will ultimately happen to the domain name markets?

What will happen is that domain name registration numbers may ultimately accelerate and explode and we could be counting the total number of domain registrations in the billions. The early years of domain names and a measly 314  million total registrations will soon be a distant memory as we all look back and wonder why domain names didn't catch on sooner.

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