Quarter after quarter, the domain name business continues to grow.
Verisign's second quarter 2011 domain name study reported that there were 5.2 million new domain names added in the second quarter of 2011. On a year-over-year basis, the second quarter growth is an 8.6 percent increase. There are now 215 million domains registered across all domains.
The .com and .net Top Level Domains helped to lead growth with an 8.3 percent gain in the quarter. Verisign reported that at the end of the second quarter there are 110 million .com and .net registered domains.
"The growth in domain name registrations in Q2 2011 was in line with Verisign's expectations," Pat Kane, senior vice president and general manager of Naming Services at Verisign told InternetNews.com. "The domain name market continues to be healthy in spite of short-term market and economic fluctuations."
One market where domain name growth is particularly healthy is China. During the second quarter the .cn country code TLD (ccTLD) grew to become the world's eighth largest TLD, passing the .eu European ccTLD.
"Dot cn and .eu began Q2/2011 with close to the same number of total domain name registrations," Kane said. ".cn experienced slightly more growth in registrations than .eu during the quarter, so .cn moved up a spot in the rankings over .eu by the end of Q2."
Though the .cn ccTLD is growing at a good pace it's not going to challenge .com for dominance.
"Based on historical growth rates for domain name registrations overall, it is highly unlikely that .cn will overtake .com in total domain name registrations in the near future," Kane said.
The other potential growth factor for domain names is the new generic TLDs that are set to become available in a few years. ICANN approved the new gTLD process in June, which has the potential to dramatically expand the number of available domains.
"At this time, it’s difficult to predict the impact that new gTLDs will have on domain name registration growth in the future," Kane said. "ICANN will accept new gTLD applications from January 12, 2012 through April 12, 2012. ICANN plans to publish the initial results of its new gTLD evaluation process in November 2012, which means that the technical introduction of new gTLDs is expected to begin in early 2013."