The new TLD era started more than a year ago with an aim to switch to meaningful domain extensions from the general .com (and others). As we know, .com is extremely saturated and it is really hard to hand register nice and meaningful domains anymore.
There was a debate, how the introduction of thousands of new extensions will change the value of the existing extensions. We can already see interesting trends here. Since there are so many extensions to choose from, not .com domains, .net, .org and the never popular .info and .biz and other old generic ones are strongly devaluated. Let’s say I want to start a website about cookie recipes. What are my current options? There is no reason to pay large sums for cookierecipes.net (which was the second option earlier) when one can register cookie.recipes for registration fee (and the later one looks better, most probably it will be registered in the next days). Cookierecipes.org, cookierecipes.info or cookierecipes.biz? Sounds very odd. I would rather register it with a new generic TLD, like cookirecipes.xyz, at least it sounds fresh. Maybe even the .club one. But what about .com? It is clear now that it is the real number one well above the others. The gap between .com and .net and others grew to huge. So we can say at least that .com did not lose from its value but I feel it even increased in some extent. If I can afford, there is no question I should go with cookierecipes.com. But the second one is cookie.recipes, it is an obvious second, too. It means that nTLDs are already success if we compare them to not .coms. Comparing them with .com is an unfair challenge.
So the question is, which are the most popular nTLDs at this time and are they really the most popular? This is the standings of the top 25 nTLDs according to ntldstats.com at the time of publishing this article:
|Position||Extension||No. of registered domains|
Can you believe it that this is really the popularity order of the extensions? Don’t be fooled by these numbers and ranking. The most famous example that how these numbers are lying is the number one, .xyz. Namely, Networks Solutions (which has a very bad reputation anyway, see user reviews) gave a free .xyz domain to every .coms that are registered there. So maybe you have a domain like very-bad-and-long-domain.com there, you got a very-bad-and-long-domain.xyz for free, without asking it (and it was paid by .XYZ registry). So while there is over 1 million registered .xyz, how much are real and wanted? I like .xyz anyway, so just saying the stats are fake, still the extension is promising. And using these marketing methods, maybe they can reach the real top one position sooner or later.
I cannot comment Chinese domain extensions (hope my readers can) but other extensions are also very suspicious. Can you belive the 320,000 .science? I was thinking on what .science domains worth a registration, maybe life.science, computer.science and popular.science but what are those others? According to Alexa rankings, 123proxy.science is the most popular – am I the only one who don’t see the value in this name? So what happened with .science? It was available for free registrations in some promotions that made it very popular amongst spammers and other shady guys. The stats shows that at least 95(!) percent of the websites on .science has shady ratings, so the best bet is to block the whole extension. What a shame in the name of science. This domain extension has already fallen while being the third most popular is stats.
I will not discuss this one by one but it is now obvious that the numbers are heavily influenced by registrars and registries and by their marketing tactics. So which are the most popular in reality? I would cite Godaddy registration statistics here. While they also don’t equally promote nTLDs, at least some of the obvious cheats are filtered here. So let’s check the top list on Godaddy:
|Position||Extension||No. of registered domains|
So much better rankings, isn’t it? Great extensions that were missing or at the bottom of the previous table are showing up, e.g. .today, .tips, .expert. These are my favorite ones. Surely the rankings are heavily influenced by pricing, too, as .expert costs as much as $55 a year currently. Of course sometimes we compare apple to orange here. The list is mostly filled with generic domains not surprisingly. It would be even more correct if we split this table to generic domains, city domains and specific domains. So we can say that the most popular generic or almost generic domains are .club, .today, .guru, .xyz and .rocks. But there are so many good extension out there if used correctly. To go back and finish with our example, using .recipes is limited but can be almost as great as .com in some cases, like cookie.recipes. Oppositely, a less great general nTLD will never come any close to .com, so I can’t see anyone paying more than the registration fee for cookirecipes.website.
And what is your favorite nTLD?