.nz domain name growth

January 26th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

One of the things I follow quite intently is growth in – both internationally, but also especially in the .nz top level domain.

One of the reasons for my interest, is I am a director of .nz Registry Services that runs the register for the .nz TLD. But I am also interested in what they may mean generally for Internet uptake and more recently the health of the economy.

For the last six years or so, there has been almsot ever increasing growth in .nz domain name registrations.

nz1

As uou can see, the growth has been rather healthy. But in the last year, the market has changed. It is still growing, but by far less than before.

nz2

So annual growth in .nz names has dropped from over 50,000 to under 35,000 and still declining.

nz3

Looking at the last few years in terms of percentage annual growth, we hit 25% around two years ago, and it is now down to just 10%. Now 10% annual growth is still pretty good – many businesses would give their right arm for it. But it is interesti ng trying to work out why the growth has reduced so much.

Is it everyone is now connected? Is it the best names are all gone? Is it the recession? That’s some of the quesions I’m grappling with.

One interesting thing is that the drop in growth seems to be due to increased cancellations of existing names, than a large drop off in registrations of new names. So some of it may be speculators reducing their stocks. Or it may be businesses just rationalising their portfolios.

At the end of the day the cost of a domain name is insignificant to most customers. The wholesale fee is $1.50 a month. So how elastic or inelastic is the market I wonder?

The other interesting aspect is competition. If you want a .nz domain name you can choose from around 70 different registrars or retailers, but they all interface with the unique register (it is a naturaly monopoly because you can have only one authoritative register). But people can choose to get a .com, .net, .info etc.  In some countries more registrants have a .com name than a .countrycode name. In NZ we have one of the higher country loyalties with most registrants having a .nz name over a .com.

If you are a domain name registrant, and you have been changing or reducing your “portfolio”, I’d be interested in any  stories as to why.

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15 Responses to “.nz domain name growth”

  1. Peter (1,688 comments) says:

    Domain name speculation.

    The good .co.nz names are gone. People are also dumping a lot of them one year after registration because they don’t command anything like the .com equivalent, nor is the type-in traffic of sufficient volume to cover the cost of registration.

    My two cents…

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  2. Peter (1,688 comments) says:

    BTW: I have a question….

    If you wanted a lit of all the new domain names registered in a given domain space on a daily basis, how would you do this?
    Anyone know?

    [DPF: Generally you can't. The information is kept private to protect it from spammers and scammers]

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  3. Peter (1,688 comments) says:

    typo: lit = list

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  4. Jack5 (5,007 comments) says:

    Perhaps people have finally cottoned on that the actual content of a domain name became far less important as search engines improved and proliferated, and especially as Google became so dominant. You don’t often have to remember a domain name now.

    In early years there was great competition to grab this or that name, and speculators took many in the hope of being able to sell them later. They don’t seem to matter now. The addition of new domain classes has helped reduce the exclusivity too.

    Fewer businesses seem to want .com addresses since the dot com boom failed. You barely notice now whether a business has an NZ or American domain suffix. You even wonder why the New Zealand Stock Exchange is a dot com instead of a dot co nz. Is this just delusions of grandeur that it will become a world powerhouse?

    Perhaps all this means that the speculators have pulled out of your market Mr Farrar and that companies no longer want to protect themselves by taking out a slab of domain names.

    Since you are on the domain authority, however, can you tell us are you folk doing anything to help with transportability of email addresses so that we aren’t locked into ISPs? Is there anything that can be done about this?

    [DPF: If you get your own domain name, then the e-mail addresses you use are totally portable. This is one of the major reasons individuals get domain names]

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  5. daveski (86 comments) says:

    I think the web-aware market has become quite saturated. In other words, those who think they need a domain name most like have theirs.

    The intriguing aspect for me will be when those who are not web-aware start thinking about getting their own domain name. There are still a lot of industries where businesses – mainly small – don’t have a domain name and this is an area for future growth.

    On a practical basis, if I’m helping a Not For Profit group set up a web site (I almost only use Drupal now), I’ll look at a .info or similar. The cost difference is still minor but significant. It’s interesting to note that the whole sale cost is around $1.5 per month – the retail price is around double that.

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  6. francis (712 comments) says:

    My guess would be that .com is more acceptable in NZ now and that .co.nz is far too expensive for personal or small business use by comparison with.com addresses

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  7. Jack5 (5,007 comments) says:

    Further to my 9.51 query about ISP transferability…

    Could not your domain group, Mr Farrar, institute a new cheap class of addresses, eg something like dot per or dot pri? For these then charge just $10 a year at most.

    We plebs could then register, use for our personal email address and get the ISP to point to this (there should be no charge or only a $10 set-up at most). Then we would not be locked into an ISP.

    Failing this, as domain supervisers do you have any clout to require ISPs to readdress mail for say three months after a customer leaves?

    [DPF: We only have authority over .nz domain names, not general ISP policies. But as I said, if you get a domain name then your email is totally portable]

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  8. Peter (1,688 comments) says:

    >>hey don’t seem to matter now. The addition of new domain classes has helped reduce the exclusivity too.

    Type-in is valuable.

    For example, in the US, people have a habit of typing the keyword they want into the address bar (not the search box), then adding .com on the end. i.e. saunas.com, lawyer.com etc.

    Think of the millions of words…..

    Display Adsense, or other syndicated advertising, and it’s not difficult to generate money from each parked domain with no work…..

    Do that with thousands of domains, and it’s thousands of dollars per day….

    Doesn’t work so well in thr regions, but as long as you’re covering your registration price, you’re golden…..

    Problem is……a lot of people ‘aint covering their registration price on .co.nz….

    We don’t have the same type-in activity…..

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  9. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    “Jack5 (257) Vote: 0 0 Says:

    January 26th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Since you are on the domain authority, however, can you tell us are you folk doing anything to help with transportability of email addresses so that we aren’t locked into ISPs? Is there anything that can be done about this?”

    Well, there is always hotmail, mail.com, etc or try http://www.pobox.com

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  10. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    I gave up on my NZ domain names. Dealing with ICONZ was just too painful, they billed when they should not have, etc. and the price difference for a .com + US based hosting was just more attractive, cheap and stable.

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  11. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Jack5, you could look at using HostGator. I’ve found them to be an incredibly reliable provider, their hosting is cheap and their support is phenomenal.

    http://www.hostgator.com/shared.shtml

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  12. noskire (837 comments) says:

    Agreed Pascal, in my experience HostGator are certainly the best host (and they accept .nz domains), although setting up e-mail accounts via Thunderbird with them can be tricky.

    Personally, I’ve invested/speculated less in ‘expired’ .nz domains since http://www.expireddomains.co.nz doubled the starting bid.

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  13. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    .nz names are still too expensive and the whole process of registering a cheap .com along with cheap hosting is so much simpler than is often the case when trying to set up a .nz site.

    For a few mouse-clicks and less than NZ$10 a month you can get a .com domain and effectively unlimited hosting through many US-based hosting companies, which compares poorly with the complexity and cost of going the .nz route.

    Then there’s the extra street-cred that a .com name gives you when dealing in the global marketplace.

    Try telling someone in the USA what your .nz email address or domain name is over the phone…

    “whatever.co.nz”

    “dot co dot enzed?”

    “yes, that’s right”

    “what is enzed?”

    “the letter en and the letter zed”

    “the letter zed?”

    “yes, the last letter in the alphabet”

    “Oh, you mean en zee!”

    “yes, that’s right”

    “okay, so its dot com dot en zee, right?”

    “no, it’s dot co dot en zee”

    “you don’t have dot com?”

    “no, we have dot co”

    “is that a letter of the alphabet too?”

    :D

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  14. Michael M Wilson (55 comments) says:

    I have three domain names http://www.spartans.co.nz, http://www.gridiron.co.nz and http://www.americanfootball.co.nz . These all go to my sports clubs site. There is no reason to buy any more for that so not buying any more in the near future. My wife on the other hand seems to be collecting domain names like hand bags.

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  15. Michael M Wilson (55 comments) says:

    I have three domain names http://www.spartans.co.nz, http://www.gridiron.co.nz and http://www.americanfootball.co.nz . These all go to my sports clubs site. I annoyed lots of people by getting the good ones but first in first served on these things. There is no reason to buy any more for that so not buying any more in the near future. My wife on the other hand seems to be collecting domain names like hand bags. She biys .com sites as her clients are mostly US housewives. Also they are cheaper than .co.nz sites.

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