More than a thousand new gTLDs were approved by ICANN and entered the market starting in 2014. This represented one of the most significant changes in the domain industry since its inception in 1984. Within the past 18 months, more than a thousand new gTLDs have been introduced, topping 23 million registrations worldwide.
Among new gTLD offerings, .xyz leads with over six million registered domains, representing nearly 25 per cent market share among new gTLDs. The Registrar for .xyz initially offered these domains for free, creating early momentum. Also in the lead are .top, which has over four million registered users (17 per cent market share) and .win, with over one million registered domains (5 per cent market share).
Municipal domains experienced some early success, with .berlin, .london and .nyc initially ranking among the top 10 new gTLDs in 2015. They have since been knocked out of the top spot by other new entrants that have heavy marketing arms behind them, such as .win, .club and .vip. With competition ever-increasing, .nyc has dropped to 34th place, .london to 48th and .berlin is now in 49th position among new gTLDs. This is not to say that these are not successful businesses. These domains have found successful niche markets and have created models that work for their own geographies. The new gTLD program was party about increasing the number of choices open to Internet users and the geographic domains are a great example of that in action.
Canadians’ awareness of new gTLDs
The general population of Internet users in Canada are becoming aware of these new gTLDs. Awareness during the first year of the launch of new gTLDs was as expectedly low. Recently awareness has risen likely due to increases in advertising and launches of new domains over the last year. However, the interest in registering one of these new domains remains modest outside the domain industry itself.