DomainTools Estimates Verisign Manages Over 100 Million .com Domains

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A number of organizations track the .com domain registrations by simply reading the Verisign daily zone file, a methodology that underestimates the current count. According to DomainTools, their research shows that the .com count is already well past 100 million.

DomainTools, the recognized leader in domain name research and monitoring, announced that, according to their projections, there are already more than 100 million concurrently registered .com domain names. A number of organizations track the .com domain registrations by simply reading the Verisign daily zone file, a methodology that underestimates the current count. According to DomainTools, their research shows that the .com count is already well past 100 million.

Verisign, the registry behind .com, publishes a daily “zone file” of registered .com domain names with their associated nameservers. Yesterday the zone file listed 99,837,548 .com domain names and that number has been growing by an average of about 22,000 net new .com domain names per day so far in 2012. There are, however, two general categories of domain names that exist but are not listed in the zone files.

The first category is well known, at least to people who work in and around the domain industry: domains in the Redemption or Pending Delete periods. Each day tens of thousands of .com domain names hit their renewal date and move into a multi-stage expiration process. During the Redemption Period, which is usually 30 days, domains can still be renewed by the prior registrant. These domains are no longer included in the zone files and are also not available for the general public to register. There are currently 2.1 million .com domain names in either Redemption or Pending Delete status.

The second category is much less well known, a category DomainTools refers to as ‘dark domains’. Domain names that exist, but are not pointed to nameservers, are not listed in the zone file and therefore not counted by most sites that track domain registration data. An example of such a domain is Spectrum.com; it exists but has no nameservers, and does not resolve to a website. Another example is theexpertcare.com; the Whois record indicates a fraud alert on the domain name and a ‘suspended’ status. This domain is also not in the zone file and yet is certainly not available for anyone to register.

Only Verisign knows for sure how big the list of dark domains is, but DomainTools has conducted ongoing proprietary research which reveals over 400,000 known dark .com domain names, as found in blank-nameserver.com. This count is included in DomainTools’ recently updated domain statistics data on their DailyChanges.com website. DomainTools’ calculation of .com domains includes those listed in the zone file plus the dark domains. With that information in mind, DomainTools calculated the current total of .com domains managed by Verisign to be over 100.2 million.

About DomainTools
DomainTools is the recognized leader in domain name research and monitoring. Like the white pages of the Internet, DomainTools publishes a directory that serves as an comprehensive snapshot of past and present domain name registration and ownership records in addition to powerful research tools that help to uncover and discover everything there is to know about a domain names. DomainTools is a Top 200 site in the Alexa rankings and is based in Seattle, Washington. Visit the website at http://www.DomainTools.com.

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Susan Prosser
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