Second level IDNs – the top 20
The majority of the top 20 second level IDN spaces are within ccTLDs. There is a wide variety of registration levels, from 25,000 to over 1 million.
The largest IDN space continues to be .com, with 1.1 million registrations (second level), followed by .vn (second level, Viet Nam, 950,000) which operates a giveaway policy for its IDNs. Joining the top 20 second level IDN list this year is .xyz, the first time a new gTLD has made the top 20 list. The European registry, .eu, is the 14th largest second level IDN space (position unchanged since 2014).
Top level IDNs – the top 10
The largest full IDN (top level) zone remains the Russian Federation’s .рф. The number of top level new gTLD IDNs (marked in brown) in the top 10 is steadily increasing. Five out of the top 10 are now new gTLDs, compared with four out of 10 in 2014.
Growth in the top 20 IDN spaces
Comparing registration figures for the top 20 IDN spaces for 2014 and 2015, shows that IDNs in new gTLDs have grown strongly. Top level IDN ccTLDs .рф (Russian Federation) and .中国 (China) had positive growth of 2% and 24 % respectively. Meanwhile, IDNs at the second level have tended to grow modestly: .com (2%), .de (1%).
Among the established IDN spaces which sustained negative growth during 2015, .biz fell by -65% from nearly 90,000 to 31,000.
The IDN World Report research team has been tracking growth rates since 2009. From 2009-2012 we saw strong percentage annual growth in IDNs, reflecting launches of new IDN ccTLDs including .рф, .中国 and .한국 during those years. IDNs continued to be deployed at the second level during that period in ccTLDs, including .eu. The example of .рф illustrates the impact of such launches on global IDN growth rates: in its first month of general availability, the registry grew from practically zero to 600,000 registrations (November 2010).
The launch of hundreds of new gTLDs has started to have an impact on growth rates of IDNs during 2015, but uptake on initial launch is much lower than previously – reflecting the move from relative scarcity of TLDs to increased choice. Therefore, there is less volatility in the growth rates of IDNs compared with the years prior to the launch of new gTLDs.
Overall, the growth rate of IDNs recovered during 2015 compared with 2014. IDNs as a whole grew by 9% during 2015, compared with 2% in 2014. Global domain name growth rates also recovered during 2015 to 9% compared with 6% in 2014.