IDNs at the second level
Our data sample of 2.3 million IDNs comprised 1.8 million second level IDNs, including open zone gTLDs plus .eu. Of these, 42% have active web content. There is a substantial variation in usage rates between 0% to over 80%.
The largest gTLD IDN registry is .com comprising 1.1 million IDNs (second level), of which 39% had active web content. Second level IDNs under the new gTLD .xyz had a 67% rate of active web content. For second level IDNs under .eu, there was a 68% rate of active web content.
The majority of the world’s IDN registrations are in ccTLDs, which do not publish open zone files. However, some do publish usage rates. For example, the Viet Nam ccTLD registry (VNNIC) publishes usage statistics for IDNs registered under .vn (second level). VNNIC operates a give-away policy for .vn IDNs, resulting in high levels of registration – .vn is the second largest IDN space in the world. However, only a small proportion of .vn domains have active nameservers (23%) and even fewer have active web content or redirects (16%). Therefore, the policy of a TLD is relevant, and in particular “giveaway” policies are likely to be associated with lower levels of active usage in the medium to long term.
Top level IDNs
Our data sample of 2.3 million IDNs includes 500,000 top level gTLD IDN registrations. Of these, 18% had active web content (the same level as last year). There is substantial variation in usage rates between 0% (lowest) and 72% highest (.手机).
A new namespace will typically have fairly low rates of active use, but as many of the new gTLDs have now been on the market for more than two years at time of writing (September 2016). Therefore, we would expect to see the rates of active web content beginning to settle.
Variations in usage by script
There were variations between script, with Han, Katakana and Hiragana (associated with Japanese language) domains most likely to have active web content (69%) and Han domains least likely (20%).
- Evidence from the ccTLD world (second level domains), also shows differences in usage rates by script. In the sample of 50,000 .eu IDNs, we found active web content for 50% of Latin script .eu IDNs, 34% for Cyrillic script and only 10% for Greek script. However, there would be limited value in drawing conclusions from such low numbers of Cyrillic and Greek script .eu IDNs.
- Red.es informed us in 2015 that 68% of IDNs under .es (Latin script, second level) had active web content, including redirects.
- The Russian ccTLD registry publishes detailed statistics on usage, which indicate that up to 54% of .рф domains are in use, according to our definition. This assumes that “parked” domains (16%) have enough content to determine language, and that “under construction” domains (17%) do not. If parked domains are excluded from the analysis, 38% of . рф domains have active web content.