IDNs at the second level
Our data sample of 2.3 million IDNs comprised including open zone gTLDs, both at second and top level, plus .eu and .ею. Of these, 39% have active web content. There is a substantial variation in usage rates between 25% to nearly 70%.
The largest gTLD IDN registry is .com comprising 1 million IDNs (second level), of which 44% had active web content, an improvement of 6% since 2016. Second level IDNs under the new gTLD .xyz had 273 000 registrations, with a 65% rate of active web content. For second level IDNs under .eu, there were 40 000 registrations with a 66% 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The majority of the world’s IDN registrations are in ccTLDs, which do not publish open zone files.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 has historically operated a give-away policy for .vn IDNs, resulting in high levels of registration (977 000 second level IDNs in 2016). However, only a small proportion of .vn domains have (5%) had active web content or redirects and this may have contributed to a change in VNNIC’s IDN policy from January 2017. As at October 2017, the level of active usage of second level IDNs under .vn remained at 5%, despite a loss of nearly 1 million registrations.
Top level IDNs
Our data sample of 2.3 million IDNs includes 500 000 top level gTLD IDN registrations. Of these, 16% had active web content (compared with 35% last year). Anomalies may result in year to year comparisons owing to the way in which the ICANN CZDS service works. There is substantial variation in usage rates between 13% (lowest) and 82% highest (.中文网).
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 four years at time of writing (September 2018). 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 (68%) and Han domains least likely (25%).
- Evidence from the ccTLD world (second level domains), also shows differences in usage rates by script. In the sample of 40 000 .eu IDNs, we found active web content for 45% of Latin script .eu IDNs, 24% for Cyrillic script and only 7% 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 79% of .рф domains have active services (although differences may arise from diverse methodologies).