IDNs at the second level
Our data sample of 2.4 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 0% to over 80%.
The largest gTLD IDN registry is .com comprising 1.1 million IDNs (second level), of which 38% had active web content. Second level IDNs under the new gTLD .xyz had 317,000 registrations, with a 53% rate of active web content. For second level IDNs under .eu, there were 45,000 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The majority of the world’s IDN registrations are in ccTLDs, which do not publish open zone files.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) – .vn is one of the largest IDN spaces in the world. However, only a small proportion of .vn domains have (5%) have active web content or redirects. 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 2.4 million IDNs includes 400,000 top level gTLD IDN registrations. Of these, 35% had active web content (the same level as last year). There is substantial variation in usage rates between 0% (lowest) and 84% 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 three years at time of writing (December 2017). 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 (61%) and Han domains least likely (22%).
- 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 68% of .рф domains are in use, according to our definition (although differences may arise from diverse methodologies).