In early December new extension domains reached the 30 million registration point according to nTLD statistics. The previous high of about 29.5 million was established in April 2017, although over most of last two years the total was not far from 26 million registrations. The number of registrations is strongly influenced by deep first-year discounting, and is probably not the best measure of the health of the new extension domain space. While there are many hundreds of new extensions, just 18 of them have 1% or more of the total number of new extension registrations. The .icu extension is now the most registered new extension. There are 7 extensions with more than one million registrations. While there are many registries, the top ten account for more than 88% of all new extension registrations. Radix and Donuts have the most domains under registration. Just five registrars, led by Alibaba, GoDaddy and Namecheap, have half of all new domain registrations. If we use Alexa 1M as the measure of web traffic, .xyz, .online, .club and .site are the most used new extensions. There have been 858 new extension domain sales so far in 2019, down from last year. The average price was $3932, up marginally. The top 26 sales ranged in price from $10,500 to $335,000. About 27% of these were registry sales. While .app, .world, .global and .life saw multiple sales in the 2019 top-26 list, 21 different extensions appeared at least once on the list. All but two were single words (one acronym and one mixed-mode). I counted as a single word one that was a single word domain hack. Sedo was the venue for 10 of the 26 sales, although several domainers had multiple sales in the top-26 list. Most Registered Extensions There have been changes at the top of the new global Top Level Domains (new gTLD) list with .icu taking over first place less than two years after its introduction. The former Famous Four extensions, such as .loan, dropped out of the list of most registered extensions following the end of deep discounting in those extensions. Here is an ordered list by registration number along with the percentage of all new gTLD registrations in that extension. The data changes regularly and you can find the most up-to-date information using nTLD statistics. .icu 14.3% .top 11.8% .xyz 9.1% .site 6.5% .club 4.8% .online 4.6% .vip 4.4% .wang 3.1% .live 2.3% .work 2.3% .shop 2.2% .fun 1.9% .app 1.8% .space 1.5% .website 1.2% .buzz 1.2% .gdn 1.2% .store 1.1% Just 18 of the approximately 700 delegated general-availability extensions have 1% or more of the registration share, and only the top 7 have more than one million registrations. Those 7 extensions combined have significantly more than 50% of all new extension registrations. While increasing use of privacy cloaks geographical information to some degree, there are very strong regional concentrations. Extensions such as .top have always been mainly registered in China, and the recent growth in .icu is primarily in Asia as well. While several factors have driven this year’s increases in the total number of new extension registrations, among the most important were the rapid growth in .icu, a strong release of .dev, steady growth in .best under new management, approval of more new extensions in China, and the release to standard status by Donuts of about one million domain names that were formerly registry premium. Registry Concentration There are very different patterns in how different registries have approached new extension opportunities. Some registries such as Club have concentrated on a single top level domain (TLD), others like Radix have a small number of different new extensions, while companies like Donuts have large numbers of mainly special-purpose extensions, many with fairly limited numbers of registrations. According to share of the total new extension registrations, here are the top 10 registries. The title for each is also a link to the registry website in most cases. I list in brackets the number of new gTLDs delegated to that registry along with a selection of the better known TLDs within their holdings. In some cases not all of the delegated extensions are currently available. Radix 18.1% (9, site, .online, .fun, .space, .store, .tech, .website, etc.). Donuts 14.3% (238, .life, .live, .today, .world, .agency, .solutions, .company, .services, .ltd, .games plus many more). Short Dot 14.1% (2, .icu, .bond). Jiangsu Bangning Science & Technology 11.6% (1, .top). XYZ 9.2% (9, .xyz, .monster, .baby, etc.). Minds+Machines 7.6% (30, .work, .fit, .vip, plus many more). Club 4.7% (1, .club). Zodiac 3.2% (6, .wang means net). GMO 2.6% (6, .shop). Charleston Road (Google) 2.6% (46, many not yet in use, .app, .dev, .page). While there are many other registries, the top ten registries account for more than 88% of all new extension registrations. In fact simply Radix plus Donuts account for about one-third of all registrations. New Extension Registrars While many new extensions are available through most registrars, the majority of the registrations are concentrated at just a few registrars. Alibaba leads with 16.8% of new extension registrations. Together Alibaba, GoDaddy, Namecheap, GMO and West account for more than half of all new extension registrations. Prices for both registrations and renewals vary extensively, so use resources such as DomComp and TLD-List to find the best prices and features. Note that some of the popular Asian registrars are missing from these lists, however. Website Use of New Extension Domains Measuring actual web use is complex, and each of the various methods are susceptible to deliberate manipulation. When I looked at the Cisco Global Ranking results, while no new gTLDs made even the top ten extensions, a number were ranked approximately equal to various well known country code extensions. Another way to measure use is by counting how many websites on a domain in that extension appear in the Alexa 1M list (the most current list can be dowloaded at this link). If we use Alexa 1M as the measure of web traffic, .xyz, .online, .club and .site are the most used new extensions. The Alexa list, especially sites in the lower half of the list, vary extensively from day to day. You can readily see how many domains from any new extension are in the Alexa 1M by using the NameStat site. Here are the 25 new extensions with the largest number of names in the Alexa 1M on the day I checked. .xyz 2145 .online 1726 .club 1666 .site 1233 .top 845 .live 731 .news 359 .space 357 .shop 333 .website 299 .store 297 .fun 275 .app 270 .tech 256 .guru 245 .vip 242 .life 238 .icu 227 .one 216 .today 196 .blog 194 .media 171 .world 160 .best 151 .link 150 All others had fewer than 150 sites in the Alexa 1M when I checked. Extensions just below those on this list, in order, were .host, .cloud, .dev, .network, .win, .center, .video and .work. We might expect that sites with more registrations would have more websites achieving Alexa 1M status, other things being equal. Conveniently NameStats shows the number of registrations per name in the Alexa 1M for each extension. For example, the number is 720 for .online and 3960 for .top with a smaller number meaning better relative use. As a comparison, on the day I checked the number was 497 for .com, one site in Alexa 1M for every 497 registrations (using DomainNameStats data. While the number on Alexa 1M is not bad in many new extensions, recognizing their registration base, if we look only at the world’s largest sites, say the top 1000, new extensions are very rare. Sales in New Extensions in 2019 As I write this 2019 is not yet over, so these are not quite the final figures for the year. Using only NameBio data, there have been 858 new gTLD sales so far in 2019 with an average sales price of $3932. This results in a total new extension domain name sales volume of $3.4 million. That seems discouraging compared to 2018 when there were 1490 sales, a $3847 average price, and $5.4 million in sales volume. However 2018 was strong compared to the previous two years, and the 2019 figures are not much different from the five-year average. For some reason .top sales have stopped being reported on NameBio – the last report was Aug 2, 2019. In 2018, 557 of the 1490 sales were in .top, accounting for $2.3 million. The end of .top sales reporting seems to account for about $900,000 of the difference in dollar volume. The other major difference between 2018 and 2019 is that we have seen fewer six-figure sales: just one in 2019 versus six in 2018, three of those in the .top extension. Here is a list of the highest value new gTLD sales so far in 2019. I intended it as a top-25 list, but since there was a tie, there are 26 names on the list. The links will take you to the NameBio records for each sale with additional information. free.games $335,000 WebQuest ZB.app $91,000 Afternic business.club $60,936 NameClub new.work $38,000 New.Life clean.tech $30,000 Sedo support.app $30,000 UserScape buy.game $29,999 WebQuest radio.cloud $28,000 Sedo smart.bio $27,685 Sedo UI.dev $25,000 Sedo all.life $25,000 New.Life T.win $22,500 Sedo CBD.world $20,000 BQDN simple.life $20,000 WebQuest DX.media $28,000 Private up.top $19,880 Jiangsu Bangning go.holdings $19,000 Sedo human.capital $15,500 Sedo diabetes.help $15,000 Uniregistry travel.global $14,500 DotGlobal ploy.shop $13,544 Sedo bounce.house $13,000 WebQuest 4U.tube $12,000 Sedo one.network $11,333 Sedo good.world $10,500 WebQuest pay.global $10,500 DotGlobal Almost always high value sales are for single word domain names with an excellent match to the extension. The niches are varied, as are the extensions. 21 different extensions are represented in the top 26 new gTLD sales of 2019. .app appeared three times on the list, and .life and .world twice each. Five of the sales were by WebQuest, two each by @New.Life and DotGlobal, ten at Sedo, and the rest were through a variety of venues and sellers. Interestingly, the two sales by @New.Life were to different purchasers but on the same day. As far as I was able to determine, 27% of the sales are registry sales, and about 18% by dollar volume. Those are somewhat lower percentages of registry sales than observed in the past. Note these are percentages just for the top-26 list, not an analysis of all new extension sales in the year. Additional information is provided in this look at some major new extension sales. Final Thoughts While I have tried to present the above data objectively without personal comment, here are my thoughts on new domain extensions. I think it is not helpful to view new gTLDs as one entity. Individual new extensions are very different - some are geographical, some general purpose, some narrowly specialized, etc. In my opinion, the idea that the purpose of new extensions was primarily to increase the domain pool and give alternatives to legacy extensions was somewhat misguided. Rather, I feel that the new extensions are best suited for new uses, such as in social media and product campaigns, and to serve users who dislike the main legacy choices. As such, I see new and legacy extensions as complementary rather than competitive. I think the top 26 sales, and a similar analysis of a much longer dataset of new gTLD sales, demonstrates that it is not primarily which new extension that influences worth of a new extension domain name. Rather it is the match between the name and the extension that is most important. We see that through the diversity of extensions represented on the top-26 list. While multiple word names occasionally sell for good amounts in new domain extensions, it is relatively rare. The main argument in favour of new extensions is probably elegant design of expressing exact meaning without anything else added. Certainly some of the users who purchased six-figure new extension domains have expressed that view. There is a NamePros thread on expressions that look better as a new gTLD. Public recognition and acceptance of new gTLD extensions remains weak overall. That means that in most cases new extension investment will be a long-term game. Pricing of new extension domain names is challenging because of the limited number of publicly recorded past sales. The competition with names held by the registry, and sold as premium, is another obstacle in new extension investing. More clarity and certainty regarding renewal costs would help acceptance of new extensions by cost-conscious end users. I think the main competition for new domain extensions is not from the legacy extensions, but rather general purpose country extensions such as .io, .ai, .me, and .co. Ironically, the success of these, while drawing market share from new extensions in the short term, may also pave the way for acceptance of alternative extensions. Investment in new extensions is probably more complex than .com-only domain investing for several reasons. It is necessary to know the options available, and with 700+ extensions that is challenging. The pricing, both registration and especially for renewals, is highly variable. Using just one registrar doesn’t work well in new extension investing. It is necessary to look into the health of the registry, as well as public acceptance, or not, of the extensions under consideration. In my opinion there are already too many new extensions, and I hope that ICANN will slow the release of new ones. It is generally much easier to sell .com to other domainers than any other extension. It is important to keep this in mind if your business plan includes selling wholesale to other domain investors. Even when registry sales are excluded, it seems that average prices are, surprisingly, somewhat higher in new extensions. That may simply be an illusion because there are many more domainer acquisitions mixed into the sales record for legacy extensions. The higher prices are not enough to make up entirely for lower sell-through rates in new extensions, however. Even if domain investors decide not to invest in new gTLDs, I think that some level of familiarity with new extensions is still valuable. For example, if you are selling a two-word domain name Word1Word2.com you should know if Word1.Word2 is a domain name and its status. This works in reverse as well, and new gTLD investors should also at least look into .com offerings related to their domain names in my opinion. The skills needed to successfully sell new extensions may be somewhat different than those needed for legacy domain investing. Nevertheless, many of the principles such as emphasize quality over quantity, invest in niches you understand well, and take a disciplined and analytical approach, apply to both. Looking for advice on your new gTLD domain names? This thread created by @Brands.International offers expert analysis on submitted domain names. Note the rules at the start of the thread. Your Thoughts I would love to hear your opinions on the overall health of new domain extensions, and the prospects and challenges they have for domain investors. Do you feel more or less positive about them than you felt a year ago? Are you strictly a legacy investor, strictly a new extension investor, or a mix with a few new extensions within a mainly legacy portfolio. Thank you to the various information sources consulted for this report. Those sources include nTLD Stats, NameStat, DomainNameStats, and NameBio.