During the 2014 Domain Forum conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, Milathan shared a panel with domain suggestion engine specialists Domains Bot. During the panel, Domains Bot Chief Strategy Officer Daniel Mejia shared some fascinating insight into how the new domains are actually being used one year on from the first new gTLDs going into the root.
Using Domains Bot’s technology, 2,961,792 domains were scanned on November 7, 2014. According to ntldstats.com, the total base of registered new gTLDs that day was 3,138,497, so almost 96% of new gTLD domains were scanned, providing a comprehensive snapshot of their use.
Parked or unused
The results show that new gTLD domain names have not found mainstream use yet. Based on DNS analysis and http response codes, it was determined that 228,208 domains led to parked pages whilst 1,105,943 pointed to temporary pages. A huge 860,921 domains were unreachable, i.e. they did not resolve to any website.
Real use analysis came by looking at which domains used the same SLD (secondary level domain) with a different TLD (top level domain), such as backstage.academy instead of backstage.eu. Only 38,298 domains were found to be used in this way.
Some new gTLD domains, 140,562 to be exact, redirect to a completely different domain, any example of this being pacific.beer which redirects to discoverpacifico.com.
However, websites are not the only measure of actual domain use. When domains are used for email, they are also much more likely to endure and be renewed by owners who find them to actually be useful.
The analysis found that 1,502,773 domains were without an MX record, the part of a domain name’s technical configuration which allows it to be used for email (MX stands for Mail Exchanger). Just as interesting is the fact that 163.653 did not point to actual website content, but were configured with an MX record.
This suggests some new gTLD domains are being registered just for email use, perhaps by owners who did not find the names they were after in the legacy TLDs and took advantage of the greater choice brought on by new gTLDs…