It was always very interesting but also wired to me that domaining was so US oriented. When I was at my first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show in Las Vegas in 2007 nobody, NOBODY was really interested in ccTLDs. COM was king and there was no doubt about it. This is still the case – COM is the most popular domain name in the world but this world is expanding very fast and COM share market is shrinking.
The truth is that in the European Union COM is usually the second or third domain name and ccTLDs are the kings of its markets. This is exactly the case in Poland, where I live and where are 1,7M .pl names registered. There are also 190,000 .eu names and only 170,000 .com domains. The same situation is in other markets such us .de (Germany), .co.uk (United Kingdom) etc. According to the lates VeriSign report there are 83M COM domains and 76M ccTLDs.
And don’t get me wrong – it is OK for me as I have less competition here in Europe and I can easily buy good ccTLDs cheap and develop ccTLD projects but it is always strange to see how ignorant some people are.
The same case is with IDNs. I mean IDN names not TLDs – just to give you an example: pożyczka.pl would be IDN for nonIDN version pozyczka.pl. The meaning for that domain is “loan”. And YES, people in Poland start using IDNs a lot and in 2-3 years they will get more popular than nonIDNs. How do I know that? I see my IDN names statistics. For some pair of parked names – IDNs are getting more UV and revenue than nonIDNs.
But I have good news for ccTLD investors – good times for us are coming :) DomainSponsor has recently announced opening its subsidiary in Europe, DomainFest is coming to Prague in October 6-7, 2010 and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference is coming back to Europe in 2010, this time to Milan (Italy) and Dublin (Ireland). In September 2009 we heard that Go Daddy expands further into Europe with new data center to ensure faster access for Go Daddy’s growing European customer base. More of such news will be announced this year – there is no doubt about it.
And world is bigger than only US and the EU. There are big markets in Asia, South America as well – great potential there for sure. According to Internet World Stats US has now ~ 220M Internet users, EU: 310M, Asia: 740M (China: 360M), Brazil: 70M. BBC prepared nice Internet map, where you can see Internet penetration and users in the years 1998-2008. There are 1,7 billion Internet users on our planet Earth.
BTW Check out Facing The Absurd blog written by one of the finest European domainers. You will find there things that you won’t read about anywhere else.