Examining the Presence of Unique Domain Names Across Different TLDs

| August 10, 2012

One of the benefits of having access to the most comprehensive database of domain data available is the ability to conduct insightful analytics, such as the Verisign dark domains post from a few months ago. Here is another view in what we hope to be an ongoing series of data-driven posts.

Is .COM Truly ‘King’?
When talking about .com domains, “.com is king” is often heard. .COM is ‘king’ in pure volume of registered domains. The underlying assumption by many, though, is that if you see a domain in a given TLD (Top Level Domain), especially a gTLD, it is probably already registered in .com. But, is that true? Leveraging DomainTools data, we compared domain strings across TLDs (Top Level Domains) and discovered that, in a good number of cases, a TLD other than .com is preferred.

Our Process for Uncovering Unique Domain Names  by TLD

For the purposes of this research, we considered the domain name ‘left of the dot’ in our comparisons.  For example, “google” is the domain name for both “google.com” & “google.co.jp”.A TLD contains a unique domain name if the domain name doesn’t exist in any other TLD.  For example, if example12345.com exists, but example12345 doesn’t exist in any other TLD, it would be considered a domain name unique to .com.For the list of domains we used in our analysis, we focused on domains which we know currently exist or existed recently (last 6 months).  The data sources we used include zones, Whois, and DNS. For ccTLDs, many of which don’t offer zone file or Whois access, we used the best information we had available.

In our final results, we eliminated many of the smaller TLDs (those with less than 60,000 domains) to focus on the TLDs with the widest adoption. Below is a chart of what we discovered:

Percentage of Unique Domains by TLD


Some of the most striking discoveries from these numbers are:
  • Almost 75% of .com domains don’t exist in any other TLD. That makes sense, since .com is so much larger than the next largest TLD.  Still, 75% is higher than we expected.

  • 60% of the domains that DomainTools knows about in .de, the country-code extension for Germany, do NOT exist in .com or any other TLD….that’s a pretty significant number, and it says a lot about the preference of .de domains by German internet users.

  • The .tk TLD offers free domain names, which may explain why over 56% of .tk domains don’t exist anywhere else.

  • For the remaining ccTLDs on the list, it would appear that about 40% of the time, domain registrants don’t even bother picking up the .com in addition to their preferred ccTLD.

  • .INFO is the gTLD with the highest percentage of unique domain strings (except for .com, of course).  This may be due in part to the significant discounting that happens on .info.

  • Close to 51% of the domain strings we analyzed existed in only one TLD.  By comparison, .co/.asia/.eu are running at only 5%/4%/3% uniqueness, respectively.



Percentage Overlap with .COM, by gTLD

Below is the percentage of a given TLD that overlap with .com:

With the launch of new gTLD registrations in 2013 it will be very interesting to how these numbers compare for new generic extensions and IDN extensions.



Category: Domain Tools Updates, Verisign

About the Author ()

Susan is the VP of Partner and Industry Relations at DomainTools. An accomplished domain industry executive, Susan is responsible for leading DomainTools’ business development efforts in the DNS and network security markets. In this role, she is responsible for all Enterprise clients, Reseller partners and Affiliates. Susan plays an integral role at DomainTools, leading thought leadership and participation in important industry working groups such as at ICANN, INTA, IACC and APWG. Susan joined DomainTools in 2007. Prior to DomainTools, she spent 15 years in the DNS and hosting markets, most recently running Client Service and Operations for a fast-growing webhost provider ultimately rolled into what is now Web.com.