Dot-com is dead. Long live dot-com

Reports of domain king's death greatly exaggerated

As you probably know, the internet's domain names are dominated by a single three-letter ending: "com".

What you probably don't know is the sheer scale of dot-com's dominance. There are roughly 116.5m domains ending in ".com" – more than all of the 25 next largest registries combined.

When the industry draws bar charts of registrations, they let dot-com run off the top of the page, put it on a logarithmic scale, or exclude it altogether. That's right: dot-com is logarithmically larger.

Sure it's accurate but it only tells you one thing: dot-com is much bigger

That makes it all the more peculiar then JPMorgan this week downgraded the operator of the dot-com registry, Verisign, because it argued that the new top-level domains were cannibalizing the company's registration revenue. The company's share price dropped 1.5 per cent on the news. And then the market took a closer look and today bumped it up by just over one per cent.

At the same time as JPMorgan signaled its concerns, the largest applicant for new gTLDs wrote a post arguing that dot-com's days were numbered. "It's about time to hand .COM a gold watch," the post by Donuts – which has spent $100m in the past year launching dozens of new internet extensions – argued.

Donuts argues that its domains - ending in everything from dot-agency to dot-zone - are "fresh, semantically meaningful and, in comparison, widely available". Names under these new extensions "aren’t comprised of 'reused' names that others have thrown away".

Never mind that dot-com added nearly as many new names last year as all of the 400 new extensions combined.

And those "thrown away" dot-coms? They are like gold nuggets explained industry veteran and domain investor Michael Berkens in a blog post in response. "Of the 80,000 domains or so we own, 98 per cent were acquired over the years on the drop," he notes, adding: "That we just sold for $800,000 someone else 'threw it away' in 2002."

Another domainer was equally unimpressed with the bluster, complaining that he spent $5,000 on new gTLDs last year and has failed to make money on any of them. New domains are also more expensive – often ten times as much as the dot-com's $6.

"That $5k into 10-15 solid dot-coms would likely have yielded break even or profit on a single or two names," Mike Jones reasoned. "Instead I am faced with another high gTLD renewal set this year, those .com would be about $100 renewal total ... I threw good money away."

But it's not all bluster, according to one industry veteran. Roland LaPlante has been chief marketing office at Afilias – one of the biggest names in the domain market – for 15 years and has seen it all before.

He does note though that dot-coms shine is coming off a little. "Dot-com is king," he told The Register, "but we've been tracking the industry since 2007 and every year dot-com and dot-net [the other big beast, also owned by Verisign] have lost share points. It used to make up 55 per cent of the market, now it's 45 per cent. It's growing but it's also losing market share – one point a year."

It may seem a little rich for new gTLD operators to claim the crown when even they will admit they have seen a lackluster take-up of their flash new endings. As you can see from the graphic below, new gTLDs barely register in the wider market, despite being the hot ticket and making more noise than anyone else.

Domain names by IoN magazine

A lot of noise coming from the red sliver of new gTLDs

But it's not just the young upstarts that are bad-mouthing their competition. In a blog post last month, Verisign provocatively asked "What’s Really New in the New gTLD Space?"

That post pointed out that only 16 per cent of domains under the 400+ new extensions were not already registered under dot-com. In Verisign's eyes this made the vast majority of new domains "redundant".

It also pointed out that nearly 75 per cent of the domains registered were available if you just tacked a dot-com on the end i.e. domain.example and

All this back-and-forth is perhaps inevitable in an increasingly competitive market with some companies work harder to even register on the scale and the dot-com monster dominating the market without having to do any real work.

But at least one new entrant is not happy. "I think it would be great if people would stop sniping at the dot-com side and vice-versa," Simon Cousins, CMO at TLD Registry told us. TLD Registry is trying to crack what the industry believes is a huge future growth market – the Chinese speaking world – with two new "internationalized domain names" in the Chinese language.

"I wish the industry would stop putting so much energy into telling us that the other guys are bums," he adds. "It may be a Coke and Pepsi thing and we are unlikely to see everyone get together to promote cola-based drinks, but it would be great to have a kumbaya moment in this industry." ®

Other stories you might like

  • Senior IBMer hit with £290k demand from Big Blue in separate case as unfair dismissal claim rolls on

    High Court and Employment Tribunal cases to be heard soon

    A former IBM general manager who was posted to the United Arab Emirates is being sued by the company for £290,000 after filing an employment tribunal case claiming unfair dismissal.

    In its particulars of claim lodged on 10 February 2021 and recently made available by the court, Big Blue claimed that former Middle East GM Shamayun Miah should hand back two "special payments" because it sacked him within two years of paying him the cash lump sums.

    Miah was paid pre-tax sums of £175,000 on 1 January 2018 and a further £100,000 on 1 January 2019, according to IBM's High Court filing. IBM has claimed he is "liable" to repay a portion of each of payment, together totalling £145,750.

    Continue reading
  • If you're Intel, self-driving cars look an awful lot like PCs

    Hardware capabilities, latest feature updates? You'll get what you pay for

    Intel's vision of the computing architecture of autonomous vehicles is similar to that of PCs, with pricey models getting better hardware and the latest software, and cheaper self-driving cars getting the bare minimum.

    The segments of premium and mid-range cars will need extra compute and over-the-air update capabilities to enable increasing levels of autonomous driving, said Erez Dagan, executive vice president at Mobileye, Intel's self-driving car system division, speaking at the Evercore ISI Autotech & AI Forum this week.

    On the other hand, low-end vehicles will have basic equipment, sensors, and features as mandated or incentivized by regulations like the EU's General Safety Regulation, which focuses on improving driver safety.

    Continue reading
  • Researchers finger new APT group, FamousSparrow, for hotel attacks

    Espionage motive mooted in attacks which hit industry, government too

    Researchers at security specialist ESET claim to have found a shiny new advanced persistent threat (APT) group dubbed FamousSparrow - after discovering its custom backdoor, SparrowDoor, on hotels and government systems around the world.

    "FamousSparrow is currently the only user of a custom backdoor that we discovered in the investigation and called SparrowDoor," ESET researcher and co-author of the report Tahseen Bin Taj explained in a prepared statement. "The group also uses two custom versions of Mimikatz. The presence of any of these custom malicious tools could be used to connect incidents to FamousSparrow."

    The group can be traced back to 2019, the researchers claimed, though the attacks tracked in the report made use of the ProxyLogon vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange starting in March this year. Victims were spread around Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia, and Africa - without a single one being discovered in the US, oddly.

    Continue reading
  • Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nah, it's just Windows suffering from a bit of vertigo

    Up above the streets and houses, XP's flying high

    Bork!Bork!Bork! Windows XP continues to hang in there – quite literally – as the operating system does what it does best some 90 metres above the London's River Thames.

    The screen, spotted by Register reader Andy Jones while safely ensconced within the confines of an Emirates Air Line gondola, appears to be in something of a boot loop. It looks to be endlessly resetting as the UK capital city's cable car attraction grinds itself along the kilometre or so between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

    Continue reading
  • How many Android containers can you fit on your VM?

    The Register speaks to Canonical about running the OS in the cloud

    Interview Developers targeting Android are spoiled for choice with their platforms.

    There are a variety of options available for running Android application development environments these days. Even Microsoft has promised that its upcoming Windows 11 will eventually be able to run the apps on the desktop and has long since supported the mobile OS via its Your Phone app, even while smothering its ailing Windows Phone with a cuddly Android pillow.

    For Canonical, however, Anbox remains a cloud product, according to Simon Fels, engineering manager and is therefore unlikely to feature in any desktop version of the company's Ubuntu distribution any time soon, although with September's announcement it will now cheerfully scale from the heights of the cloud down to a single Virtual Machine via the Appliance version.

    Continue reading
  • Infosys admits it still hasn't fully fixed Indian tax portal

    Deadline came and went, but over 750 'resources' are still hard at work

    Infosys has admitted it has missed the Indian government's deadline to fix the tax portal it built, but which has been a glitchy mess since its June 2021 launch.

    The portal was introduced to make filing taxes more efficient. It delivered the opposite – India's government was forced to extend filing deadlines amid user complaints that they found the portal impossible to use. The portal was even placed into "emergency maintenance" mode at one point, during which it was completely unavailable.

    Infosys was shamed by ministers and on August 22nd was given a September 15th deadline to fix the portal.

    Continue reading
  • Here's an idea: Verification for computer networks as well as chips and code

    What tools are available? What are the benefits? Let's find out

    Systems Approach In 1984, artificial intelligence was having a moment. There was enough optimism around it to inspire me to explore the role of AI in chip design for my undergraduate thesis, but there were also early signs that the optimism was unjustified.

    The term “AI winter” was coined the same year and came to pass a few years later. But it was my interest in AI that led me to Edinburgh University for my PhD, where my thesis advisor (who worked in the computer science department and took a dim view of the completely separate department of artificial intelligence) encouraged me to focus on the chip design side of my research rather than AI. That turned out to be good advice at least to the extent that I missed the bursting of the AI bubble of the 1980s.

    The outcome of all this was that I studied formal methods for hardware verification at a point in time where hardware description languages (HDLs) were just getting off the ground. These days, HDLs are a central part of chip design and formal verification of chip correctness has been used for about 20 years. I’m pretty sure my PhD had no impact on the industry – these changes were coming anyway.

    Continue reading
  • Imagine a fiber optic cable that can sense it's about to be dug up and send a warning

    Forget wiring cities with IoT devices – this could be how wide-scale sensing gets done

    Imagine an optic fiber that can sense the presence of a nearby jackhammer and warn its owner that it is in danger of being dug up, just in time to tell diggers not to sink another shaft. Next, imagine that an entire city's installed base of fiber could be turned into sensors that will make planners think twice before installing IoT devices.

    Next, stop imagining: the tech is real, already working, and was yesterday used to demonstrate the impact of an earthquake.

    As explained to The Register by Mark Englund, CEO of FiberSense, the company uses techniques derived from sonar to sense vibrations in fiber cables. FiberSense shoots lasers down the cables and observes the backscatter as the long strands of glass react to their environment.

    Continue reading
  • Unable to test every tourist and unable to turn them away, Greece used ML to pick visitors for COVID-19 checks

    Inside the software built to figure out groups of potentially infected, asymptomatic passengers

    Faced with limited resources in a pandemic, Greece turned to machine-learning software to decide which sorts of travelers to test for COVID-19 as they arrived in the country.

    The system in question used reinforcement learning, specifically multi-armed bandit algorithms, to identify which potentially infected, asymptomatic passengers were worth testing and putting into quarantine if necessary. It also was able to produce up-to-date statistics on infections for officials to analyze, such as early signs of the emergence of COVID-19 hot spots abroad, we're told.

    Nicknamed Eva, the software was put to use at all 40 of Greece's entry points from August 6 to November 1 last year. Incoming travelers were asked to fill out a questionnaire detailing the country and region they were coming from as well as their age and gender. Based on these characteristics, Eva selected whether they should be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival. At its peak, Eva was apparently processing between roughly 30,000 and 55,000 forms a day, each form representing a household, and about 10 to 20 per cent of households were tested.

    Continue reading
  • Angry birds ground some Google Wing drones in Australia

    Between COVID and corvids, locked-down Aussies can't catch a break - or a coffee lowered from the treetops

    Some of Google parent company Alphabet's Wing delivery drones have been grounded by angry Australian birds.

    As reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and filmed by residents of Canberra, ravens have attacked at least one of Wing's drones during a delivery run.

    Canberra, Australia's capital city, is currently in COVID-caused lockdown. It's also coming into spring – a time when local birds become a menace in the leafy city. Magpies are a particular hazard because they swoop passers-by who they deem to be threateningly close to their nests and the eggs they contain. Being swooped is very little fun – magpies dive in, often from a blind spot, snapping their sharp beaks, and can return two or three times on a single run. Swooping is intimidating for walkers, and downright dangerous for cyclists.

    Continue reading
  • Memory prices to dive in late 2022, says Gartner

    Firm says 40 per cent of a server's bill of material costs are tied to memory

    Prices for DRAM and NAND flash are set to fall, sharply, in the second half of 2022 according to analyst firm Gartner.

    In a memo published last week and obtained by The Register, the firm predicts “oversupply” of memory chips will develop as demand eases and supply increases. A “significant price reduction” is therefore likely, the firm states, without offering a more precise estimate of how far prices will fall.

    The memo appears to be is directed at hardware manufacturers and advises them to start designing products that use more memory or keep memory and price the same but add other components – better CPUs, batteries or screens are suggested - to keep overall bill of material costs the same while also making devices more attractive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021