DotEU Web Survey Results

In October 2011, the websites of 2.3 million .eu websites were surveyed by HosterStats.com. The websites (approximately 1.98 million responding) were then classified as to their domain usage. This is a more complex survey than Eurid’s Insight survey of a a few thousand .eu websites and it shows that .eu is being used but in a non-ccTLD manner. The .eu ccTLD is a composite of a number of smaller .eu ccTLD markets that have clear country based characteristics. The percentages have been rounded to two decimal places.

    HosterStats.com DotEU Web Survey Results November 2011
  • A – Active / unclassified: 13.28%
  • B – Brand Protection Registrations: 8.43%
  • C – Compromised: 0.01%
  • D – In page Redirects: 4.36%
  • E – External TLD Redirect: 9.22%
  • F – 403 etc: 2.06%
  • H – Holding Pages: 23.39%
  • I – Internal Site Redirect: 0.55%
  • M – Matched External TLD Redirect: 4.22%
  • N – Duplicate Content: 3.00%
  • O – Other TLD site served as .eu: 0.95%
  • P – PPC parking and monetisation: 10.44%
  • R – Redirects / unclassified: 1.74%
  • S – For sale/rent: 1.41%
  • U – Unavailable: 0.21%
  • W – Possible hijacked site: 0.02%
  • Z – Redirect to other .eu website: 2.23%
  • NS – No website: 14.50%

The number of domains checked in the survey was 2,319,421. The number of responding websites was 1,983,076. The percentages are expressed as a percentage of domains in the survey. The methodology (which will be explained in a later post) used for classification is highly automated and forms the precursor to developing a search engine or high quality web directory.

The most important statistic in this survey is that Brand Protection registrations, External TLD redirects and Matched External TLD redirects account for 21.87%. While the .eu ccTLD has not overtaken .com as the second choice TLD in the EU, it may be more popular than .com in the Eastern EU member states. While stand-alone .eu website development is low, the .eu domain is, apparently, considered a must-register option along with .com for many new EU businesses.

Pay Per Click advertising is also lower than expected at 10.44%. Some registrars automatically park new and undeveloped domains on PPC. Thus the PPC percentage is split between domains that are monetised by registrars and domains that are parked as part of a PPC network.

Top 1000 Hosters Have Over 84 percent of domain market

The top 1000 webhosters have over 84% of the domain market. In the HosterStats.com Top 1000 Hosters report  for October 2011 shows that the top 1000 hosters in each TLD tracked have just over 84% of the market in the com/net/org/biz/info/mobi/asia/us TLDs.  In the newer TLDs such as .mobi and .asia, that concentration of domain names is over 93%.

While these TLDs are relatively mature, they may have some indications for how the new gTLDs will fare. The key issue is that Godaddy has significant market position and if any new gTLD is targeting the North American market, it has to have this company as a flagship registrar. It has 23.48% of the domains in com/net/org/biz/info/ie (BIONIC) on its domaincontrol.com nameservers.

The demo version of the report covering the top 100 hosters  is available free on Top 1000 Hosters Report October 2011 demo. Buy the full report on Top 1000 Hosters report October 2011

Eurid Wins Against Zheng Cybersquatter

Eurid has finally won in court against a cybersquatter that had cybersquatted over 9000 .eu domains. The cybersquatter, Zheng Qingying, had no entitlement to register .eu domains and was not based in the EU. Eurid took court action against the cybersquatter and succeeded. The cybersquatter then appealed the ruling and Eurid won the appeal.

The original article on WhoisIreland.com covering Zheng’s Buycool/Blogdo cybersquatting detailed how the cybersquatting operation worked. Domains that were not granted in the .eu ccTLD’’s banjaxed Sunrise phases due were targeted by this cybersquatter. The result was that the domain names brands of many large companies throughout the EU were cybersquatted by a Chinese cybersquatter and companies had to resort to the .eu dispute procedure to regain their domain names.

Eurid had initially suspended these registrations and took legal action against Zheng. The cybersquatter had appealed the decision in a Belgian court. The Court of First Instance ruled on 21 September 2010 that the domains had been registered in bad faith. The delay in revoking these domain names was to allow a reasonable time for appeals and notifications. The domain names will be released from quarantine and will be available for registration over a two day window of 24-25 October 2011. The list of Zheng revoked domain names has been published by Eurid.

In domain industry terms, this is news from the last Ice Age. The poor legislative framework, badly handled Sunrise phases and abject plundering of the Landrush phase by non-EU speculators using EU front companies effectively destroyed .eu as a viable alternative to .com in the EU. This wasn’t ordinary domaining. The launch of .eu ccTLD saw industrialised cybersquatting and domain name speculation and Eurid tried to spin its way out of the mess and failed.  Failure to ensure the integrity of .eu ccTLD destroyed the credibility of the extension. The registration volumes looked impressive but in 2006 the .eu ccTLD was a festering, maggot ridden corpse of a ccTLD and the abject plundering of the ccTLD killed off natural web development for years. There has been no major .eu pure-play website launched yet. It takes years for that kind of damage to wash out of the system and the development and interest that is happening now in ccTLD should really have been happening in 2006/2007.

Most of the ccTLDs in the EU saw a massive rise in registrations as a result of businesses and individuals losing their domains to speculators and cybersquatters. In Ireland and the UK almost 80% of businesses that applied for their domains in the Sunrise phases were denied these domains by the flakey process. This effectively killed the .eu in the Irish and UK market and approximately 75% of .eu domains that Eurid claims are Irish registered are registered by front companies run by Dotster, Ultsearch and others. Ironically Dotster’s Irish front company articles state that it is effectively a company set up purely for the purpose of cyberwarehousing.

In real terms, the .eu ccTLD is like .biz or .info gTLDs. In any EU country, the main domain names in use will use that country’s ccTLD or .com TLD. These will form up to 80% of that country’s domain market. The .biz and .info gTLDs tend, like .eu to form smaller parts of those markets. Despite people being aware of the outlying gTLDs, they don’t typically use them as their main brand. They are far more likely to point their .eu domain to their primary ccTLD or TLD website. Active development in these outlying gTLDs is also lower than that of the ccTLDs. However the .eu ccTLD domains are very useful as gateway domain names that allow access to the EU as a whole.

August 2011 .CO Web Survey 73111 Expired .co Domains

The HosterStats.com August 2011 .co Web Survey shows that of the 558,066 websites surveyed, 73,111 of these are now expired. This is approximately 13.07% of the responding websites and 11.19% of the tracked .co domain names.

  • Web Type — Websites — % Websites
  • Active/unclassified: 67,976  –  12.1572%
  • Brand Protection:  10,429 –  1.8652%
  • Possibly Compromised:   32 –  0.0057%
  • In Page Redirect:  2,773 –  0.4959%
  • External TLD Redirects:  40,615 –  7.2638%
  • Forbidden/ Not Found: 6701 –  1.1984%
  • Holding Page:  67,943 –  12.1513%
  • Internal Site Redirect:  18,438 –  3.2975%
  • Expired Domain: 73,111 — 13.0755%
  • Premium Reserved:  3,409 –  0.6097%
  • Exact Match External TLD Redirect:  18,715 –  3.3471%
  • Duplicate Content:   233 –  0.0417%
  • PPC Parked:  227,727 — 40.7279%
  • Uncategorised Redirects:  1,091 –  0.1951%
  • For Sale/Rent:  5,483 –  0.9806%
  • Unavailable:  854 –  0.1527%
  • Adult (generic):   116 — 0.0207%
  • Redirect to .co sites:  13,497 –  2.4139%

The main hosters with expired .co domain names are:

DOMAINCONTROL.COM       13,143
SEDOPARKING.COM       6,825
SECURESERVER.NET      6,234
CASHPARKING.COM       3,374
DOMAINMONSTER.COM    1,263
WORLDNIC.COM     1,194
KOLMIC.COM   992
REGISTRAR-SERVERS.COM  791
REGISTER.COM   782
DIRECTNIC.COM  712

The top hoster with most expired .co domain names is Godaddy’s DOMAINCONTROL.COM but as Godaddy is the .co flagship registrar, this high number of expired domains is to be expected.

Website Usage In .CO – July 2011

These are the results of the HosterStats.com July web survey of 515,460 detected .CO websites. Measuring and categorising website usage in TLDs is one of the things that HosterStats.com does regularly. The algorithms used to determine categories are designed to rapidly build search engines.  This means that the categorisation is more accurate than what often passes for TLD website usage “analysis”. The survey was carried out over the 22nd and 23rd of July 2011.

HosterStats.com .CO Website Survey – July 2011

  • CategoryWebsitesPercentage of Websites
  • Active/Unclassified: 66,747 – 12.9490%
  • Brand Protection:  10,267 – 1.9918%
  • Possibly Compromised:  42 – 0.0081%
  • In Page Redirect: 3156 – 0.6123%
  • External TLD Redirects (non-exact): 42,374 – 8.2206%
  • Forbidden/Not Found:  7,000 – 1.3580%
  • Holding Pages: 71,533 – 13.8775%
  • In-Site Redirect: 17,118 – 3.3209%
  • Dropped/Expired: 3,158 – 0.6127%
  • Reserved Premium Domains: 3,559 – 0.6905%
  • External TLD Redirect (Exact Match): 18,117 – 3.5147%
  • Duplicate Content Sites: 232 – 0.0450%
  • PPC Parked: 250,157 – 48.5308%
  • Redirects (uncategorised): 1,302 – 0.2526%
  • For Sale/Rent: 5,508 – 1.0686%
  • Unavailable: 837 – 0.1623%
  • Generic Adult: 115 – 0.0223%
  • In Zone Redirects (to other .co sites): 14,238 – 2.7622%

This is a limited survey of 515,460 responding .CO websites. It does not cover the entire .CO ccTLD zone. However the general trends are apparent. The detected websites have trends that are similar to those found in gTLDs such as .INFO and .BIZ. For what is effectively a repurposed ccTLD marketed as a gTLD in its first year of operation, it is doing very well.

In terms of marketing, the .CO Registry did everything right from getting GoDaddy.com as its flagship registrar to getting a number of very high profile internet companies to register single letter .co domain names. Such has been the effectiveness of the .CO registry’s marketing that if it was marketing the .US ccTLD, the .US ccTLD domain count would be in the tens of millions by now.

Development in a new TLD takes time. It can be expensive and most web developers do not scale well horizontally. With any new TLD launch, there will be an element of speculation were people register domain names with the intent of selling them on for a profit or monetising them with PPC advertising. However some registrars now automatically park unused and undeveloped domain names on their own PPC parking pages. Sedo provides such a PPC parking service. Godaddy has its own parking program and its free page parking IP accounts for a lot of the PPC parked .co domain names. This is not surprising given the Godaddy.com’s position as the flagship .CO domain name registrar. In the next year, the level of development of .CO websites should increase and this is the greatest challenge for the .CO registry. It is good at maintaining the prominence of the .CO ccTLD but it also has to emphasise the the importance of development. The relatively high price of .CO registration and renewal fees has ensured that the level of domain name speculation is somewhat lower than in other recently launched TLDs.

Brand Protection

Brand protection registrations are a feature in all new TLDs as trademark owners typically register their domain names in these new TLDs. Small businesses also register their domains in new TLDs and while they may not have trademarks, the fact that they will do so indicates that they consider the new TLD, in this case .CO, to be important enough to warrant such a registration. But the hidden aspect is the number of .co websites in this survey that are Exact Match redirects to other TLDs (18,117 or 3.51%). These are .co websites that are forwarded to the main websites of the registrants.  The other External TLD redirects are often keyword type domains redirecting to the registrant’s main website in other TLDs.

Holding Pages

These are unused domains which are often just the registrar’s or hoster’s generic landing page for undeveloped domain names. Unused blogs, (where not even the initial “hello world” post has been changed), are also included in this category. While the larger registrars will use PPC parking programs to monetise their unused domain names, smaller hosters and webdevelopers often leave blank or “coming soon” notices on these pages.

Dropped/Expired Domains

These are the .CO domain names that have not been renewed and are in their supension phase. The nameservers for these domain names have been changed and the website now points to a generic suspension webpage. As the July websurvey was carried out just days after the anniversary of the .CO Landrush in July 2010, the number is low. It will increase over the next month. Some new TLDs can have a renewal rate of approximately 70% on the first Landrush Anniversary.

Reserved Premium .CO Domains

These are premium domain names that have not been released by the .CO registry. They are typically high value keyword type domain names or short (two letter) domains. They will be released for sale or auction in the future.

PPC Parking

Pay Per Click parking is an established feature of most TLDs and sometimes domain names are purchased purely for their ability to generate revenue from PPC advertising. Due to registry and hoster PPC parking of unused domain names, the PPC percentage for .CO websites in this survey may seem high. Less accurate figures quoted in some registry reports underreport the true level of PPC parking because they simply don’t measure it properly. The PPC model has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Detecting PPC parked websites involves analysing each site for the signatures of PPC activity rather than just relying on known PPC parking IPs. Many PPC websites are not on PPC IPs or nameservers of known PPC operations.