January 07, 2022

2021 Domain Review

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We have compiled some insights to review what has happened within the domain world during 2021. Below you can find:

  • The most popular domains at the end of 2021.
  • TLDs on the rise.
  • Other Key Findings.

 

Most Popular Domains 2021 

All TLDs

At the end of the 2021 there were 1599 different TLDs on offer, with 562,987,418 domains registered across the extensions listed below. As usual, .com remained the most popular extension accounting for 37.43% of all registered domains, with .tk (the ccTLD for or Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific) remaining in second, due to it being the only TLD that offers free domain names. Other ccTLDs also continued to perform strongly with .cn, .de, .uk and .ru all once again making the top 10 most popular domain extensions. There was two new additions into the top 10 this year, with both .xyz and .top seeing considerable growth that enabled them to be the 9th and 10th  most registered TLDs. 

TLDNumber of Registered DomainsShare of TLDs
.com210,740,92734.43%
.tk24,873,2064.42%
.cn24,450,0764.34%
.de22,130,8263.93%
.net18,955,7963.37%
.uk18,735,5813.33%
.org14,720,1822.61%
.ru10,239,3801.82%
.xyz9,165,1631.63%
.top8,385,4441.49%

ccTLDs

Of the 1599 TLDs on offer, 338 are ccTLDs. ccTLDs accounted for 224,823,590 of the 562,987,418 registered domains, with the major ccTLDs also being found in the top 10 for all TLDs. There was also significant growth for other ccTLDs this year with .ga, .cf and .ml placing 6th, 7th and 8th in the most popular ccTLDs, overtaking both .nl and .fr. 

ccTLDNumber of Registered DomainsShare of ccTLDs
.tk24,873,20611.07%
.cn24,450,07610.88%
.de22,130,8269.85%
.uk18,735,5818.33%
.ru10,239,3804.56%
.ga7,593,9353.38%
.cf6,534,0332.91%
.ml6,319,3692.81%
.nl6,269,9382.79%
.fr5,158,3302.29%

Generic TLDs

There are 8 generic TLDs which accounted for 244,457,423 registered domains at the end of 2021. These registered domains are primarily made up of .com registrations, with it accounting for 86.21% of all generic TLDs. The vast majority of the remaining share is made up with .net and .org, with the other generic TLDs having little impact. 

ccTLDNumber of Registered DomainsShare of ccTLDs
.com210,758,59986.21%
.org18,956,3987.75%
.net`14,722,9726.02%
.gov8,310<0.01%
.edu8,104<0.01%
.int2,721 <0.01%
.mil316<0.01%
.arpa3<0.01%

New TLDs

2021 saw a significant rise in the use of new TLDs, with 1253 extensions accounting for 93,833,648 registered domains. .xyz and .top grew considerably over the year to enter the top 10 TLDs for the first time. However, lots of new TLDs saw growth with .icu, .biz, and .club receiving large rises in their registration numbers. 

ccTLDNumber of Registered DomainsShare of ccTLDs
.xyz9,172,5309.78%
.top8,387,3858.94%
.icu7,695,9998.20%
.info7,495,6887.99%
.online4,471,5834.77%
.site4,185,6934.46%
.club4,065,9514.33%
.biz3,230,9933.44%
.loan2,639,9162.81%
.vip2,244,8522.39%

 

TLDs On The Rise

.biz

The .biz domain performed strongly in 2021, seeing significant growth in its registration numbers. This was likely a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as there was a large increase in the number of people entering self-employment, with a study in the UK finding that the number of freelancers went up by 63% over the course of the year. This growth in the number of self-employed, has meant that more business websites have been set up, and the .biz domain seemed to meet freelancers needs, as it provided a professional feel to their site. 

.biz growth

 

.live

Another TLD that benefited from the pandemic in 2021 was .live, which saw its registrations increase by 100% year-on-year. This is a consequence of events, classes and meetings all having to be moved online due to social distancing restrictions across the globe. .live provided teachers and organisers with the perfect extension to stream their events to the customers and clients live via a website. In some cases .live domains were also being used for nefarious activities.

 

.live growth

.eco 

2021 saw the continued rise of sustainable thinking by both consumers and businesses, culminating in the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow. This rise has seen an increase in domains that contain keywords relating to sustainability and eco friendly practices, as well as an increase in the use of the extension .eco. 

.eco growth

 

Other Key Findings

 

The Rise of Meta

meta

In October, Facebook announced the rebrand of its corporate brand to Meta, with the aim of positioning the company as the major player within metaverse technology. Since the announcement domains containing the keyword ‘meta’ have risen exponentially, due to the metaverse being predicted to become the replacement for the current internet. For more information on the metaverse and its impact on domains, keep an eye on our blog as we have a series coming out shortly to explain our thoughts on this in more detail.

 

The Impact of Descriptive Domains  

Descriptive domains use both sides of the dot in a domain name to make the web address more self-explanatory. Examples of this include car.show or hot.coffee. These domains are easier for consumers to remember and also help contribute to SEO scores, ensuring that users of these domains rank better organically on search engines. One 2021 case study illustrated these benefits with Wrap Life - an African head wrap company - doubling their sales within the space of two months, as a result of changing their domain to thewrap.life 

 

Demand for Shorter Domains Went Up

The demand for shorter domains went up considerably in 2021, with consumers using alternative domains extensions to produce shorter domains. Research demonstrated that non .com domains were 26% shorter in 2021 than previous years, illustrating how these previously less popular extensions were used to generate shorter domain lengths. This finding also helps to explain the growth seen within new TLDs over the past 12 months. 

 

Source: Domain Name Stats - https://domainnamestat.com/ 

December 17, 2021

How AirBnB contributed to it's domain being stolen

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Airbnb is the world-famous platform that allows hosts to rent their rooms or houses to travellers from around the world. During 2017 Airbnb bought the social payments start up Tilt. The acquisition included the domains crowdtilt.com and tilt.com

It appears that Airbnb, after the acquisition, did not update the Whois information for those two domains. The archived registrant information of Tilt.com is shown below. 

Registrant Name: Tilt.com, Inc 

Registrant Organization: Tilt.com, Inc 

Registrant Street: 370 TOWNSEND ST 

Registrant City: SAN FRANCISCO 

Registrant State/Province: CA 

Registrant Postal Code: 94107-1607 

Registrant Country: us 

Registrant Phone: 118669712365 

Registrant Email: tech@crowdtilt.com 

The domain crowdtilt.com was then allowed to lapse, later snapped up by a third party. The new domain owner then set up the email address tech@crowdtilt.com, which allowed him to gain access to Tilt.com ultimately transferring the domain away from Airbnb. 

The matter did not sit well with Airbnb so they filed a UDRP complaint to recover the domain but failed in its attempt.  

The Panelist denied the complaint on the ground that Airbnb did not meet its burden of proof of bad faith registration and use. 

The Panelist went on to say that the UDRP is designed to deal with clear cases of cybersquatting but “not intended to thwart every sort of questionable business practice imaginable.” In short, the UDRP was the incorrect forum to address the theft of the domain. 

However, the Panelist did make a controversial statement that the Respondent was the escrow agent and acquired the domain in that capacity thus lacked bad faith. This could create an absurd situation that a Respondent’s defence is merely that they are acting as an escrow agent or holding the domain in trust. The vast majority of domains that infringe trade marks make use of a privacy service, which is essentially a trust service. 

What could Airbnb have done differently?  

They should have: 

  • Transferred the Tilt domains to their corporate registrar so they could be managed centrally.
  • Updated the Whois information, which includes the domain registrant email address.
  • Considered a different forum to recover the domain as the domain has generic elements (tilt is a descriptive term) and its acquisition had a criminal aspect.

Acquisitions occur all the time and the timeframes for integrating acquired assets can take time, however domains are mostly renewed annually and the risk of losing them in such a transaction are high. We strongly suggest that they be assigned a higher importance. 

If you are concerned about your domains or merely want to know if your domains are at risk please reach out to us. 

December 14, 2021

Are you a player or hater? - A copyright case that Taylor Swift can’t seem to shake off!

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Taylor Swift faces a jury trial over allegations that she copied lyrics for her biggest selling single ‘shake it off’ from girl group 3LW’s minor hit ‘playa’s gon’ play’. 

The accusations reside on both tracks featuring variations of the phrases ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’. 

See the side-by-side comparison of the contested lyrics below. 

Shake It Off LyricsPlayers Gon' Play Lyrics
'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play 
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate'
Playas, they gonna play 
And haters, they gonna hate 

An original ruling found that the lyrics were too “brief, unoriginal and uncreative” to gain protection under the copyright act, with the Judge citing 13 earlier songs with similar phrases. 

However, this verdict was successfully appealed, with the judge stating that the court could not determine that no juror could find substantial similarity in the lyrical phrasing and structure of the two songs. 

This means Swift’s team will need to convince a Jury that she has not infringed copyright with her 2014 hit single. 

 

What do you think? Has Taylor Swift infringed Copyright? 

Watch the music videos below: