October 16, 2012Data show a slight reduction in .com growth rate, but it’s still over 8% per year.

A couple weeks ago Michael Berkens wrote a story about how the base of .com and .net domain registrations was slowing “to a crawl”.

A few days later Treffis issued a report stating “Verisign’s Dropping .com And .net Is A Troubling Trend”.

The numbers in Berken’s post didn’t quite make sense to me. The Treffis report refers to .com and .net having a falling market share, which doesn’t seem particularly relevant with the overall namespace continuing to grow.

Curious what the real story is, I decided to dig into the numbers.

The most important thing I discovered is that the numbers some people compare aren’t always apples to apples. What VeriSign reports on its zone file page differ from what’s in its domain industry briefs and investor calls, which also differ from the numbers it reports to ICANN each month. For example, the numbers in the quarterly reports and domain briefs exclude domains in the 5 day add-grace period.

If you compare numbers in the zone file to VeriSign’s other reports, you’ll get the wrong growth rates.

Perhaps the best monthly source of information on .com registrations are the monthly reports VeriSign sends to ICANN. They’re easy to access and the archive goes back as far as you want to go.