The year 2008 ended with a total base of 177 million domain name registrations across all of the Top Level Domains (TLDs). This represents 16 percent growth over the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2008, more than 10.1 million new domain names were registered across all TLDs. The composition of the domain name industry and rank order in terms of base size remained consistent in the fourth quarter. The five largest TLDs in terms of base size were .com, .cn (China), .de (Germany), .net, and .org.
The overall base of .com and .net domain names grew to 90.4 million at the end of 2008. This represents a 12 percent increase over the previous year and a one percent increase over the third quarter of 2008.
In the face of the Internet's continued global growth, VeriSign continued to operate the infrastructures that allow users to register domain names, access Web sites, send emails or conduct commerce and communications. During the quarter, VeriSign processed a peak of nearly 50 billion Domain Name System (DNS) queries per day, with each query representing an instance of an Internet user accessing a Web site or sending email. The VeriSign DNS continued to maintain 100 percent operational accuracy and stability during the fourth quarter of 2008, just as it has for the past 11 years.
The latest VeriSign Domain Name Industry Brief also spotlights how VeriSign and others in the global Internet community are working to provide a way for people of all languages to navigate the Internet. The issue is important, because Internet usage is growing fastest in countries where English and other Latin-based languages are not the primary language.
One method of addressing this is to implement domain names represented by local language characters, such as Japanese Kanji symbols, rather than the ASCII letters and numbers used in English and most European languages. Known as Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), these TLDs use local language characters to represent the domain name, and then to follow them with a common ASCII TLD, such as .com or .net.
Though more than 47 domain name registry operators support IDNs, concerns over public confusion and ease of use, uneven browser support, and local network limitations have triggered a growing desire in the Internet community to provide a fully localized navigation experience by extending internationalization to the TLD itself.
In support of this effort, VeriSign has joined the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and others in the Internet community to pursue development of Internationalized TLDs. While participants are working to resolve the many complicated challenges that exist with fully internationalized TLDs, the Internet community expects the application process in the New gTLD Program will commence late this year. Tests are already underway, with public participation in usage trials designed to help ensure ongoing DNS stability and security.
"The potential for internationalized TLDs to enable a universally accessible Internet is promising," said Jill McNabb, vice president, Naming Services at VeriSign. "But it must be done right. A careless or rushed approach will expose the community to a high risk of failure over technical and business issues. VeriSign is committed to working with ICANN and others to achieve a safe, consistent and ubiquitous user experience, while protecting company brands and their customers around the world."
VeriSign publishes the Domain Name Industry Brief to provide Internet users throughout the world with significant statistical and analytical research and data on the domain name industry and the Internet as a whole. Copies of the 2008 fourth quarter Domain Name Industry Brief, as well as previous reports, can be obtained at www.verisign.com/domainbrief.
About VeriSign VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) is the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world. Billions of times each day, VeriSign helps companies and consumers all over the world engage in communications and commerce with confidence. Additional news and information about the company is available at www.verisign.com.
Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause VeriSign's actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainty of future revenue and profitability and potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results due to such factors as the inability of VeriSign to successfully develop and market new products and services and customer acceptance of any new products or services, including VeriSign Internet Domain Name Services; the possibility that VeriSign's announced new services may not result in additional customers, profits or revenues; and increased competition and pricing pressures. More information about potential factors that could affect the company's business and financial results is included in VeriSign's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. VeriSign undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.