Will .cn become the new .com?

I recently came across a chart of the most popular domain extensions, compiled by Stephane Van Gelder. Although I keep track of ccTLD registrations for the Country Codes of the World map, Stephane tracks all domains, including .com, .net., etc. And when I saw it I got to thinking…

Here’s a screen grab of the figures I want to focus on:

most popular domains

What makes this chart so interesting are the growth rates — .com is growing at 5% and .cn is growing at 18%. Granted, it’s easier to grow at 18% when you’ve only got 12 million registrations, compared with growing at 5% when you’ve got 76 million registrations.

But growth is growth and .cn is clearly on a roll.

And China has a lot of headroom for growth in terms of Web users and potential domain registrants. I am confident that .cn will reach 50 million registrations over the next 3 years.

At about that point in time, .com should be around 100 million registrants — in no danger of losing its number one status.

However, if the rate of growth of .com registrations were to decrease while .cn rate of growth continues to increase, it’s reasonable to wonder if we will one day see the number of .cn registrations surpass .com registrations?

I realize this is a far-fetched scenario.

After all, it’s reasonable to assume that companies that register .cn may also register .com — and the majority do just that.

But it’s certainly something to contemplate. And even if .cn never comes close to surpassing .com, the overall point I’d like to emphasize here is that .cn is now the world’s second most popular domain extention — and likely to remain that way for many years.

What do you think?

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

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