Domain-name registration hits record high

VeriSign's latest figures indicate that more people than ever are registering domain names - with .com leading the way

Domain-name buying is back in fashion once again – with registrations picking up to levels last seen in 2000.

While domain-name carpet-bagging became a sport in the dot-com days as entrepreneurs snapped up URLs they hoped to sell on for thousands, today's buyers simply want a Web address to put a Web site on – all 63 million of them.

Over 4.7 million new registrants joined the list of owners in the first three months of this year – an all-time high not seen before in the history of the Internet, according to VeriSign's latest Domain Name Report.

The number of registrations for the first quarter of this year shows 21 percent growth year-on-year. The most popular choice of suffix is .com, with the UK and Germany's regional domains - .uk and .de – also doing well. The German suffix, for example, has cornered around 90 percent of all domain names in the country.

Generic top-level domains like .biz and .name are the poor cousins of the domain-name game, with 8 percent of registrations compared to .com's 45 per cent.

The number of names actually associated with an active Web site has risen from 55 per cent at the last peak in 2000 to 64 percent now – a sign that asset-strippers are disappearing in favour of legitimate business buyers.

Around two-thirds of all domain names now registered are now owned by businesses.

Approximately one in 100 people on the planet own a domain name, according to VeriSign's figures.