This is the second in our series of Zone Reports where we look at trends and/or anomalies and dig a little further into the numbers we see from day to day. In this post we examine the recent drops observed from the .XYZ zone file and speculate on what this might mean for the TLD later into the year.
First some facts. It’s been just over two weeks since .XYZ reached its one year anniversary of General Availability on the 2nd of June. Technically we’ve not passed the 45 day renew period for the early registrations in 2014, however already we are seeing a steady shrinkage of the zone file. .XYZ peaked at 942,947 domains according to the zone file count for the 4th June:
Since the 4th the zone has retracted almost every day to stand at 854,921 on the 17th, a net drop of 85,664 names over 14 days. The table above shows the breakdown of Adds and Drops over that period. ‘Adds’ are new registrations (domains new to the zone), ‘Drops’ the number of domains that no longer in the zone and `BackIn` domains that have previously left the zone but are now reinstated (renewed or re-registered).
There were 106,100 domains dropped from the zone, an average of 7579 names per day. At the same time 20,014 new names were added to the zone at a respectable rate of 1430 domains per day.
Further analysis reveals that of the 106,100 drops, 104,858 were from the same registrar, Network Solutions - 98.8% of the total drops over the period. A look at the creation dates of these domains and the vast majority (104,716) were created between the 2nd June and 14th June 2014.
Normally you’d expect domains to leave the zone at the end of the Renew Period of 45 days after expiration, if the domains were not renewed. After then they’d have a further 30 days in the Redemption Period during which they can still be renewed but at a much higher cost. If not renewed, the domains then enter Pending Delete lasting a further 5 days after which the domain is fully released and becomes available. In this particular case the NetSol domains are leaving the zone within just 2 or 3 days of expiration. A quick sample of these names reveals they are in the Renewal Period even though no longer in the zone.
As for renewed domains, let us assume that the domains still in the zone now but created during the same period as the recent drops (the 2nd-14th June 2014) have actually been renewed. Then according to our data a total of 6094 domains have been renewed against 104,716 that will probably delete.
The last paragraph's assumption leads quite nicely to the second part of this post.. a healthy dose of speculation.
To recap, the total of number of domains dropped that were created at NetSol between 2nd June and the 14th June 2014 is 104,716. These domains make up the vast majority of names dropped from the zone in the last 14 days. The number of domains ‘retained’ for that same period in 2014 is 6,094 leading to a total of 110,952 domains dropped or retained from NetSol since the 4th.
This equates to a retention rate of about 5.5% for the NetSol domains.
One big assumption is that few of the 104,716 domains that are currently not in the zone, even though in the Renew Period, will actually be renewed. Why do we suspect this? About 53,600 domains were dropped in the 4 days since the 4th June. However after a further 9 days the churn of renewed domains from those dropped and then coming back into the zone is still relatively low at around 38 per day. Of course we should expect this figure to rise as the `head` of domains in renewal comes to a peak, however the numbers seen so far are still quite low and there's no sign (yet) of large numbers of renewals performed after expiration.
Another perhaps more reasonable assumption is that the retention rate for the early NetSol allocated domains (if true) will also hold true for later domains. We do not know what criteria was used for choosing who would receive a .XYZ domain (apart from they have a .COM). And nearly all the domains created through NetSol are under privacy so we are unable to check for any geographic patterns which might have an effect on renewal. In the absence of anything to say otherwise we have to proceed as if this assumption is valid.
So what about the remaining NetSol .XYZ registrations added to the zone after this point last year?
A look back at the first few months of GA and we find a total of 376,350 domains were created by NetSol between 2nd June and 2nd August 2014 when the NetSol promotion appears to have ended. This leaves a further 265,398 NetSol domains to enter renewal between now and August. If the 5.5% retention figure is anywhere near correct then we could expect the .XYZ zone to shrink by a further 250,081 domains with 14,597 retained by August 5th this year.
Overall then, at a speculative 5.5% retention rate, we could see about 20,700 NetSol domains retained and about 355,000 dropped for the NetSol promotion as whole. Of course new .XYZ registrations are being generated at a very respectable 2000+ domains a day, so the actual zone shrinkage could be significantly less. Even so, it will be interesting to see how well these numbers align with reality over the Summer.