Study Finds a Third of .Com Domains Completely Unused

How Many .com Domain Names Are Unused? Singapore Data Company recently conducted a study to answer this question.
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Christopher Forno, company’s CTO writes: “When looking for .com names, I’ve been frustrated by how many are already taken but appear to be unused. It can feel like people are registering every pronounceable combination of letters in every major language, and even the unpronounceable short ones. Is there rampant domain speculation, or do I just think of the same names as everyone else? Let’s look at the data… I started by crawling a random sample of the domains from the top-level .com DNS zone file, until reaching 100,000 valid domains. … The crawl took a little over 48 hours from a single server located in a Singapore data center. … Then, I wrote a script to help me categorize websites based on their screenshot and body.”

There are currently 137 million .COM domain names registered.Of these, roughly 1/3 are in use (businesses, personal websites, email, etc.), another 1/3 appear to be unused, and the last 1/3 are used for a variety of speculative purposes.

.COM Domain Usage, from a sample of 2,188 domains

Summary Statistics and Insights

  • GoDaddy is the registrar for 1/3 of all .com domain names. That’s roughly 45 million domain names. Of those, 1 in 3 have parking pages. In other words, more than 10% of all .com domain names host GoDaddy ads pages.
  • While there are 1,851 registrars in the sample, the majority of those are controlled by a smaller number of operators. For example, over 1,000 of the registrars are controlled by alone.
  • 25% of domains were registered within the last year.

Domain ages according to WHOIS creation dates, from a sample of 100,000 domains

Resources: Circleid

Complete report: Singapore Data Company

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