Increased international use of the internet has driven the number of domain names registered globally to 138 million, according to a report from VeriSign, the firm that operates the .com and .net domains.
The Domain Name Industry Brief for the second quarter of 2007 indicated that a major factor in the expansion of domain name registrations was strong growth in top-level (ccTLD) registrations in China (.cn), Russia (.ru) and South Korea (.kr).
The number of ccTLDs grew to about 51.5 million by the end of the second quarter, according to VeriSign, approximately 13 percent more than the first quarter of 2007 and 36 percent more than the same quarter last year.
Because they're the most widely accepted TLDs, .com and .net grew to 73 million domain name registrations.
The 14.5 million new domain name registrations was an all time high, besting the previous mark set in the fourth quarter of 2006. New registrations in the second quarter grew by 37 percent over the first quarter and 32 percent over the second quarter a year ago.
The increased demands on the registry infrastructure, which lets users access websites, send emails or conduct business on the internet, have paralleled the increase in domain name registrations. The company's registry infrastructure also experienced heavy demand, processing a peak of 30 billion domain name system (DNS) queries per day in the second quarter, according to VeriSign.
"As the internet grows and becomes more global, so does the challenge to ensure that businesses and internet users throughout the world can rely upon it," Raynor Dahlquist, vice president of naming services at VeriSign, said in a prepared statement.
A VeriSign representative could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
The latest Domain Name Industry Brief also spotlighted the growing importance of international operations for the more than 840 companies that serve as domain name registrars for the .com and .net TLDs. VeriSign said that 80 percent of all registrars draw business from countries outside their own.
When asked to describe their businesses, 65 percent of the registrars said they were domain name "business-focused" and 35 percent described themselves as consumer-focused. On average, consumers account for about 25 percent of registrars' customer base over the past 12 months; U.S. registrars report a slightly higher proportion of business from consumers at 27 percent.
Small businesses and SOHOs (small office/home office) companies account for about 24 percent of the registrars' customers; only 12 percent were larger businesses, especially among non-U.S. registrars.
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