The Dollars and Sense of .net

Verisign's Scott Schnell

Verisign's Scott Schnell

“My goal today is to restart the dialogue with some of you around .net,” said Scott Schnell, Senior VP of Global Marketing and Channel Management at Verisign, as he took the NamesCon 2017 Keynote Stage to talk about the future of the .net TLD.

The domain-name space has changed dramatically, said Schnell, and the resale space has changed even more, but he said that .net remains a strong and trusted TLD. Schnell described what he called the “.net trifecta”: it's a globally relevant and vital TLD with proven aftermarket value and ongoing investment potential.

.net by the Numbers

Schnell showed how .net has achieved market success over the last five years: Its renewal rate is high, and as healthy as the .com renewal rate. Since 2003, said Schnell, there has been over $64,000,000 worth of .net sales. $30,000,000 of that has been in just the last five years. 

On average since 2010, .net domains sell for $600, and they’ve figured into more than 57,000 aftermarket transactions. That’s at least $4,000,000 in aftermarket transactions per year. Schnell told the crowd that 70% of names registered last year were never registered before: “The zone is constantly reinventing itself.”  

Schnell dispelled the myth that .net registrations simply copy those of .com. When one looks at the registration statistics, there were “extreme differences” between each TLD’s top-ten lists. Even in November during the heat of the US presidential election, when only a few terms were being incessantly discussed, .com and .net differed.

Tried and True

.net shares a lot with .com, said Schnell. They were both created on January 1, 1985. They’re both powered by Verisign. They’re both trusted TLDs all over the world. They’re also both reliable and accurate on the back-end. Did you know that the first domain name to exist was a .net? Yup, Nordu.net is still on the Web. (Turns out the Nordic Gateway for Research and Education has some staying power.) Today, IDN language flags suggest that 88 different languages are represented in the .net zone.

According to ICANN, has an average of 88% awareness rate across the globe, putting it second to .com’s 95%, and that’s borne out by its number-two spot on ICANN’s most-visited-TLDs list. In fact, Africa and South America are proportionally the biggest .net visitors. “.net is popular no matter which way you measure,” said Schnell.

Verisign invests heavily in promoting .net, including marketing it in China. There’s a campaign in China called O2O, i.e. Online to Offline/Offline to Online, which is meant to get Chinese business-owners online to reach larger national and global audiences. .net is inserting itself into that campaign. The name itself suggests “network”, which is why Behance uses it despite also owning behance.com. Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen uses .net to put its social-change initiatives front and center. .net, said Schnell, has a very healthy future, both as an investment and as an online home.