Afilias, registry operator of .INFO, has announced the registration of its millionth .info domain name. Afilias claims that 27% of its domain names are used, and it using a narrow interpretation of use, as it is not counting “under construction” sites, for example. State of the Domain’s quarterly report (if you don’t subscribe, do) did its own usage survey and actually duplicated the 27% number. The idea that there are 270,000 .INFO websites out there with more than “This domain for sale” signs (or re-directs to .com sites) contradicts my own experience, and it also contradicts the experience of Ross at Tucows (an owner of Afilias), who found it blog-worthy to note on October 20 of this year that he had encountered his first .INFO website not run by a domain name company. It could be that a significant portion of the .INFO registrations are used for non-English or porn usages (or non-English porn usages). Maybe if someone published the list of the 100 most-visited .INFO sites . . .
I think that the usage issue is one of the consdierations important in deciding whether to go ahead with new gTLDs (which ball, I am afraid, is again in play). My view is that unrestricted gTLDs are bad domain names, bad navigational aids, and bad branding devices, and are desired primarily by speculators and companies seeking contractual monopolies. And if the .INFO names are used, it doesn’t change the picture all that much. If there are 100 small companies with the same name, and two of them get “guessable” gTLDs, then the DNS is not working for them. Maybe gTLDs like .AERO and .MUSEUM are useful but the jury is still out.
And so, taking a page from Cato the Elder’s book, I conclude this blurb with the thought:
No more unrestricted gTLDs.