The total number of registered internet domains rose by 6.3 per cent last year, to 205.3 million VeriSign reports.
In the last quarter of the year around 3.5 million original domain names were registered, up 1.7 per cent on the previous quarter. Just over half of the total registered domains were .com or .net, with .de being the most popular country-specific URL. While there was considerable interest in .com and .net addresses overall, demand for country specific domains was nearly static - growing only 0.3 per cent over the year.
VeriSign's average daily Domain Name System (DNS) query load in the last quarter of the year was 61 billion, a rise of 17 per cent on the year, but it exceeded 72 billion on the busiest days.
The company used the end of year results to launch a new competition among small businesses to come up with new business plans around .com and .net addresses. Companies with fewer than 15 employees are eligible and the prize is $25,000 in local currency.
"VeriSign designed the contest to reward creative small businesses that are leveraging the global power of the .com and .net brands, where the world is your domain," said Dave Stewart, vice president of strategic partners at VeriSign.
The prizes will be awarded for the most creative plans and the American and Canadian sites are already online, with contests also planned for Mexico, Brazil, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Poland, Turkey, Russia, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
"We're going to be working with 600 distributors to grow awareness and drive some traffic," Stewart said at the DEMO 2011 conference.
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