Tops Registrar Ranking

Domain name registrar is tops in the world, officials announced Tuesday.

The new ranking comes from a recent report by analyst firm Name Intelligence and topples Network Solutions (NetSol) from the No. 1 spot it has held for years.

“From 2002 to 2004, led the domain name industry in terms of net growth and new domain names registered,” Bob Parsons, the company’s president and founder, said in a statement. “Now that we are number one in terms of domain names under management, we are truly the world’s No. 1 registrar in every category.”

According to officials at Name Intelligence, the shift to represents the first time a registrar has been able to knock NetSol down a notch since the company started selling domain names in January 1993, after striking a five-year deal with the U.S. government.

NetSol officials downplayed the new ranking, stating a better measure of a registrar is in the quality of its business, not the quantity of its customer base. Susan Wade, a NetSol spokeswoman, said 40 percent of its new hosting business comes from new customers. The hosting service, which provides free domain name registration, storage and 24/7 live customer support, was launched by the company last month.

“We’re more interested in actually getting our customers up and online,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many domains are out there that have no active Web site, and so what our customers want is help activating [those domains].”

In the 90s, NetSol was both the registrar and registry for .com, .net and .org top-level domains (TLDs). That meant the company was both in charge of TLD operations as well as the only company people could to go to in order to buy domain names.

That all changed in October 1998 when the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) — which ultimately owns the three TLDs — had the company amend its contract and establish a Shared Registration System (SRS) to allow any company to buy and sell domain names on behalf of its customers.

The next month, the newly formed Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was named by the DoC to oversee the transition from NetSol’s monopoly position to a competitive field of accredited registrars.

NetSol had a good head start on the competition, however, and has maintained its lead until today’s announcement. It marks a new era for — a company that sold its first domain name registration in November 2000 — and the registrar industry, said Jay Westerdal, Name Intelligence CEO.

“’s rise to the pre-eminent domain name registrar — initially in new domain registrations, and now in domains under management — is a watershed event in the history of the domain name industry,” he said in a statement.

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