Getting to Know the DNIB.com Dashboards: Global Domain Name Base Trends
One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to explain how and why I study a dataset. In the design process for DNIB.com, I got to do just that with a team of talented designers who helped bring this data to life for others to explore.
With this new site, we’re expanding on Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief (DNIB) to deliver a dynamic experience, updated monthly, allowing visitors to explore the Domain Name System (DNS) data in new ways. We’re introducing three interactive dashboards at launch. I want to provide insight on how to use each of them, starting here, exploring the dashboard that has the most overlap with the original DNIB quarterly report.
The Global Domain Name Base Trends dashboard expands on the traditional DNIB quarterly report in three helpful ways: visualizing long-term historical trends, offering a look at regional trends from around the world and visualizing the most comprehensive top-level domain (TLD) data the DNIB has ever offered.
The DNIB quarterly report has provided valuable and timely year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter snapshot comparisons on a consistent basis for more than a decade. But for historical comparisons, readers had to go back through the archives and compile the numbers themselves. Now, the dashboards presented on DNIB.com provide visualizations of several detailed trends going back to 2014.
Users have the option to see the scope of growth on demand by changing the “Comparison Type” between “Year-over-Year” and “Last 3 Years” in the upper right drop-down menu of the dashboard. Not interested in seeing how those trends have changed in the most recent quarter? You no longer have to download a new .pdf to explore how zone trends have changed over different time periods. The “Selected End Date” option changes your frame of reference for growth trends across all charts in the Global Domain Name Base Trends dashboard, taking you back in time to the month, quarter or year of your choice, depending on your “Date Granularity” selection.
Getting insights into regional growth in domain names is challenging. Country-code TLDs (ccTLDs) are not subject to the same requirements as other TLD types for providing regular zone file disclosures and consistent details about the number of domain names that exist. And many ccTLD registrars operate multiple storefronts aimed at different regions, countries and languages. Nonetheless, ccTLDs represented nearly 40% of all registered second-level domain names as of the end of 2022 and with more than 300 ccTLDs available, studying them can offer unique perspectives on DNS engagement around the world.
The DNIB.com dashboards use a combination of techniques to aggregate available data into “ccTLD Geographic Trends,” helping concentrate the available data to provide both high-level and detailed regional insights. It’s built with some help from Google’s published TLD regional relevance information to distinguish between ccTLDs primarily used in their respective countries and ccTLDs that have been “repurposed” or used mainly outside their home countries. In the bottom-left of the Global Domain Name Base Trends dashboard is an interactive chart focused on ccTLDs and their regions. When you select a region, the dashboard breaks that region down into sub-regions derived from UN-based country classification data. Click on a region to select it to see historical trends based on that same “Comparison Type” variable. Finally, mousing over the sub-regions reveals a breakdown of TLDs in that sub-region, ranked by zone size, with details on how that TLD has been changing over your selected “Comparison Type” time period.
One of the limitations of the original quarterly DNIB is that a static page can only present so much data, so it is limited to only show top TLDs by zone size. The DNIB.com dashboards take things to the next level, expanding well beyond the top 10 with a scrollable table allowing you to view all tracked TLDs, not just the top of a select few categories. Additionally, the table has a few organizational details about each TLD: what type of TLD it is, who its registry operator is and, in the case of ccTLDs, to what country it is assigned.
Trending information for each TLD is available using the “View” variable. Switching from the volume-focused “Bar View” to “Line View” provides line graphs visualizing trends and changes over time for each TLD, with rollover popups to help easily pinpoint moments in time.
More Benefits and Still More to Come
A less visually obvious bonus on top of these first three benefits of this new dashboard is the ability to update zone trend data more frequently. While the traditional DNIB was published once per quarter, DNIB.com dashboards are scheduled to be updated with the best available data on a monthly basis. Our data will be published 60 days in arrears – meaning, for example, March 2023 data is published in June 2023 – to enable the most accurate possible calculation of all metrics, taking into account requirements such as the redemption grace period.
This is just the start of how DNIB.com will provide the type of data that facilitates informed discussions about the critical issues facing the domain name industry and the DNS.