Internet trends may come and go, but general consumer awareness and acceptance can turn a trend into a shift of the internet lexicon. Technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), such as the ChatGPT chatbot from OpenAI, captured the attention of content creators, technologists and regulators in 2023, and AI continues to impact the internet, including the domain name ecosystem.

Trending topics often influence domain name registrations, as internet users seek to capitalize on popular culture or slang. But since the announcement of ChatGPT in November 2022, the term “AI” has become part of everyday conversation. The chatbot’s introduction to the world provided an inflection point for public awareness and interest in artificial intelligence, subsequently driving growth in the use of the AI acronym as a keyword within new domain name registrations across a variety of top-level domains (TLDs) as well as for the .ai country-code TLD (ccTLD).

New registrations incorporating the term AI accelerated in the wake of ChatGPT’s announcement. Across generic top-level domains (gTLDs), new registrations of names ending with AI, such as, totaled 300,000 names in 2023, growing 67% year over year. New gTLD domain name registrations ending with AI had a two-year total of 479,000 names.

Source: estimate
Source: Domain Name Base Trends Dashboard

Over the same period, according to’s Global Domain Name Base Trends Dashboard, the .ai ccTLD base increased by 211,000 registrations, or 142% year over year, reaching a total base of 359,000 names at the end of 2023. The burgeoning ccTLD represents a small slice of the more than 360 million domain names across the DNS, but what was once a relatively unknown ccTLD designated for a Caribbean Island has become the latest ccTLD to be repurposed by popular use.

Initially intended for use in a specific physical geographic location, ccTLDs sometimes take on new meaning based on trending terminology, shifting to more broadly targeted content. Examples of TLDs associated with a country that have since been repurposed include .io, designated for British Indian Ocean Territory but now more commonly used as a tech company-focused domain name with I and O representing input/output; .tv, designated for Tuvalu but now more widely known for its use by media-centric websites and companies; .me, designated for Montenegro but now positioned as a domain for personal use; and most recently .ai, designated for Anguilla, a British Overseas Territory in the Eastern Caribbean.

Source: Domain Name Base Trends Dashboard separates these repurposed ccTLDs into their own category in the Global Domain Name Base Trends dashboard, providing detail for each. This enables readers to see trends more clearly among repurposed ccTLDs individually and as a group and keeps trends among repurposed ccTLDs from obscuring regional trends for locally focused ccTLDs.

Google also categorizes and treats repurposed ccTLDs differently – for ccTLDs used generically, Google’s algorithm does not award any increased geographic relevance in organic search result rankings. Google’s list of ccTLDs considered “generic” had not changed for more than a decade, but in May 2023, Google added .ai to its list of “Generic Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).” incorporates Google’s list, along with the United Nations regional hierarchy, into the segmentations that distinguish between ccTLDs and repurposed ccTLDs in our regional breakdowns. Since launched in June 2023, .ai has been included in our repurposed ccTLD segment and all historical trends in the dashboards represent .ai in that category.

Several types of registrants typically drive trend-focused registrations: new companies seeking to align with the trend, domain investors seeking to capitalize on a trend and established companies seeking to protect their brands. By their nature, trend-driven registrations – like what is happening now with AI – can be more unpredictable in terms of new registration rates and renewal of those names as trends wax and wane.

Innovation and new trends in content and technology will continue to shift the popularity of related terms in domain name registrations and, occasionally, in alternative uses for ccTLDs. tracks and incorporates significant domain use trends, building them into our segmentation of ccTLDs – providing readers with a clear picture of multi-year trends for individual TLDs and TLD categories.

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