Blog| Changes to Registration patterns
As its nearing the end of 2023, we’d like to do an exercise to look at .ie domain registrations and find interesting changes in patterns compared to older .ie domains.
For this analysis, we took the .ie database on November 1st 2023 and divided domains into two groups:
- Historical to represent domains registered before November 1st 2022; and
- Last Year to include all domains registered between November 1st 2022 and November 1st 2023.
Let’s see how registration patterns have changed.
When a .ie domain is registered, the registrant or domain holder has to indicate if they represent a Charity, a Commercial Entity or Other, as they will go through a different verification process depending on that information. In Figure 1 we can see the distribution of domains by their registrant type.
Data from the Central Statistics Office in Ireland indicates a reduction in the number of new companies, this change of pattern could be explained by a combination of fewer companies registering domains and more individuals operating as sole traders.
Any domain name is made of characters. Our corporate domain weare.ie is made of five characters, as we discount the suffix .ie for this statistic. What would you expect to see? Domain holders picking shorter names or longer names? We can see the trend in the Figure 2.
Despite the fact that we know there is a strong preference for shorter names, in the Last Year, we can observe a shift in that trend, with longer names being slightly more preferred. The 2-point reduction in the first bucket of domains between 1 and 10 characters is equally distributed to the 11 to 20-character and 21 to 30-character buckets. We could conclude the trend for shorter domains is diminishing. People are entering longer descriptions in search engines, so a meaningful and longer name is preferred now.
When do domains get created?
We will look now into two indicators of the time when the domain was created:
- The day of the week; and
- The month
For the day of the week, we look at the proportion of Historical vs Last Year domains created on each of the seven days of the week and compare those proportions in Figure 3.
A clear pattern appears. Weekdays from Monday through Thursday lose around 2 to 3% each day, and get redistributed to Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with Saturday being the biggest winner with almost a 6-point increase. Clearly, registrations on the weekend are becoming a trend.
Let’s look now at the month of creation.
In Figure 4 below, we count domains by the month they were created and compare the proportion between Historical and Last Year registrations.
There are three patterns to highlight:
- Northern Hemisphere summer months, June to August, see little or no change.
- December to March, (4 months), show more domains registered proportionally in the Last Year compared to Historical, with changes in the range of 0.3 to 0.9 points.
- Finally, April, May, September to November see the opposite pattern, with more domains registered Historically compared to Last Year, with changes in the range of 0.2 to 1.0 points.
Letters and keywords
We now look into what domains are being created.
For this, there are two different views to offer:
- The first letter of that domain and how the changes can be explained; and
- Keywords in the domain
For Figure 5 only a few first letters are selected, the ones we consider most interesting.
First letters e, r and t saw a little increment between Historical and Last Year. Looking into specific keywords, we can say the first keyword e (as an abbreviation of electronic) had a drop, compensated by increases in eco and elite. For letter r, the first keywords rent and root had positive growth, compared to real which shrank. For letter t, the increment was driven by growth of first keywords the and tech. We observed losses by keywords trinity, Tipperary and Toyota.
On the other hand, the first letters c and m saw a drop that’s larger than the increase for e, r and t. For the letter c, the first keyword ”celtic” and “cyber” saw growth, with “castle” and “carlow” losing presence. For letter m, the first keyword ”my” saw an important increase that couldn’t compensate by the losses of keywords like “mark”, “michael” and “murphy”.
We now focus on keywords. Let’s use an example of how we distinguish keywords, by looking into our corporate domain weare.ie, that can be divided into two keywords “we” and “are”. We apply this approach to every single domain, count keywords and unearth interesting patterns. In Figure 6 we show the keywords with the highest level of change.
You can clearly see the reduction in registrations containing words “hotel”, “insurance” and “solicitors” and the rise of keywords that potentially indicate a more futuristic approach to what’s next, such as “solar”, “digital” and “tech”. “Ireland” is always an interesting keyword to look at because it’s the most used keyword within .ie.
We observed how registrations in the last calendar year don’t necessarily follow the patterns of historical registrations.
New domains tend to be longer, with fewer registered by commercial entities, more registrations coming on the weekends and during the colder months of the Northern Hemisphere. Proportionally keywords related to the digital economy are bubbling up at the expense of the more traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
Sebastian Castro is our Data Scientist and leads our data analytics team.