Global growth in domain name registrations fell by half this year, according to new research from .uk registry Nominet, but companies were warned to maintain robust domain name strategies.
The organisation's Domain Name Industry 2008 report (PDF) found that the average growth rates of 30 per cent over the past five years have dropped to just 15 per cent.
Generic top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com and .net were the most affected, seeing growth rates of 30 per cent in 2006 fall to under 10 per cent this year.
Country code TLDs performed a little better, bolstered by strong growth in China for the .cn domain, falling from 37 per cent last year to 26 per cent this year.
The figures could reflect the current economic slowdown, but are more likely to represent a maturation of the industry, according to Nominet director of marketing Phil Kingsland.
"Domain names have been around for a while and you would expect a levelling off," he said. "The stellar growth of 20 per cent year on year cannot continue forever, but we are not seeing the massive fall we saw in 2000. This is rather a levelling off."
But Kingsland urged companies to keep a close eye on developments in the industry which might affect their domain name strategies.
Internet oversight body the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers could allow customised domain names by as early as 2009, a decision which could force organisations to take a more selective approach to registration.
"Firms have to think about having robust domain name strategies in place so they are aware when these new TLDs come onto the market," Kingsland warned. " They need to monitor the domains they have and decide which ones to go for."
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