The Dutch economy picked up in 2017 and in the first 11 months of the year, for the first time since 2010, more .nl domain names were registered than the year before.
In the eleven months to 1 December, more than 780,000 new .nl domain names were registered, SIDN, the .nl ccTLD manager notes in a recent blog post. That was 20,000 up on the same period in 2016. Taking out cancellations, the zone file for the Netherlands’ country code top level domain grew by about 100,000 to a little over 5.8 million names. Which means the Netherlands has the highest domain name density in the world. With a population of just seventeen million, the country has nine million .nl domain names!
The trend goes against what has been commonplace among many European ccTLDs, according to CENTR research presented at the Domain Pulse conference in Vienna in February 2017. The research found growth rates (not registrations) have been declining for several years with an apparent stabilisation in the last few years.
In a following panel session, Michiel Henneke from SIDN said the .nl registry was particularly worried. In a country with 17 million people and then around 5.7 million registrations, and now the .amsterdam new gTLD, they have to focus on a probable saturation and face a future of low, if any, growth in .nl. The Netherlands also has less of a profile, Henneke said, than Amsterdam, making the city new gTLD appealing in international markets.
An upturn in the Dutch economy is one of the reasons SIDN attributes to the growth in .nl business registrations in 2017. More than 40% of ‘private’ .nl registrations by young people are actually business-related. All the signs are that the economy is flourishing, and so is .nl.
In their blog post, SIDN also provide the few case studies below:
Jeffrey van Draanen registered kingscake.nl
“Kingscake is a platform where you can buy exclusive cakes and desserts. Something special for an event, a corporate gathering or a big celebration. My business partner and I set up the site after spotting a gap in the market. When coming up with a name, of course we thought about the URL. Lots of domain names were already taken, especially names with the Dutch word ‘taart’. In the end, we settled on Kingscake, because it stands out and has an international, exclusive ring to it. We’re now working to build up the brand. Once we’re better known, hopefully we’ll be less dependent on the domain name for a high position in the search results.”
Hein van Woensel registered citiusadvocaten.nl
“Citius is a new legal practice. Obviously we needed a website, but citius.nl had already been registered by someone else. We offered to buy it, but the owner didn’t want to sell. The idea of using another extension instead of .nl was a non-starter for us. It has to be obvious that we are a Dutch law firm. So we opted for citiusadvocaten.nl, because the meaning is clear to a Dutch reader and it makes us easy to find. We hired a firm to run an SEA campaign for us. As a result, lots of people find us when looking for a lawyer and we get plenty of calls from potential clients.”
Lisa Knapen registered lisaknapen.nl
I’m a recent graduate and I’m looking for work in advertising. So I registered lisaknapen.nl to get my portfolio out there. I felt confident about building my own website, because I did a course in web design a while ago. To get myself known, I’ve been sending out postcards featuring a sort of infographic of my CV and the address of my website. In other words, the website is a career development tool. I haven’t yet found the right job, but I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and the strategy has won me a lot of introductions. I never really thought about using any extension other than .nl, because this is where I am and where I want to find work. But maybe someday I’ll fancy working elsewhere. In that case, I’ll probably go for .com.”
Dennis Brouwer registered drpproducts.nl
“I already owned winkelstickers.nl (meaning ‘shop stickers’). But I’m looking to broaden my activities, so I’ve registered drpproducts.nl as well. On the website that goes with the new name I sell a wider range of things, including posters and price tags. It’s not generating much turnover yet, but the margins make the venture attractive. DRP stands for ‘Dutch Retail Products’. It comes across as corporate and sounds good on the phone. A .nl domain name was the only option for me. If I see a company car with a .biz name on the side, I immediately assume it’s a small firm. It’s like putting your mobile number on your website: it lets everyone know that the business is just you.”