Analysis of .uk domain registration trends

by Edwin on September 29, 2014

With .uk domains on the market since 10 June, and the upcoming launch of the new .nz extension into the New Zealand market on 30 September, it seemed like an appropriate time to look at .uk registration trends. To date, little quantitative data has been available on the subject.

16,729 domains in Alexa’s list of the top 1,000,000 busiest websites in the world are, and eligible for the .uk. All the analysis below is based on this sample of 16,729 domains (see “Methodology” section for more details).

Key Takeaways

  • 1,934 .uk domains have so far been registered out of those 16,729 (11.6% of possible registrations)
  • Of these 1,934: 532 were registered on 10 June (first day of .uk availability), 966 during the first week of availability and 1,411 during the first month
  • The takeup of .uk appears directly related to the popularity of the website in question. 90% of the Alexa top 1,000 sites have registered their .uk, but only 8.2% of sites with Alexa scores between 800,000 and 1,000,000 have done so
  • The takeup of .uk has approximately doubled at all Alexa ranks between 16 June 2014 and 28 September 2014
  • After an early flurry of registrations, the pace of new registrations has tailed off to around 20-35 new registrations a week
  • On current trends, less than 40% of website owners will exercise their right to the matching .uk before the end of the 5 year reservation period.

Change in Takeup of .uk Over Time
The Alexa analysis was conducted twice, once on 16 June 2014 and once on 28 September 2014. The difference in the takeup of .uk is summarised in the graph (blue: 28 September; red: 28 June) and table below.
Pace of .uk Registrations
The graph below shows the number of new .uk domains registered each week (during the week beginning with the date on the horizontal axis)

With the initial wave of registrations out of the way, the continued pace of registrations is very, very slow. 1,411 .uk domains were registered in the first 4 weeks, 281 in the next 4 weeks, 131 in the next 4 weeks and just 111 in the most recent 4 week period.

Looking at this data, it is clear that, at the current pace, less than 40% of .uk domains will end up being registered by eligible owners during the 5 year period that the .uk has been reserved for them. That’s without taking into account the downward trend on the graph.

(NOTE ON ABOVE GRAPH: The number of possible .uk registrations during any given week is 16,729 minus the total number of .uk registrations up to that date.)

The Alexa 1,000,000 dataset (list of the top 1,000,000 most visited sites in the world, as measured by the Alexa toolbar) was used as the starting point for analysis. That file was processed to extract only those sites using a domain, and potentially eligible for the .uk version of their web address. This left a little under 17,000 “candidate” domains.

These domains were run through the Nominet DAC to check their status, and the results broken down by registration status and date for statistical analysis in Excel (the same process was undertaken on two separate occasions, in order to obtain comparative data – up to 16 June 2014 i.e. week 1, and up to 28 September 2014).

(Note that since the Alexa dataset is protected by copyright, and Nominet’s T&C prevent the dissemination of whois output, the processed datasets cannot be made available, but they can be reconstructed by applying the methodology outlined in the previous paragraphs.)


rex September 29, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Edwin, what does this mean

“1,934 .uk domains have so far been registered”

do you mean: 1,934 .uk domains of the *.uk domains in the Alexa 1,000,000 have so far been registered

As it stands it sounds like you are saying 1,934 .uk domain in total…


Edwin September 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Thanks, I’ve tweaked the sentence to make it clearer. I meant 1,934 out of the dataset taken from the Alexa 1,000,000 list i.e. 1,934 out of 16,729.

Although Alexa is a blunt tool (especially when it comes to UK-based sites) it gives at least a reasonable indication of which sites are busier/more popular than others, so another way to describe that 16,729 figure would be to say “The 16,729 most popular sites in the world”.

(The vast majority of sites in the Alexa dataset are .com or other extensions, not, and therefore irrelevant for this exercise)

John September 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Hats off to you Edwin for compiling this data. At first glance it appears that the .uk may go the way of the .co extension, which at the time was heralded by some as the successor to the .com. Early days yet though.

Shakes September 29, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Nice analysis. Thanks for sharing!

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