Insights into the .NL country code Top-Level Domain
Last month the Dutch ccTLD, .NL, became the third largest ccTLD in the world. This move pushes .CN into fourth (China) and puts the .NL ccTLD just behind .CO.UK (United Kingdom, 2nd overall) and .DE (German, 1st overall). Currently, there are more than 4.3 million registered .NL domain names. And with only 16.5 million people in the Netherlands, in terms of domain density per capita, .NL has the highest ratio worldwide with one domain name for every five dutch citizens.
This past February at DOMAINfest, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Michiel Henneke, Marketing Manager at SIDN, the official registry for .NL. Michiel was not only very insightful, but also provided us with some fantastic information about .NL and new initiatives at SIDN. HEXONET would like to share with our resellers some of our conversation with Mr. Henneke. However, before we begin, we would also like to thank Mr. Henneke for his time and kindess.
Question and Answer:
- What is your role at SIDN?
As Marketing Manager my primary responsibilities are Registrar satisfaction, Product development, market research and business intelligence. I've held this position for almost 5 years now.
- There are now more than 4.3 million .NL domains registered. Last month .NL overtook .CN to become the 3rd largest ccTLD in the world. What do you attribute to the strong growth in .NL registrations in recent years?
The Dutch Market is - in my opinion - an underestimated market. Last year it grew almost significantly faster than the world market, even with penetration rates that already rank among the worlds' highest.
Internally this can be attributed to our dense professional registrar network (over 1900 .nl-registrars, ex. Resellers), our liberal policy, EPP-compliant interfacing. Externally the Dutch market has a the 2nd highest internet penetration (broadband) worldwide, a high per capita income and a strong ICT-sector. It is of course also the site of a major internet junction (AMS-IX). What distinguishes Dutch consumers and entrepreneurs is the ease with which they adopt new technologies, set up websites and register domain names.
- Where is SIDN heading? What do you expect over the next three years for .NL? Are there any specific initiatives that you would like to share with our readers.
We implemented EPP last year, so there will be no major overhaul this year. An important change this year will be the introduction of a live transfer process and benchmarking information for registrars where they can compare key business indicators with the overall market (churn rate, growth rate).
- Are there any challenges / obstacles for .NL moving forward?
We're confident that the Dutch market will remain strong in the short and medium term, and that demand for .nl will continue to grow along with the economic recovery. Taking the long view: we're really interested in how the developments in mobile internet and social media are going to influence the demand for domain names in years. How are people going to use the web and how will that influence the industry? I intend to look into this trend closely form a registry perspective.
- We understand that 2011 is a special year for SIDN. On 25 April, .NL will be exactly 25 years old. It was one of the very first top-level domains whose control was delegated to an organisation outside the USA. Can you please elaborate on some of the activities SIDN has organized to commemorate this. For example with the website: http://www.de25jaarvan.nl/
Most activities will take place in the Netherlands itself. Our website is meant to collect as many anecdotes on the history of .nl as possible. The best ones will be published in a glossy Magazine this spring. In addition to that we'll be organizing a major anniversary event this fall and an exhibition in the Amsterdam Science Museum.