Update on the .PL ccTLD
The last time we discussed the .PL ccTLD (country-code Top Level Domain) on our blog was in the summer of 2010. At the time of the post, the .PL Registry had just over 1.8 million domains under management. Now fast forward to this last December and you will see the Registry now has nearly 2.3 million domains! What amazing growth!
NASK, the registry operator of the .PL ccTLD, just released their latest report on the state of the .PL domain. In 2011, the registry grew by 284,062 new registrations. Today, .PL ranks as the 5th largest ccTLD in the European Union.
Poland is the biggest Central European country and a member of the EU. Though the country has a large population of 38 million people, among its European neighbors, it still has a relative low Internet penetration rate (58%). With a burgeoning tech sector together with a dynamic and growing domain market, Poland now has the 5th largest e-commerce market in Europe. At HEXONET we certainly see evidence of the growing number of .PL registrations and expect much more upside in the Polish domain market in the coming year.
At last year's DOMAINFest conference, we had the opportunity to meet Daniel Dryzek, a domain investor and CEO & Founder of ddfund.eu (domain development fund). Daniel is an expert in the Polish domain market and was kind enough to recently grant an interview with HEXONET. We want to thank Daniel for his valuable feedback and insight.
Question & Answer:
HEXONET: What are the most popular domain extensions used in Poland?
Daniel Dryzek: The most popular extension in Poland is of course .PL with over 1.5 million registrations, .com.pl comes in second place with 352,000, followed by .eu with 232,000 and then .com with around 210,000 names.
HEXONET: Over the past couple of years, what do you think is driving the strong growth of the .PL ccTLD?
Daniel Dryzek: There has been a lot of growth in Polish Internet for the last couple of years. Growth in the number of Internet users, as well as in Internet usage, and money spent on e-commerce. There has also been constant high GDP growth - compared to the Western European countries. Domain registrars also put a lot of effort into promoting domain names and websites.
HEXONET: How active is the aftermarket in Poland? What were some of the highlights of the MeetDomainers conference held last October in Poland?
Daniel Dryzek: The Polish domain secondary market is one of the most active domain markets in the world in my opinion. As you mentioned, we have several domain conferences and the MeetDomainers conference is one of them. The last one was staged in Warsaw. The Polish domain registry covered statistics and news from the .PL domain market. We also had sessions dedicated to opportunities and threats for the secondary domain market in Poland. And we also focused on alternative investments like start-ups, wine, green energy, land investment and domains as well. We believe that it is very important to diversify your investments.
HEXONET: Are there any trends regarding the .PL ccTLD that we should be made aware of?
Daniel Dryzek: .PL growth rate is no longer as high as it was in the past years. This is due to the global crisis which has had an impact on Poland and the Polish economy. High renewal fees play a role here as well. Growth rate for .Pl domains: 2008 (73%), 2009 (23%), 2010 (22%) and 2011 ( 14%).
HEXONET: What are the challenges and obstacles for .PL moving forward?
Daniel Dryzek: The Polish registry, NASK, has to lower the renewal fees to sustain the growth. There is no possibility for future growth with 10 EUR net (wholesale price) renewal fee for .PL. At the end of 2011, there were 2,278,722 .PL domains registered but churn rate was very high: 40.28%. Only 6 in 10 .PL domains are extended for the next year.
HEXONET: Is there good adoption of idn.pl in Poland?
Daniel Dryzek: Yes. Poland was the first country in Europe that implemented IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names). You can find IDNs on billboards, in press advertisements and on the Internet. It has become standard that a company registers both non-IDN and IDN (if applicable) for its website.
HEXONET: Finally, do you think the new gTLDs will have an impact on the importance of .PL in the future?
Daniel Dryzek: Not really. I don't really believe in the new TLDs and I definitely don't believe they will have a significant impact on ccTLDs in general.