Internet domain names are now more popular than ever.
The dotcom champagne is gone but domain names remain popular
More net names were sold during the first three months of 2004 than at the height of the dotcom boom, reports domain registrar Verisign.
It said that the growing interest was due to the arrival of new suffixes and the availability of domains using Russian, Arabic and Chinese characters.
Net domains are also being used more actively than before with a greater number supporting live websites.
In its regularly released domain name report, Verisign said that the numbers of registered net addresses hit 63m at the end of March 2004.
The surge to this high point was driven by the 4.7m new domain addresses registered during those three months. More domain names than ever were also renewed in the same time period.
The total number of domain name registrations was up 21% on the same period in 2003.
dot com 45%
dot net 7%
dot de 12%
dot uk 8%
dot org 5%
dot info 2%
dot biz 2%
dot name 0%
Other country codes 19%
The company estimates that there is now one domain registered for every 100 people on the planet.
Verisign also reported that more people are maintaining active websites than at any other time. In December 2002 only 55% of those owning a net domain had created a website for that address.
Now, Verisign said, 72% of domains have a live website associated with them.
It is not just the best known .com domain that is fuelling the renewed interest.
Figures gathered by Verisign show that country codes, such as .uk , now account for 40% of registered domain names. In, Germany 90% of the domains registered are for the .de suffix.
By comparison .com accounts for 45% of all registrations.
But newer domain names, such as .info and .biz, still only account for a small fraction of registered names.
Verisign operates the global registry for the .com and .net domain name suffixes.