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Worldwide domain names surpass 252 million mark

More than six million names were added to the Internet in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing the total number worldwide to a whopping 252 million-plus top-level domains (TLDs), according to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief from Verisign.

The .coms unsurprisingly accounted for the majority — more than 106 million, while .net addresses garnered almost 15 million by the end of December. Together, new registrations for the popular TLDs totaled eight million, up slightly from 2011's 7.9 million, with growing renewal rates.

Don't be too impressed by those numbers, though. According to Verisign, 21.5 per cent of all .com and .net domains lead to one-page sites, while 15 per cent are registered but don't lead to a working webpage.

Meanwhile, country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) grew more than five per cent quarter-over-quarter and 21.6 per cent year-over-year, now totaling 110.2 million names. China, New Zealand's Tokelau, India, and the Russian Federation helped drive the increasing numbers, all exceeding four per cent overall growth from the third quarter, Verisign's report said.

In order of zone size, the largest TLDs worldwide are .com, .de (Germany), .net, .tk (Tokelau), .uk (United Kingdom), .org, .cn (China), info, .nl (Netherlands), and .ru (Russian Federation).

There are currently 22 generic top-level domains (gTLDs), including .com, .org, and .net. In June 2011, however, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a plan to allow people to apply for new gTLDs, like .pcmag, for example.

The application process closed in May 2012, and the list of 1,930 applied-for gTLDs was released in June. The first approved names are expected to make their debut in mid-2013.