The UK’s top level domain (TLD) .uk, more commonly found in .co.uk, has for the first time beaten China’s .cn domain into second place for the most used country domains.
The news comes in the latest Domain Name Industry Report 2010 by domain registrar Nominet, where it was revealed that the UK TLD saw its highest growth since 2000, with over 200,000 new registrations of the .uk extension in March of this year alone.
The figures fly in the face of rampant speculation in 2009 that the UK would see falling registrations of its regional domain in light of the global economic downturn and cuts to IT spending throughout the UK.
Growth in adoption of the UK TLD in 2010 was a healthy 10.3 percent, while renewal rates for the previous 12 months averaged out at 69 percent, ensuring that the .uk domain retains a strong presence on the web.
Part of the UK’s climb into rank two was not its own growth, however, but rather China’s TLD seeing sharp declines. It saw a massive fall of -48.1 percent in registrations of the .cn extension, but still managed to hold onto third place.
It’s not clear what caused China’s fall, but it’s likely that a change to domain registrations in the country in January of this year had a large impact. Under the new rules users must supply ID before applying for a domain name, ending a wave of anonymous registrations, many of which were previously used for unscrupulous activities like hacking and spamming, which China has vowed to tackle.
Only Germany, which uses the .de domain extension, is higher in rank than the UK now, seeing 5.3 percent growth in 2010.
The Netherlands took fourth place, with growth of 14.1 percent, while the EU’s TLD was in fifth place, with growth of 7.5 percent.
The US was far down the list at rank 13, with 5.4 percent growth, but this is not entirely surprising considering the widespread adoption of the universal .com domain there.