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SIDN Labs study: internet centralisation evident in the Netherlands and elsewhere

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Internet measurements by SIDN Labs show that centralisation is a potential problem within the .nl domain. Reliance on a small number of public recursive resolvers – systems that look up domain names – is growing, for example. And 48 per cent of all active .nl domains are now hosted by just three big companies. What’s more, nearly half of .nl domain names don’t have their name servers – systems that provide information in answer to domain name look-ups – distributed across different networks. That makes those domain names vulnerable to network problems.

Insight into developments

Growing domain name centralisation is one of the findings highlighted in a report by SIDN Labs. The state of .nl describes developments in and around the .nl domain on the basis of measurements of the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS is the worldwide mechanism that translates domain names into IP addresses.

Among the things picked up by the measurements is how the coronavirus pandemic affected registrations. The words ‘test’ and ‘PCR’ were used in domain names far more often in 2021 than the year before, for example. Technological developments left their mark as well, with words such as ‘meta’, ‘crypto’ and ‘verse’ becoming popular with domain name registrants.

House-for-sale sites

Another striking trend detected by the researchers was the increasing use of ‘straat’ (‘street’) and ‘laan’ (‘lane’) in domain names – nearly always as part of a property address. SIDN Labs also investigated the web page context of the words used in .nl domain names. Again, the influence of the pandemic was prominent.

Fifth biggest in the world

According to the reported data, use of .nl was higher than ever in 2021. On 1 January 2022, the Dutch country-code TLD had 6,229,639 domain names. That’s more than 100,000 up, from 6,109,589 a year earlier. Within Europe, only Germany and the United Kingdom have higher absolute numbers of domain names. Globally, .nl is the fifth biggest of all the country-code domains.

You can read the full article about this research here.

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