Introduction

The domain name industry, a novel and unique business that did not even exist a generation ago, was launched on March 15, 1985, when the first commercial Internet domain name, symbolics.com, was registered by Symbolics Inc., a computer systems company from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since then, the industry has become a global marketplace worth billions of dollars every year. With more than 214 million domain names now registered, and nearly a million new names registered every week, this is a dynamic and still-growing sector of the modern economy.

This Factbook, published by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), is intended to provide an overview of the domain name industry both globally and here in Canada.

The domain name industry, like any other economic activity, is vulnerable to broader economic conditions. In this Factbook, we review how the industry has fared, especially over the past 24 to 30 months of global economic uncertainty. We also look at the Canadian context for this fascinating industry and how Canada's country-code top-level domain, .CA, fares, including some insight into what Canadians think of .CA. Additionally, we provide snapshots of the Internet itself in Canada, including data on how many Canadian households have access to the Internet and what Canadians are doing with that access.

We hope you find this report a useful primer on the fascinating enterprise that is the domain name industry today. We encourage you to share this report with others, and our online version is structured so as to encourage social sharing. Finally, if you have any questions or comments, we'd be delighted to hear from you at info@cira.ca.