Internet domain names grow to 177M

The Internet added 24 million new domain names in 2008, according to a fourth quarter report by by Internet infrastructure services company VeriSign Inc.

Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) said 2008 ended with a total base of 177 million domain name registrations across all of the top level domains, representing 16 percent growth over the previous year.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, more than 10.1 million new domain names were registered across all TLDs. The composition of the domain name industry and rank order in terms of base size remained consistent in the fourth quarter. The five largest TLDs in terms of base size were .com, .cn (China), .de (Germany), .net, and .org.

The overall base of .com and .net domain names grew to 90.4 million at the end of 2008. This represents a 12 percent increase over the previous year and a one percent increase over the third quarter of 2008.

During the quarter, VeriSign processed a peak of nearly 50 billion domain name system queries per day.