On a globe or a world map, countries are represented according to their geographical location and their respective size. What if we represented the digital world by making a world map with the weight of each type of domain and the importance that each represents respectively on the international scene? Nominet has redesigned a world map by weighting the size of countries according to the weight of each domain name.
The world map redesigned by domain names
The rise of information and communications technology has made the world smaller – Russel Haworth, Chief Executive Officer Nominet.uk
By the end of 2015, there were approximately 3,2 billion internet users worldwide (compared with 400 million in 2000). This growth has been international, both by internet users and by the fact that each country has had its own online space. Thus, in the early 1980s, it was decided that each nation would obtain a two-letter code: the Domain Name System was born, a service that manages domain names and associates them with IP addresses. In 1985, the first three extensions created were then the .US (how many people believe that .com is dedicated to the USA?), the .uk for the United Kingdom, and .IL for Israel.
Recently, Nominet decided to show the evolution of the internet in its scope and its worldwide consumption. The result is this world map, an atlas that redesigns the weight of each county according to the number of domain names registrations for each country: .FR for France, .DE for Germany, .BE for Belgium and so on…
The tiny United States and the giant outsider .TK
At first sight, a lot of islands and continents look familiar such as the United Kingdom or the south-American continent. Some, like Australia or the US seem strangely small compared to the size they occupy on the world map. Others seem to have simply disappeared as the African continent of Russia.
Above all, to the right of the map, appears a huge island with the extension .TK!! It is not the Atlantis that has sprung from the deep sea, but the small island of Tokelau in the Pacific Ocean, which belongs to New Zealand and has no more than 1,400 inhabitants. Accounts for nearly 31 million of websites with this extension, making it the top national domain most represented on the web. Why is the .TK so successful? The reason is that the registration of a .TK domain name has been free since the Freedom Registry (renamed FreeNom) was created, allowing anyone in the world to register their .TK domain for free. We understand that many have sought to register their domain names either to avoid cybersquatting or to make a website at a lower cost. Unfortunately, this free registration has led to unwisely usages and according to a McAfee study, 95% of the websites created with the .TK extension would be twice as prone to scams and abusive behaviors like spam and phishing …
This map shows that there are exceptions to each extreme such as the United States or Tokelau Island; reflecting the rate of internet adoption, the size of the country’s internet domain, and its economic strength (such as China). On the contrary, the map also reflects inequalities in access to the Internet: the African continent is virtually non-existent on the map, being much smaller than it should be. As an example, Guinea-Bissau figures last with only 2 domain names in .GW. Even North Korea does better with its 28 known websites.
This does not appear on the map – because it is a top-level domain not linked to a country – but the most widely used extension in the world remains the .COM.