There are now more than 177 million registered internet domains – with a whopping 28 million arriving in 2008 alone.

The 2008 Domain Name Industry Brief published by VeriSign has revealed the latest figure, with the end of year total showing a huge growth from last year's 149 million domains.

The 16 per cent growth also showed a major acceleration in the last quarter of 2008 – when more than 10.1 million domains were registered.

China growth

Interestingly VeriSign points out that the largest Top Level Domain (TLD) growths came from .cn (china) and .de (Germany) alongside usual suspects .net, .org and .com.

VeriSign also re-iterated its support of ICANN in ensuring that the public confusion is eased and the move toward 'internationalised' TLDs goes smoothly.

'Though more than 47 domain name registry operators support IDNs, concerns over public confusion and ease of use, uneven browser support, and local network limitations have triggered a growing desire in the internet community to provide a fully localised navigation experience by extending internationalisation to the TLD itself," explained VeriSign.

"In support of this effort, VeriSign has joined the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and others in the internet community to pursue development of Internationalised TLDs."

International TLDs

Director of Domain Name Services at VeriSign, Tobias Wann, insists that any changes must be done with care and attention.

"The potential for internationalised TLDs to enable a universally accessible internet is promising," he said.

"But it must be done right. A careless or rushed approach will expose the community to a high risk of failure over technical and business issues.

"VeriSign is committed to working with ICANN and others to achieve a safe, consistent and ubiquitous user experience, while protecting company brands and their customers around the world."