Continuing our discussion of PKNIC and the future of the .pk ccTLD, I was provided some interesting figures by a reader of this blog last week. Faried Nawaz says he has been grabbing a copy of PKNIC’s zone file everyday for the past ~ 6 years. On my request, he’s given a snapshot of the database for a random date (27th Jan, every year) all the way from 2001 till 2007. I’ve compiled the figures in a tabular format to highlight the growth of the various domains (hopefully reflecting the associated sector to some extent) and the entire .pk sphere. Here it is:
First impressions: To be honest, the size of the registry sort of disappointed me by at least 100%. I had always assumed there would have been at least 50,000 total domains registered under .pk. Like elsewhere on the Internet, the .com counterpart at .pk (.com.pk) is leading the herd with six digit registrations in 2007. Runner up, in 2006 and 2007, is the name.pk domain which PKNIC started in 2006.
There is also a marked growth in the overall numbers in 2006 and 2007, the years that have seen strong growth in cellular and voice services. It is plausible that there is a co-relation between increased cellular voice usage in the country and the Internet-based (or Internet aligned) businesses in the local market.
PKNIC charges Rs 2,000 per domain
per annum for two years for all domains except the name.pk domains which are available at Rs 1,000 per domain per year for Pakistani customers. Government domains are not charged any fee provided they are able to demonstrate a government agency backing the registration of the domain.
A quick back of the hand calculation will give anyone an idea of the revenues that PKNIC can expect out of these numbers. Leaving that as an exercise to those interested in the dollar figure and focusing back on my initial disappointment at the smallness of the total domains figure, I would request PKNIC to reduce the domain name registration cost further, provider a local face to the single-most important Internet company of the nation, and open up more channels for easier uptake of the .pk domain name by the local businesses.
I am very confident that these ~19,000 domains do not reflect the activity of Pakistan and its business outfits truly. There has to be a tremendous amount of local businesses that have turned to the .com and .net gTLDs just because they were cheaper, or more easily available, or had reseller agents roaming in the street doing the stuff for them without much hassle. Let us work towards increasing the size of the pie and everyone should benefit from it. Just like MADE IN PAKISTAN is (supposed to be) a matter of pride for all of us, let .pk be our badge of honor in the Internet.