The standard agreement between Norid and the registrars (domain name providers) was revised in June 2021. The background is the growing need to ensure security and quality for the Norwegian top-level domain. Eight out of ten registrars have chosen to continue the business with Norid under the increased requirements. In sum, these registrars provide a broad and varied offer to the customers, and the competition in the dealer market within different customer segments still works.

Society is becoming more and more dependent on the Internet. This increases the requirements for security for all actors in the value chains, including the registrars. These are companies that have entered into an agreement with Norid to assist domain subscribers in ordering domain names and follow up subscriptions further on behalf of the subscribers.

Norid has a responsibility to design the registration scheme in an appropriate manner and within the framework set by Norwegian authorities. The new registrar agreement mainly continues established practice and division of responsibilities, but places higher demands on the registrars' compentence and information security, and on the reseller having a minimum of activity related to the domain business. In addition, a requirement has been introduced that the retailer must annually inform his customers of what information is registered in Norid's database about the subscriptions they handle, so that the subscriber can check that the contact information and technical information about their own domain names is correct and up to date.

The use of domain names under .no is a central part of the digital communication in the society, and the focus on quality and security at all levels becomes increasingly important. The introduction of a revised registrar agreement with increased security requirements helps to promote the quality of the registrar industry as a whole. The fact that the new agreement seems to have been well received by the registrars also bear witness to a forward-looking and conscious industry.

Elise Knutssøn Lindeberg, Security Director, Norwegian Communications Authority

Competition among registrars

The registrars compete to offer the best possible help to the subscribers when it comes to ordering and maintaining the domain subscriptions. Most resellers offer various additional services related to the use of the domain name, including web hosting, email and tools for creating web pages. These are services that have value for the subscriber, but it is not a requirement from us that they must offer such services.

Mapping the domain market shows clear customer segments with specific needs, which influence which registrar they choose. The market shares of the registrars vary depending on which customer segments make up the market. We distinguish between the total market, the market for the largest companies in Norway, and the high-traffic market.

Total market

Distribution of market shares when the process of the new registrar agreement began in June 2021. Please note that the colors of the sector diagrams do not represent a specific actor, but only illustrate the market shares in the different markets.

The total market consists of around 827,000 Norwegian domain names (as of October 2021) and is dominated by a few registrars with large market shares. The ten largest actors in total have 80 per cent of the total market. Many of these actors offer a simple standard package with domain name, email, and website hosting.

Market for the largest companies in Norway

Distribution of market shares when the process of the new registrar agreement began in June 2021.

The 500 largest companies in Norway have a total of around 8,000 domain names. These are customers who need registrars who can take overall responsibility for managing the domain names as part of the customer's brand. The market shares are more evenly distributed in this market than in the total market, and several medium-sized registrars are among the larger actors here.

High traffic market

Distribution of market shares when the process of the new registrar agreement began in June 2021.

Another customer segment is subscribers who offer services that have to handle high network traffic. The two hundred most trafficked websites in Norway largely use registrars with so-called "high-end" solutions that handle high performance requirements. Also in this market, there are mostly medium-sized registrars among the larger actors.

No major changes in the market

There were 335 registrars when the process of a new registrar agreement began in June 2021. They had the choice between adapting the business to new requirements or winding up the business with Norid. After the deadline for entering into the new agreement expired at the end of August, 268 registrars - eight out of ten - had chosen to continue the business with Norid. The number of registrars has been stable at around 340 over the last ten years.

Not surprisingly, it is mainly registrars with low activity who have chosen to close down the registrar business. The average number of domain names in the portfolio of registrars who did not join is 49. The highest number of domain names is 648. All the 50 largest registrars continue.

Registrar sizeJune 2021Sept 2021
Very large registrar (<10001 domain names)99
Large registrar (1001-10000 domain names)4141
Medium registrar (101-1000 domain names)158148
Small registrar (1-100 domain names)10468
Registrars with 0 domian names232
Total335268
Number of registrars distributed based on the size of their domain portfolio.

The reduction in the number of registrars has not led to major changes in the distribution of market shares in the total market. The ten largest actors in the total market had a total market share of 80 per cent in June. In September, this had increased to 81 per cent, which is natural as the number of «other registrars» has been reduced from 325 to 258. The second largest actor in the market has increased its market share due to this, but the competitive situation is so to speak unchanged.

Total market September 2021

When it comes to the markets for the largest companies in Norway or the most trafficked websites, the market distribution is identical in June and September.

– Today we have fewer registrars than before this shift, but can state that the competition between registrars within different customer segments still works, and that the registrars in total provide a broad and varied offer to customers, says Hilde Thunem, Managing Director in Norid.

More about the scheme with registrars, https://www.norid.no/en/nytt-domenenavn/forhandlerliste/om-domeneforhandlere/

Current registrar agreement, https://teknisk.norid.no/en/bli-forhandler/forhandleravtalen/#Avtaleteksten

More about the transition to a new registrar agreement, https://teknisk.norid.no/en/bli-forhandler/forhandleravtalen/overgang-til-ny-forhandleravtale/

Published: 15 October 2021