A store in Berlin announces that it is still available onlinepicture alliance / dpa / picture alliance via . I

Javier Hernández had once thought about it, but he had never taken the step. “The idea had been around for a long time,” he confirms. “Simply that due to the level of work, it was unthinkable to open another new route. In fact, it’s still being a bit like that. In the end it is another store. ” The address of this additional counter, brother of which his family has managed for more than 80 years in the Central Market of Valencia, does not have streets, numbers, or postal codes. It is located in the frescoylocal.es domain. “The point where we met a few months ago gave us that push. Simply to facilitate in some way the service at home to our clients ”.

Javier’s is one of more than 40,500 .es domains that were registered in April. The extension, which has been slightly lethargic for several years, after reaching what from domains was classified as “a maturity phase”, did not register such a high figure since May 2013 and the trend continues in May: “Taking into account the number casualties pending processing due to the suspension of administrative deadlines derived from the state of alarm, a priori it seems that there will be significant growth. It is calculated that in the month of May there have been 41,000 new registered “.es” domains compared to 30,000 in the month of May 2019, “they confirm from Red.es.

This growth is going beyond the websites that carry the Spanish termination. In Italy, the .it broke its historical record in April, with more than 60,000 new registrations. “We are seeing the same dynamics in all the countries in which we worked,” confirms Thomas Keller, domain expert for registrar Ionos.

Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany are other countries that have registered variable growth in recent months. “The absolute numbers show a surprising growing trend, since the covid-19 began to spread on a large scale throughout Germany in mid-March,” says Jörg Schweiger, CEO of DENIC, the entity that manages the Germanic domains. Although the growth is small, compared to the huge base of domains registered with the extension of -more than 16 million sites-, the new registrations quadrupled in April and quintupled in March. “This progression is unique. I only remember seeing something similar after the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008, but not in such a homogeneous and characteristic way, ”says Keller.

Monthly evolution of new registrations

All point to the pandemic as the main driver of this trend. “We are sure that this increase is related to the number of businesses that went online during the covid-19 crisis,” confirms Lut Goedhuys, head of business development at DNS Belgium, the entity that manages the extension. Belgian. In fact, the most frequent word among .be domains created in April is commande (request).

“We are seeing significant growth in new websites and ecommerce solutions in recent months. Based on our analysis, these have been created primarily that you are trying to do your regular business online, ”agrees Keller. “This is clearly an effect of the coronavirus.”

Most repeated words in the .es domains registered in April

In Spain, the pandemic sets the pace more in terms of the most frequent words. Terms such as covid, online, masks and protection stand out, but there are also words associated with commercial areas and the performance of different professions: shop, store, lawyers, technical service … “Nearly 3,000 .es domains have been registered since February 2020 to May 2020 that we have identified as associated with the pandemic ”, they specify from Red.es.

In the case of Belgium and Italy, the statistics for May continue to reveal higher than usual activity, but with more stable growth, in line with that registered in April. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, the .co.uk and .uk domains have continued to grow, reaching more than 186,000 registrations. According to the data published by Nominet, the entity in charge of these registrations, that figure has only been exceeded in the periods of opening and closing of terms for those who wanted to add the .uk extension – which opened in 2014 – to their registered domains. with the classic .co.uk.

In the Council of National Registers of Top Level Domains (CENTR, for its acronym in English) estimated this growth at 20%, according to a sample of 25 extensions used in the region. Patrick Myles, a data analyst at this entity, points to changes in businesses and jobs as a more plausible explanation. “If a business had no online presence before, the pandemic has given them a compelling reason to do so,” he explains. But the expert also points out other currents: small entrepreneurs can be added to habitual suspects, such as investors who base their activity on buying domains to sell them in secondary markets or those who acquire them with criminal motives, such as creating fake stores to sell products that will never be shipped. . “Many events can impact new registrations,” he concludes.

According to the CENTR analysis, the recent popularity of domains with terms related to the crisis, such as covid, corona or virus, stood at 6,154 new domains between January and March, which Myles identifies as stock for eventual resale, since only 26 % of them were active in April.

Will this exodus of small street commerce continue to the internet? Lut Goedhuys is cautious. “Many businesses have found that online presence is required during quarantine and now that they have made the investment, we believe they will maintain this additional channel. A question is whether or not many companies will fail as a consequence of the crisis, which would end up leading to a decrease in the domains in use, ”he reasons. But we will not know this for another year, when many of the domains registered in these months reach their first expiration dates.

At CENTR they refer to the potential deglobalization of society that will follow the pandemic. For Myles, society and business will be more oriented to the local community and the limitations of physical distance will push them more than ever to online: “To illustrate the potential, find that in many countries SMEs constitute more than 95 % of companies ”. In this context, a turn to the internet for local commerce could reinforce the role of domains like these, associated with specific regions.

For now, proximity is so key for Hernández that he wanted to make it clear in the very name of the domain of his new online store whose ultimate purpose is none other than to provide one more channel to customers in the market for life. “I was looking for that closeness,” he says. Although the launch of its website has ended up coinciding with the start of the de-escalation, the plan is to go ahead with it, so that it can happen with the virus and to try to make a place for itself in the endless bazaar that is the network. “Today, not being online is losing a great power,” he says.

How to jump to the web

Javier Hernández already had an advanced part of the structure of his new website, but to complete the process he turned to Ricardo Vilar. This design expert has tripled projects in recent months. “What I see the most is ecommerce and e-learning platforms,” ​​he confirms. On her current schedule there is everything: from yoga products stores to dealerships, erotic shops and training spaces for bicycle repair. “It has been a very strong explosion, a little because of the suspicion of the people, who do not want to be left behind, because they do not know what is going to happen,” he reasons.

It has also been a time of emergencies for having the online store operational as soon as possible. “There are people who are in a hurry, but they do not have half of the things thought,” says Vilar. Depending on how advanced the planning is, the time required to complete the website ranges from two weeks to one month.

What is there to keep in mind? Three key points: product or service, payment methods and logistics. According to Vilar, it is essential to define well what is going to be sold and to be very selective with the catalog, in addition to studying which means of payment best suits the type of transactions envisaged and ensuring that the shipping systems do not put the merchandise at risk.