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updated 8/29/2007 5:16:16 PM ET 2007-08-29T21:16:16

The number of domain name registrations worldwide reached 138 million midway through 2007, a 31 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the company that operates much of the Internet's core address directories.

Although the ".com" suffix continues to be the most popular, with about 55 million registrations, VeriSign Inc. said country-code domains such as ".fr" for France are strong. There were more than 51 million country-code registrations collectively, a 36 percent hike from mid-2006.

Germany's ".de" is the leading country code and the second-most popular suffix overall, followed by ".net" in third place. The United Kingdom's ".uk," China's ".cn" and ".org" are among the other leading suffixes.

VeriSign runs the databases listing all ".com" and ".net" names as well as the master directory, or root server, that lists all the Internet's suffixes, meaning all traffic touches the company's computers at one point or another. Domain names are key for helping computers find Web sites and route e-mail messages.

There are currently 267 domain name suffixes in the main root server, with ".asia" being the latest addition. Most of them are country codes, ranging from ".ac" for the Ascension Island to ".zw" for Zimbabwe.

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