CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Sedo, the world’s largest domain marketplace and monetization provider, today announced the results of research into whether small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) are aware that thousands of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will become available in 2013. The research also looked at what respondents saw as the value of the new gTLDs and whether they planned to take advantage of them.)--
“This research makes it clear that more education is needed if new gTLDs are to be successful. The public deserves to know that something as engrained in their daily lives as the Internet will be fundamentally changing”
More than 600 managers and owners of SMBs were surveyed in January 2013, revealing that:
- 63 percent are unaware that new gTLDs will start being released this year;
- 40 percent felt that there was no advantage or were unsure what the advantage of a new gTLD would be; and
- 94 percent said they were not currently planning to purchase a new gTLD.
A gTLD is the suffix at the end of a web address, such as “.com,” “.net,” or “.org.” For nearly two decades, the Internet’s governing body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), has slowly introduced new extensions it deemed appropriate for public use. In 2008, the organization began a process to fundamentally change the way people navigate online by introducing the possibility of an unlimited number of domain extensions that any company or individual could apply to manage. Last year, it received more than 1,900 applications from companies including Google, Amazon.com, Microsoft, AOL, HBO, American Express, McDonalds, L'Oréal, Nike, Chrysler, Wal-Mart and many others. After a lengthy approval process, the first new extensions will become available for use in mid-2013, with the potential for 1,000 of them to be introduced over the following year.
Despite the fact that many large brands have applied for gTLDs and intend to use them, there is a lack of gTLD awareness among small and mid-sized businesses. Some 62.7 percent of respondents said that they were unaware that new gTLDs were going to become available in 2013, while over half of respondents said they felt that new gTLDs will only make the internet more confusing.
“This research makes it clear that more education is needed if new gTLDs are to be successful. The public deserves to know that something as engrained in their daily lives as the Internet will be fundamentally changing,” said Tobias Flaitz, Sedo’s CEO. “It’s incumbent upon the applicants and those in the domain industry to spread the word. We need to tell the public what new gTLDs are and highlight how they will ultimately benefit both consumers and businesses alike by providing more options for registering web addresses and for branding opportunities. If the public doesn’t understand why this is happening then there will be little chance for success.”
Despite the fact that 63.7 percent of respondents had purchased domain names in the past, indicating that they have some familiarity with the use of domains, almost all respondents (94.1 percent) said that they were not currently planning on purchasing a new gTLD when they became available. When asked what would persuade them to do so, 16.9 percent felt they’d look into it if new gTLDs were widely adopted, while 15.7 percent would do so if it increased search engine optimization (SEO). 15.4 percent said reasonable pricing would be the deciding factor.
Lack of Knowledge Leads to Confusion – and Security Fears
- Over half of respondents (52.3 percent) felt that new gTLDs would only create confusion. Just over 5 percent said new gTLDs would make things less confusing.
- Confusion is a recurring theme in the research: When asked what they felt the biggest problems were for gTLD adoption, more than half said “confusion” (51.2 percent), followed by “awareness” (19.7 percent) and “cost” (8.2 percent).
- That same lack of awareness and understanding can be seen in the findings that 54 percent of respondents would be hesitant to click on domain names ending in something other than .com, .net or .org. Of this group, 22.7 percent were worried about the potential security issues of uncommon domain names.
New gTLD Chances for Success
- Respondents were asked to rank the 10 most commonly applied for new gTLDs in order of chances for success.
- “.llc” was described as having the most potential for success, followed by “.design,” “.music,” “.movie,” and “.home.”
- The one expected by respondents to be the least successful was “.app,” which ironically received more applications than any other gTLD, with 13 companies vying for control of the extension.
For a copy of the “gTLD Awareness Report,” detailing the results of the research, please visit: http://www.sedo.com/gTLDs.
Sedo, an acronym for “Search Engine for Domain Offers,” is the leading domain marketplace and monetization provider. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany and with offices in London, England and Cambridge, Mass., Sedo has assembled the world’s largest database of domain names for sale, with more than 16 million listings. The success of Sedo’s model has attracted a global base of more than 1 million members.