Sedo may have got a little overexcited saying “that thousands of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will become available in 2013” when there were only 1930 applications for 1409 gTLDs, including many by brands that will not make registrations available to the public, when they released the results of a study into small and medium business awareness of the launch of gTLDs. But their new study is still relevant finding that most small and medium businesses are unaware new gTLDs will start to be released this year.
The gTLD Awareness Report found almost two-thirds (62.7%) of the small and medium businesses surveyed were unaware gTLDs were coming in 2013 as well as a large proportion (40%) who were not aware of what benefit registering a domain name in one of the new gTLDs would be to them. And a massive 94.1 percent were not planning to register a domain name in a new gTLD. While these figures will undoubtedly change, it also shows the new gTLDs will struggle to get the public’s attention.
This is adding on to the preliminary results of the Registrar Atlas, presented at Domain Pulse in February, which showed many registrars are not interested in giving “shelf space” to the new gTLDs.
The online survey covered 600 small and medium businesses, although from where the respondents came from is not clear. When respondents were asked what would persuade them to register a domain name in a new gTLD, 16.9 percent said if awareness grew and there was widespread use they would consider it, while 15.7 percent would do so if it increased search engine optimisation (SEO). 15.4 percent of respondents also said reasonable pricing would be the deciding factor.
Inhibitors to success judged by respondents included confusion, with over half (52.3%) believing new gTLDs would only create confusion. Just over five percent said new gTLDs would make things less confusing.
And again on confusion, respondents felt the biggest problem for gTLD adoption was confusion with again over half (51.2%) citing this as a problem, followed by “awareness” (19.7%) and “cost” (8.2%).
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.
Despite not having much awareness of the new gTLDs, when asked what applications were most likely to be successful, respondents said .llc had the most potential, followed by .design, .music, .movie, and .home.
Interestingly, the gTLD that received the most applications, .app with 13 applications, was viewed as being the least likely to be successful.
“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.”
The Sedo gTLD Awareness Report is available for download from sedo.com/uk/services/new-gtlds-for-buyers