The Domain Name Association (DNA) has announced the results of a recent global survey to ascertain Internet users’ attitudes toward new Internet domain-name extensions, such as “.club” and “.global,” that are being released through ICANN’s “New gTLD Program.” This Domain Name Preference study was conducted during the period of October – November 2014 in 10 countries and had over 5,000 completed responses.
Concerning The Survey
The survey was structure to observe and measure global attitudes about awareness, acceptance, preference and knowledge related to domain names. Long existing top-level generic names and country-code names (gTLD and ccTLD) were tested along with new generic top-level names. Five types of questions were asked:
•Preferences: when might Internet users be open to new domain-name extensions contrary to those in the pre-2014 marketplace? Are there different types or categories of extensions that are more attractive to Internet users?
•Intrinsic value: which values (e.g., trustworthy, stable, innovative, aesthetically-pleasing) do Internet users associate with new and legacy domain-name extensions?
•Extrinsic value: note potential uses that Internet users associated with different domain-name extension types or categories
•Testing awareness and attitudes about accepting changes related to new domain-name extensions
•Demographics: determine if trends in the question categories above can be attributed to demographic type such as: heavy vs. light Internet use; business vs. social Internet use; age.
In-country domain-name industry professionals labored to customize questions for each country and then coordinated translation of the questions into local languages.
The DNA selected Research Now (researchnow.com), a global firm headquartered in the U.S., to conduct the survey.
•Breadth: 10 countries
•Sample size: 500/country (completed surveys)
•Total sample >5000 Internet users
•31 questions (with multiple parts)
•Average: 12-16 minutes to complete
Margin of error
–4.4% @95% confidence
–3.7% @90% confidence
“Our survey results show that Internet users still employ domain names widely, voice a preference for more domain name and domain-name extension options, and ‘get it’ when it comes to the possibilities,” declared Kurt Pritz, Executive Director of the DNA. “These are important findings for the Domain-Name Industry, indicating a bright future for all domain-name extensions. When Internet users generally become aware of the new domain options, we expect widespread acceptance and even eagerness to adopt them.”
Domain-Name Extension Preferences
To determine the level of receptivity to new domain names, the respondents were asked to reveal their first preferences for domain extensions they would use in certain scenarios. Generally, each question offered options ending in .com, a ccTLD extension option, and selected new domain-name extensions.
Conclusions can be drawn directly from the results in the various countries. Users are exceptionally open to the idea and use of domain names using new extensions. When faced with choice of selecting a webpage name using pre-2014 domain names versus new domain-name extensions, users selected a new extension nearly half the timein almost every instance. This was the case even though many of these new extensions are not yet public, and evidence indicates it is more likely than not that the respondent had not heard of the new extension prior to reading the name in the survey.
As expected, the .com names (in the U.S.) and ccTLD names (in other countries) generally garnered a clear majority. However, many of the questions resulted in an expressed preference for new TLDs.
In most instances and confirming the opinions of those who sought to make new domain-name extensions available, respondents split evenly between existing, known/legacy domain-name extensions and new domain-name extensions.
In one instance, respondents were asked:
“Where would you go to pay bills online?”
It is interesting to note that between onlinepayments.bank to onlinepayments.secure- the aggregate percentage margin was 47% for people who preferred new domain extensions, 1.1 percentage point shy off the clear majority of .com, go figure! This is just one example; a similar trend was seen in other countries.
There were consistencies in answers across most questions:
•Geographic (city names) are easily understood. They ranked extremely well when related to local efforts such as retailing and creating a restaurant webpage. In some jurisdictions there was a preference for a city name as a place to buy shoes, e.g., shoes.london, shoes.shop, pretty neat, I fancy.
•The survey revealed some new domain-name extensions that caught the imagination of respondents – domain names with extensions that have particular value and meaning are appealing. Since this survey was limited in the number of domain names used as examples, there are likely many popular names that strike a chord with the Internet-using public. Extensions with clear meaning stood out, such as bank.secure, and onlinepayment.bank, which scored extremely high. The responses to this question and others in the survey indicate a desire for a “safer” Internet.
Also scoring very favorably were labels such as .international and .global, when linked to the name of a hypothetical corporation such as “universeco.global.” They neared a statistical dead heat with .com and ccTLDs used. Again it appears that the fact that the extension added context and meaning to the domain name made it more appealing to the respondents relative to other choices.
NB: In the U.S., .com remains dominant, but the total percentage of new TLDs preferred was greater in other countries.
Internet Usage Habits and Preferences
The DNA survey also gathered data on Internet usage preferences that can be utilized to further analyze some of the key findings above. For example, the research looked to determine if there is a correlation between type of user (e.g., young vs. old and heavy vs. light Internet user) and those who state a preference for certain domain-name extensions.
This research is also intended to set a baseline regarding currently stated preferences: i.e., how do people behave regarding search versus typing a URL address into an address bar?
I do this most often:
Type the domain name address directly into the browser address bar-35%
Type a company or relevant term into a search engine-40%
I do this all or part of the time:
Type the domain name address directly into the browser address bar-85%
Type a company or relevant term into a search engine-93%
There is a blatant preference for search but typing domain names is a practice that remains widely adopted.
Toward the end of the survey, participants were asked:
“Which one of the following statements best describes your position about a possible increase in the number of domain names?”
– There should be more domain name and domain-name extension options.
– There should be few or no further changes to the number of domain-name extensions.
Globally, the answers were strongly supportive of the introduction of more domain names.
There was a range of responses from country to country.
In developed regions with high Internet usage penetration (e.g., Australia, Germany and the U.S.), the respondents essentially split evenly on this issue: 50/50.
Nevertheless, in developing countries, the response was clearly in favor of more choice.
Values Internet Users Associate with Different Extensions
For this survey, we identified eight values and asked each respondent to identify those that they most associated with a number of domain-name extensions. Understanding these values and how they vary across regions and by category of domain-name extension is intended to aid in the development of marketing strategies.
The values used include:
Singular conclusions, some transcending expectations, were derived from the collected data:
• Domain names continue to be highly relevant. While there is a slight preference for search as a tool to navigate the Internet, almost everyone (85% of those polled) types a domain name into a browser address bar part of the time. And the great majority checks the domain names (at least sometimes) before clicking on search results.
• Internet users around the world are very open to using domain names that include new domain-name extensions. Respondents consistently voiced an equal preference for new domain-name extensions as compared with .com or the local ccTLD (such as .ca in Canada), even though they may not have been aware of the new gTLD Program. There is a particular willingness to accept names that meaningfully indicate the expected content or use of a website (e.g., .secure, .bike).
• Nearly 60% of respondents voiced a preference for more domain name and domain-name extension options, and the fastest-growing Internet markets show the greatest interest in expanding domain name options: e.g., 75% in India, 69% in China. In countries with high Internet penetration, the “lesser” demand for new domain-name extensions is around 50% — that still represents a large potential market for a new product.
The survey also supplied some reasons why new extensions would be welcome:
— >50% said new web addresses in meaningful combinations will be easier to remember
— >50% said new domain extensions will make it easier to obtain short, memorable names
• Internet users generally remain unaware of the opportunities in the new gTLD Program. Numbers varied widely from country to country but results indicate low awareness of the availability of new domain-name extensions and new types of domain names.
Results Can Be Summarized As Follows:
-IDN domain-name extensions are preferred when they closely match the meaning of the site.
-IDN domain-name extensions help people to identify website usages.
-Websites in general have a low reputation in China; new domain -name extensions are even less trusted.
About the DNA
The Domain Name Association (the DNA) is a non-profit business association that represents the interests of the domain name industry. It is independent and global in scope, and its membership is open to organizations involved in the provision, support, and sale of domain names, such as domain name registries, registrars, resellers, and registry service providers.
Members are based in four continents and include ARI Registry Services, Donuts, GoDaddy, Google, Rightside, Web.com, Afilias and InternetX.
The DNA’s mission is to propagate the best interests of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet. More information is available at www.thedna.org.
You know what I look for, this is with regard to the setting up of colonies on other planets like Mars-the domain-name extension would be as follows: ILIVEINMARS.galactic, ponder that!