I’ve said it many times before: the domain name industry has problems with its reputation. But now the official figures are in that — apparently — prove it.
According to ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade, the industry is perceived four times worse the IT industry average.
That figure — whatever it means — came out of a “reputational analysis” study conducted by expensive consultants hired by ICANN, Chehade told registrars and registries in Amsterdam today.
“The results were not flattering,” he said. “The negative perception of our industry runs four times the IT industry average.”
“Our industry is not a well-established or well-received industry,” Chehade said.
A second study conducted by a pricey PR firm — which looked at media coverage and polled the big three tech industry analysis firms — apparently confirmed the results.
“None of the three top analysts cover our sector,” he said. “They don’t even look at it.”
“Let’s stop the constant attacking of our registrars and registries,” he later added.
“Are there bad actors? Every industry has bad actors, but ours are somehow featured all the time in the media,” he said. “How about if we talk about the good guys that do real works and serve their communities and help businesses thrive? That’s the story I want to tell.”
Chehade said he’d shared the results of the two studies with the CEOs of major registrars at a roundtable discussion at ICANN HQ last week.
He said he’s trying to reach out to analysts to engage more with ICANN in a bid to improve the industry’s reputation.
“As the new gTLD program rolls in the second half of this year, it’s very important that we’re prepared with the right people in these places so our perception, and how the industry talks about us, is the right thing,” he said.
Chehade, who’s been at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, also pointed to a pronounced lack of awareness of the domain name sector among other industry leaders.
“Out of the CEOs I met — and I met many — I’d say half of them don’t know who we are,” Chehade said.
He said that one profile-raising idea that came out of his registrar CEO round-table was to create “the first DNS world conference… a true business and industry conference”.
There’s also talk about a “good housekeeping” seal for well-behaved domain name industry companies.
“If it’s perception issue or an actual issue, we need to do things that start showing the world we are a responsible industry,” he said.
Chehade plans to meet next month with registry CEOs and invited new gTLD applicant back-ends, and later with the leaders of ccTLD registries.