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Survey: more people know about new gTLDs but fewer trust them

Kevin Murphy, June 29, 2016, 09:35:20 (UTC), Domain Registries

People are becoming more aware that new gTLDs exist, but there’s less trust in them that there was a year ago, according to an ICANN-sponsored survey.

The second annual Global Consumer Survey, which was published late last week, shows that 16% of respondents had heard of specific new gTLDs, on average.

That’s up 2% on last year’s survey.

The number for TLDs added in the last year was 20%, with .news leading the pack with 33% awareness.

However, fewer people were actually visiting these sites: 12% on average, compared to 15% a year ago. For TLDs added in the last year, visitation averaged 15%.

And the amount of trust placed on new gTLDs added prior to the 2015 survey was down from 49% to 45% — half the level of .com, .org and .net.

For TLDs added since last year’s survey, trust was at 52% on average.

The 2015 survey looked only at .email, .photography, .link, .guru, .realtor, .club and .xyz. For this year’s survey, respondents were also asked about .news, .online, .website, .site, .space, .pics, .top, .bank, .pharmacy, and .builder.

The number of registered domains did not seem to have an impact on how aware respondents were on individual extensions.

.xyz, for example, had the lowest awareness of those used in the survey — 9% versus 5% in 2015 — despite being the runaway volume market leader and having scored PR coups such as Google’s adoption of abc.xyz for its new parent company, Alphabet.

Likewise, .top, second only to .xyz in the size league table, could only muster up 11% awareness.

.news, .email and .online topped the awareness list — with 33%, 32% and 30% respectively — despite having only about 500,000 names between them.

I’m not sure I buy much of this data to be honest. There’s some weirdness.

For example, the survey found that 28% of respondents claim to have visited a .email web site.

That’s a gTLD at least partially if not primarily designed for non-web use, with roughly 20,000 names that are not parked.

If over a quarter of the population were visiting .email sites, you might expect some of those sites to show up prominently in Alexa rankings, but they don’t.

But perhaps, if we take this survey as a measure of consumers perceptions, it doesn’t matter so much whether it reflects the reality of internet use.

The survey, conducted by Nielsen for ICANN, covered dozens of other aspects of internet use, including feelings on cybersecurity, navigation and such, and weighs in at 160 pages. Read it all over here.

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Comments (7)

  1. Brett says:

    GTLD = Good To Lose Dinero

  2. John says:

    I think everything about that study is total crap.

    There is NO WAY that there is 33% awareness of .news. That’s total crap, and anyone that has been in this business for any amount of time knows this to be true.

    Go ask 10 people around you if they have heard of .news and I assure you all 10 never heard of it. They’d have to be a developer or a domainer or somehow involved in this space. Regular people in the population have never heard of this extension.

    What a lame study. Try again. Total crap lies or total crapy study, either way it’s NOT TRUE. You can’t make me believe that until people start truly recognizing these extensions.

    • David says:

      Totally agree, John. The awareness of these is still abysmal.

      Not to mention that awareness alone isn’t enough–the fact that trust is decreasing is a terrible sign. It should be that as more people know and understand what gTLDs are, the more they will feel comfortable with them.

      The fact that awareness is supposedly going up while trust is going down means this business is totally screwed.

      Not to mention, I would love to see a survey that asks consumers two simple questions:
      1) how often do you notice the URLs anymore given search engines, mobile search, etc.?
      2) do you even care?

    • Tony says:

      Although I agree with you that gTLD awareness is not anywhere near the 52% that ICANN’s report suggests.
      I think it’s highly possible that 33% of 5K people surveyed have been made aware of a gTLD.

      The issue here being that 5000 people is not a valid sample size for such a survey.
      Without knowing exactly how Nielsen attract their survey candidates it’s likely that a large percentage have at least have a passing interest in the tech industry.

      Additionally if you consider that Apple’s native News App links over 35,000 news articles though a single .News domain, and displays the domain in all social media shares you can begin to understand the results of this survey.
      https://www.google.com/#q=site:apple.news

  3. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Looking for country-specific results allows me to agree that the research results are totally flawed; my guess is that people responded to be aware of “news” or “website” instead of “.news” and “.website”.

  4. Don’t trust it. Very pretty pictures but that’s about it. The sample size is too small. Probably an ego trip for ICANN but the reality is that there is an almost unstoppable drive towards ccTLDs in most countries and non-core gTLDs (other than COM/NET/ORG) are having a very difficult time maintaining market share at a country level. Even .COM is going legacy in some countries.

    The percentages of new gTLDs in country level markets is very low and most markets are still dominated by the COM/ccTLD axis with over 80% of the country’s domain footprint. Add to that the issue of web development and usage being below 20% (some are bordering on 10%). So it is a miracle that users actually see any new gTLD websites.

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