The world economy is “conservatively” losing out on almost $10 billion of annual revenue due to a lack of support for new gTLDs and internationalized domain names, according to an ICANN-commissioned research report.
The report, conducted by Analysys Mason for the semi-independent Universal Acceptance Steering Group, calculated that patchy new gTLD support means $3.6 billion of activity is lost, with lack of IDN support costing $6.2 billion.
Despite “new” gTLDs being around for a decade and a half, there are still plenty of web sites and apps that incorrectly assume that all TLDs are either two or three characters. Others don’t support non-Latin scripts.
This leads to internet users abandoning transactions, the report says, when their email addresses are rejected as invalid.
Mason calculated the $3.6 billion number by multiplying the estimated number of email addresses using new gTLD domains (152 million) by the estimated average annual revenue generated per email address ($360), then calculating what portion of these transactions cannot happen due to incomplete TLD support.
Earlier research by .CLUB Domains suggests that 13% of sites do not support new gTLDs, so that’s the number Mason used. The researchers then cut the number in half, to account for the 50% of people it reckons would simply switch to an email address in a legacy TLD name.
That gets you to $3.6 billion of potential revenue lost for want of gTLD support.
Another, more cynical way to spin this would be to say that new gTLDs are causing $3.6 billion of economic damage. After all, if everyone were to use legacy TLDs there would be no problem.
For the IDN number, Mason calculated how many users of five major language groups (Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Indian languages) are not currently online, then estimated how much revenue would be generated if just 5% of these users (17 million people) were persuaded online by the existences of IDN TLDs.
The report was commissioned in order to raise awareness of the financial benefits of universal acceptance.
The UASG has spent most of its efforts so far focusing on UA as a “bug fix” to be communicated to engineers, so the report is intended to broaden its message to catch the attention of the money people too.
The report, which goes into much more detail about how the numbers were arrived at, can be downloaded here.