Sedo shared the results of a study it conducted to gauge awareness about the new gTLD domain names by people in several countries. Sedo published the results of its “International TLD Awareness Report” on its website (pdf), and I thought I would share some of the key themes from the study that were published and shared with me this morning.
Keep in mind that this was a broad study, but it wasn’t huge, as it “queried more than 1,150 individuals from the United States, United Kingdom, China and Germany.” I don’t know if the study was conducted by a third party company, nor do I know if these participants were pre-qualified in any way (ie domain name owners or general Internet users for example).
U.S. Key Themes
- A majority of respondents (54 percent) were unaware of the new gTLDs and that they have begun to launch. This is a far greater lack of awareness than any other country surveyed.
- Marketers in the U.S. appear to be more skeptical about the launch of new TLDs than any other group. Among marketers in the U.S., 75 percent of them said that the new TLDs would make the internet more confusing, a belief held by only 50 percent of total U.S. respondents and 43 percent of all respondents globally.
- U.S. marketers have a more negative outlook than they did a year ago, when 62 percent said that the new TLDs would make the Internet more confusing. This, in addition to much more positive opinions from their peers in other countries suggests that recent campaigns against the new TLDs from organizations such as Verisign and the Association of National Advertisers have been successful influencing opinions.
U.K. Key Themes
- Awareness about new TLDs was similar to the U.S. levels, but trended slightly higher with 44 percent unaware. This is particularly interesting, as fewer respondents reported having seen a new TLD in use compared to their U.S. counterparts.
- There is still a high level of confusion surrounding the new TLDs, as the vast majority of U.K. respondents (95 percent) do not understand the difference between the Sunrise, Landrush and General Availability phases of a new TLD.
- Respondents cited the ability to better describe the content of a site and branding as the main advantages of the new TLDs. Confusion and awareness were named as the top problems facing the TLDs.
- The number of respondents saying that the introduction of new TLDs will make the Internet more confusing (44 percent) was similar to levels reported in the U.S., However, significantly fewer marketers in the U.K. felt that new TLDs would make the Internet more confusing compared to their U.S. counterparts.
- There was little awareness of the Trademark Clearinghouse among U.K. respondents.
Germany Key Themes
- Awareness of new TLDs is incredibly high, especially compared to the American market. Only 29 percent of Germans surveyed are unaware of the new TLDs.
- A majority of Germans (55 percent) think that introducing new TLDs was a good idea, however German respondents, especially those who run or manage small businesses, still doubt the effectiveness and value of TLDs with 38 percent of SMB owners saying there is no advantage to TLDs – the highest response rate for the question.
- Confusion is still a major hurdle to overcome, as almost half of total respondents said TLDs will make the internet more confusing, and the majority also felt that confusion is the biggest problem facing the introduction of new TLDs.
China Key Themes
- The majority of Chinese respondents have a positive outlook on the new TLDs saying that they believe new TLDs are a good idea (86 percent), they expect them to make the Internet less confusing (62 percent), and that they will eventually have a positive impact on the way search engines present results (72 percent).
- Awareness of new TLDs is incredibly high, with very few respondents (4 percent) unaware that the new TLDs have begun to launch. Most (72 percent) even reported that they have seen a new TLD in use. Despite these facts, Chinese respondents also said that the biggest problem facing the new TLDs is awareness that they’re available.
- Chinese respondents were very open to the new TLDs, with most reporting that they have purchased (20 percent), considered purchasing (46 percent) or would consider purchasing a new TLD after receiving more information (25 percent). Three quarters of respondents reported that their company had already discussed or planned on discussing the use of new TLDs in an advertising campaign.
- Unlike the other countries surveyed, a large percentage of the Chinese general population (61 percent) reported that they understand the difference between the Sunrise, Landrush and General Availability phases of a new TLD.
- Trademarks were a significant issue for Chinese respondents, with one in four saying they or their company have had to contest a website address that infringed on a trademark or copyright. A solid majority (66 percent) were also aware of the Trademark Clearinghouse, with many reporting they they’ve used it to register a mark.
- The high levels of awareness and acceptance of new TLDs in China is most likely an indication that there was a market need and subsequent excitement for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which for the first time enable native speakers of Chinese and other languages to use domain names in their native script.