New domain names: awareness grows

ICANN wants to measure the popularity of the new domain extensions by running several successive studies. A first report has just been released. Here are a few results…

Since the first generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) was delegated into the Internet’s Root Zone in October 2013, more than 630 new domain extensions have already been activated. This means that you will no longer be limited to websites whose address end with a suffix such as .com, .net, .info or .bizz when you surf the Internet; you will also be able to visit websites with a much more evocative domain extension, like .guru, .club, .xyz of .gent.

The ICANN, the corporation in charge of the management of domain names, which has taken quite a long time before taking the decision to make domain names more accessible, has been wondering how popular this drastic opening of the domain landscape actually was among people worldwide. Therefore, it commissioned a study from information and measurement company Nielsen, in order to provide an overview of Internet users’ current position with respect to domain names, and then be able to compare the results with those of follow-up studies.

Does the average man know that new domain extensions exist?

The results of the first study, conducted between 2 and 19 February 2015 among 6,144 people older than 18 from Asia, Europe, Africa and North America have just been published. These results will form the benchmark against which the results of future studies will be measured. The first follow-up study should be conducted next year.

The study mainly focused on the popularity of the new gTLDs. Does the man in the street know that domain extensions such as .photo or .xyz exist? Respondents were also asked if they were aware of the existence of some domain names that are currently very popular (like .email, .photography, .link, .guru, .realtor, .club And 46% knew about the existence of at least one of them.

But not everything was pure theory: 65% of respondents who were aware of the existence of new extensions had at least once visited a site with a new gTLD. And Internet users mainly remembered domains whose name evoke a specific purpose, such as .email.

Find out how many new TLDs you already know

These are very positive signals, which of course will have to be confirmed by a follow-up study. See you in a few months!