New gTLDs are on track to begin delegating into the Root Zone as soon as the second quarter of next year. With the first launches fast approaching, brand owners and other new gTLDs applicants have been gathering information in order to form strategies and make decisions about how they will use and market their new gTLDs. But a crucial piece of information has been missing – until now, that is.
The existing body of knowledge around new gTLDs has, thus far, lacked information about how Internet users will respond to the introduction of over 1,000 new Web extensions. In fact, there is generally a lack of information about just how many Internet users even really know that new gTLDs are coming. So FairWinds partnered with leading market research firm InsightsNow to survey over 2,000 Internet users on their levels of awareness of and attitudes toward new gTLDs. Below are some key findings from that research:
- Internet users, by and large, know nothing about new gTLDs: 74% of Internet users surveyed do not know about the New gTLD Program, and only 4% could successfully name a new gTLD.
- Internet users will initially be confused by new gTLDs and may find it difficult to navigate to content or know which new addresses to trust in the immediate future: Only 27% of users surveyed said new gTLDs would not cause confusion.
- Brand owners that effectively define their new gTLDs and rise above this confusion will achieve success with their new gTLDs: After receiving education about new gTLDs, reports of confusion dropped by 11%.
- Significant gains in terms of digital presence and online awareness of their brands await brand owners who provide consumers with simple education about new gTLDs.
So what does all this mean? Internet users have sent a clear message that not only will brand owners and other new gTLD operators be able to educate consumers and overcome confusion – they may be able to do so relatively quickly. And if brand owners can mitigate consumers’ confusion and build trust in their gTLDs, they are very likely to experience success with those gTLDs.