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Poll on New TLDs Shows Value of Brand Loyalty, Willingness to Try New Equivalents to .COMs

Josh Bourne

Internet users are willing to navigate to, use, and trust new web addresses that will be flooding the Internet later this year, and brand name websites will carry more weight with Internet users than generic sites.

These are among the results of a public opinion survey commissioned by FairWinds Partners, a consultancy that specializes in domain name strategy.

The poll also found that the owners and operators of these new addresses should be technically prepared or risk driving away or losing traffic intended for their sites.

Hundreds of new gTLDs are expected to roll out later this year and a total of approximately 1,400 could be operational in a year or so.

Internet users are untethered to the past, broadminded, and based on this survey, receptive to new ways of doing things. Respondents prefer to take control of their Internet experiences, expect to find their favorite brands at intuitive sites, and will adapt to the new addresses without too much difficulty.

The online poll of 1,000 Internet users found that consumers have an open mind about new gTLDs even though they remain a largely unknown and abstract concept:

  • 57 percent said they had no preference or would be willing to navigate to a new gTLD media website, while 43 percent said they would stick with a .COM media site
  • 52 percent said they had no preference or would be willing to shop on a new gTLD, compared to 48 percent who preferred .COM
  • 53 percent said they had no preference or would be willing to bank with a financial institution operating a new gTLD site, compared to 47 percent who would stick with .COM

The poll found that consumers trust the brands that they know and likely would embrace brand name gTLDs without much hesitation:

  • 14 percent of respondents navigating to a media site would prefer a brand name site, such as .CBS compared to 9 percent who preferred a generic such as .NEWS
  • 17 percent of respondents shopping online would navigate to a brand name site compared to 9 percent who preferred a generic gTLD, such as .SHOES
  • 15 percent of those banking online said they would prefer a brand gTLD, for example .CITI compared to 10 percent who opted for a generic site such as .LOANS

Brand owners — whether they applied for a new gTLD or not — can draw valuable lessons from FairWinds' research. Internet users indicated they expect to see their favorite brands adopt and use new gTLDs and that poor online user experiences will lead to missed revenue and opportunities for brand owners.

The better brand owners understand consumer behavior, the better prepared they will be to optimize use of their new gTLDs and remain competitive in the new Internet space.

The poll, conducted by InsightsNow! in April, questioned Internet users between the ages of 13 and 64. This is the second in a series of polls FairWinds is undertaking to gauge the impact of new gTLDs on consumers and businesses. The first FairWinds market research survey may be read here.

By Josh Bourne, Managing Partner at FairWinds Partners
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Related topics: Domain Names, New TLDs

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Share your comments

My Opinion Kevin Murphy  –  Jun 13, 2013 11:35 AM PST

I think one of the following:

a) This article leaves me wanting to know what the breakdown was between "prefer new gTLDs" and "don't care".

b) I have no preference.

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