Australians Trust Their .AU: Survey

While only one quarter (25%) of Australians own a domain name, three-quarters (74%) of those that do choose a .au domain a survey [pdf] conducted for the .au policy and regulatory body, auDA, and the registry, AusRegistry, has found.The survey found that those that have not already registered a domain name are unlikely to do so, with 87 percent without a domain saying they see no reason to register one. These respondents said they did not have a need for a domain name, possibly relying on other options such as Facebook, Tumblr, email providers or other third party Internet applications. Interestingly, ten percent of this group own a business while six percent host a blog – both of which are prime candidates for domain name ownership.This is potentially risky, as should any of these providers change their policies and/or lose popularity, a business’s whole identity could disappear overnight. Or a charge could see a popular business paying relatively significant amounts of money to keep their online presence compared to if they had their own domain name.The low level of people registering domain names is a challenge and something that AusRegistry and auDA have vowed to improve. Although how this compares to other countries is unsure.”While we recently surpassed 2.7 million domain names under .au, there is clearly significant room for growth with less than 25% percent of respondents owning a domain name,” said Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry. “We know that when Australians make a purchasing decision to register a domain name they more often than not choose .au.””What we as an industry need to focus on now is raising greater awareness and education about the benefits of domain name ownership, particularly for businesses.”In some ways the low number of Australians registering a domain name is not surprising given the issues for individuals wishing to register a domain name. Under .au, individuals either need to obtain an Australian Business Number from the tax office for, which has over 86 percent of the 2.72 million .au registrations as of the end of September 2013, or register under the much unloved that has less than 0.5 percent of all .au registrations. There are also an additional 2.4 million domain names registered by Australians in other TLDs.The .au ccTLD was also perceived as being “Australian”, with 95 percent of respondents identifying .au as being uniquely representative of Australia compared to competing namespaces such as .com, .nz or .asia.”The survey respondents indicated satisfaction with the current level of governance for the .au namespace,” said Chris Disspain, CEO of auDA. “It’s heartening to now have tangible data demonstrating the regulation and registration policy reforms we implemented more than 10 years ago have helped build trust in the .au namespace.””This is supported by the fact that Australian businesses rely on .au for their online presence. Almost 80% of respondents who own a .au domain name use it for business purposes.”The report also considered the introduction of new gTLDs and how they may impact on .au. While the number of new gTLDs to be introduced is substantial, the competitive impact on the .au ccTLD may be less so according to the report. Registrants in .au are not expected to turn away from .au simply due to greater choice, because the survey highlights the recognition of the .au brand, and 95 percent of respondents identifying .au with Australia.Most respondents do not view domain names as a commodity but rather as their representation on the Internet. More choice may be enticing for those who were unable to register their first choice of domain name in .au, however it will remain important for Australian businesses and individuals to maintain their relationship with the market in which they operate. Therefore it is expected that the new gTLDs will be complementary to existing TLDs, and will assist Registrants to enhance their online identity and brand.Initially, the decision to purchase a new gTLD domain name may occur out of curiosity. Proof of success will be measureable via subsequent domain name renewal rates.The report also found:
76 percent of all survey respondents do not own a domain name under any Top-Level Domain (like .au or .com).
of those who do own a domain name, 74 percent of Australians choose .au for their online presence, a reflection of the trust built into the namespace
a discrepancy exists in the uptake of domain names between genders, with males almost twice as likely to own a domain name compared to females
when it comes to age, 35 to 64 year-olds lead the way in domain name ownership, with more than a quarter of respondents in this age group owning a domain name
84% of .au domain name owners say registering a domain name is an easy process.The survey is the first of its kind in Australia and it will be used as a baseline performance for future annual surveys.