Mixed Responses on Knowledge of New gTLDs in British, American and Belgian Surveys

A new study from the NCC Group claims to have found 87 percent of British and American consumers do not feel very comfortable visiting websites using new gTLDs. Meanwhile another study in Belgium found almost half (46%) of small-to-medium enterprises and those engaged in the “liberal professions” were aware of new gTLDs and over half (54%) found this to be a positive trend.The NCC Group study, the “New Internet Study”, questioned 10,000 consumers across the US and UK regarding their attitudes to these new gTLDs.Without access to the questionnaire used by the NCC Group or its findings, it does appear it was geared to promoting the NCC Group’s services. The findings suggest 40 percent of web users reported feeling less secure online since their introduction, however the anecdotal evidence of this writer suggests far fewer than these numbers actually know about new gTLDs. It could be the lack of knowledge and awareness of new gTLDs, as with many things in life, leads to fear. A fear of the unknown.”The internet is undergoing the biggest change in its history, causing uncertainty for consumers,” said Rob Cotton, chief executive officer at NCC Group. “We’ve also shown that the new domains are already being used for nefarious purposes, with users expressing security concerns too.””Currently there is a lack of awareness of this change in the business community. This is an issue that affects a number of different departments, from marketing and IT all the way up to the board – but most firms are oblivious.Meanwhile another survey by DNS Belgium among SMEs (2 – 250 employees) and the liberal professions, a group that one would expect to have a higher level of knowledge of new gTLDs, found 46 percent were familiar with new gTLDs.DNS Belgium contacted some 500 SMEs distributed among Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels-region of their knowledge of new gTLDs, and in particular the geographic new gTLDs .vlaanderen and .brussels and follows on from a similar study in 2013.The DNS Belgium study found almost half (46%) of the professionals were aware that there are new gTLDs, an increase of nine percent from the previous year while over half (54%) found this to be a positive trend.Among professionals who are familiar with these new extensions, 36 percent knew of .vlaanderen (compared with 22% in 2014) and 20 percent of .brussels (compared with 9% in 2014).