New gTLDs Unlikely To Have Negative Impact On Existing TLDs While ccTLDs Safe: at report

The impact of the introduction of hundreds of new generic Top Level Domains that will be available for the public to register domain names in is a hotly debated topic, and one that nic.at has done some research on for its latest .at report. The Austrian registry has a bet both ways here – along with their role with .AT, they also are providing registry services for a handful of gTLD applicants.While there were 1,930 applications for gTLDs in total, close to half of those gTLDs are for brand names or in non-Latin character sets, so these will be either unavailable for public registrations or of negligible interest to Austrian registrants.But new gTLDs may find it difficult to attract registrations with few enquiries regarding new gTLDs and little thought has yet to go into what role they will play existing marketing strategies.As the report notes, “the internet is set to change, and what for some represents a keenly-anticipated extension of choice may spell a somewhat baffling range of options for others.”The report also found Austrian business has a lot of trust within their own ccTLD favouring it to other TLDs.To look at the impact new gTLDs might have, nic.at went in search of answers with their Domain Strategy Study. The study surveyed a total of 220 Austrian companies in the northern spring and also asked more than 90 .AT registrars and creative agencies for their responses.It came as a surprise to nic.at to learn that more than 60 per cent of the organisations surveyed had a clear picture of new gTLDs, but they were amazed to find out the large numbers of registrars and agencies still hadn’t decided how exactly to respond to the new environment.But nic.at relieved to note their bread and butter services are safe – the report found the overwhelming majority of businesses would continue to put their faith in tried-and-tested TLDs such as .AT.The survey found over three-quarters of agencies and 59.1 percent of companies were aware of the fact that the first of the new gTLDs are set to come onto the market in 2013. And the majority of agencies and registrars indicated that they were yet to receive any inquiries about the new gTLDs.Overall, Austrian companies are approaching the topic of the incoming gTLDs with muted enthusiasm: at present around half of registrars are not sure whether they are going to offer their customers the new extensions. Among agencies the picture is even less clear: almost 70 per cent are yet to reach a decision on whether they will be tracking developments surrounding the new gTLDs, and around one third of the agencies surveyed felt that the subject was of no relevance to them.The survey also looked at who selected domain names within a company, and why the domain names were selected. Over three-quarters (76.4%) of domain names said the company name/legal entity were key criteria used in selecting a domain name, while three in five (58.2%) said a marketing strategy was used. Brand names were responsible for just over half (52.7%) of the reasons for choosing a domain, while slogans and advertising messages (28.2%), promotions and product campaigns (26.8%), suitable generic domains (21.8%) and analysis of competition/field studies (16.8%) also figured. Typosquatting was the criteria given for only five percent of all respondents and phonetically similar terms was given as the criteria for 4.1%.Senior management was the area of a company that was most likely to be given key responsibility for domain name management (37.3%) with marketing departments choosing domains 20.9 percent of the time and, some might say worryingly, IT departments 14.1 percent of the time. An external service provider or agency was responsible 10.8 percent of the time.For 84.1 per cent of respondents, local, regional and international relevance played a deciding role in the selection of TLDs for their company or brand. For more than two thirds (69.6%) of those asked, the degree of familiarity with TLDs was a major factor, while target groups and markets (42.7%) and branches and locations (34.6%) also figured highly.The survey also confirmed what other ccTLDs have found – that the public with the country of a ccTLD like their own ccTLD. The report shows 80 per cent of agencies and registrars agree that .AT is the leading TLD for Austria and that 93.7 percent of companies see .AT as providing an essential indication of their geographical location. More than half of those surveyed reported that .AT was synonymous with a positive image, credibility and security.The report also has an interview with Markus Krammer, systems engineer at Porsche Informtik’s Infrastructure Services Department, and looks at how Porsche Informtik uses domain names.It may only be six pages, but this .at report has a lot of information that is probably relevant to many ccTLDs, and it is available for download in English and German.

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