Small and medium-sized businesses have expressed an interest in registering appropriate new domain names when industry-specific generic Top Level Domains relevant to their business are introduced.Research commissioned by ARI Registry Services led by Dr. David Neal, director of Empirica Research, aimed to identify whether small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) will buy into the new programme.”Surprisingly, nobody had stopped to ask if restaurant owners would actually buy a domain within .restaurant, or whether lawyers will buy one within .law,” commented Dr. Neal. “The survey findings suggest that a high percentage of them will, even if this means paying a premium over their current web address.”Dr. Neal conducted a survey of 200 SMBs across a range of industries finding a high potential to monetise new TLDs. The survey found:
- 49 per cent of SMBs describe themselves as likely to register a web address under a new Top-Level Domain related to their business
- SMBs are willing to pay substantial premiums to own an industry-specific web address, stating they’d pay 47 per cent more than what they pay annually for their current address
- Had the opportunity existed when they were starting their business, 44% of SMBs said they would have bought one at the time.
Adrian Kinderis, ARI Registry Services CEO, who is helping companies and entrepreneurs apply for new Top-Level Domains, said: “These results are encouraging considering it’s a new concept and awareness is still low among businesses. The findings demonstrate a strong demand in the market for new Top-Level domains.”SMBs perceived the most significant value in industry-specific web addresses to be the possible advantage within search engines, the ability to better match a domain name to their business and the potential to increase purchases from international consumers.”In today’s digital economy there’s an increasing amount of consumers buying goods and services online and businesses are keen to differentiate themselves – this creates a market of highly interested customers willing to pay a premium price for more relevant domains,” said Mr Kinderis.”It’s disappointing to see that with less than two months to go until the application window opens, less than 15 per cent of businesses are aware of the program.”Domains like .shop will have huge global appeal – so selling web addresses to small businesses is just the start of the revenue opportunities. If you included the sale of premium, highly sought-after names like malls.shop or bookings.hotel which could be auctioned for tens of thousands of dollars, you’re talking multi-million dollar annual revenues from a global customer base,” Kinderis concluded.SMBs also showed interest in Internationalised Domain Names (IDN) which will allow domains in non-Latin languages such as Chinese or Arabic. Fifty-four per cent of SMBs who have customers that do not speak English said they were interested in owning an IDN. Chinese IDNs were nominated by 90 per cent of SMBs.Additional research was conducted via in-depth interviews with renowned entrepreneurs, including Jake Winebaum, former President of Disney Online, and Tony Chow, an Asian expert in digital media and creative entrepreneurship.Using data collected during this research and census data from governments, the following hypothetical business model for a .shop new Top-Level Domain within the Australian market was developed demonstrating the potential revenue opportunity:
- There are 219,000 retail stores in Australia and in this hypothetical model developed by ARI, 20 per cent of them are likely to register a web address within a .shop new TLD. Possibly at the high end, but if this was the case, this would yield a potential customer base of 43,800 retail stores willing to pay A$126.5 per annum – resulting in a total annual revenue of $5.54 million for a .shop new Top-Level Domain – generated from Australian retail stores alone.
Adding Singapore and Hong Kong’s retail stores to the business model results in a potential annual revenue in the order of US$7 million.More information on the study, including a summary of the research whitepaper, is available from: