China Embraces New TLDs While Other Countries Fall Behind in Awareness and Adoption

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Awareness of new top-level domains is much more advanced in China than in other parts of the world, according to a new survey by Sedo. Released on Monday, the survey found that only 4 percent of Chinese respondents were unaware that the new TLDs have begun to launch, and 72 percent have seen a new TLD in use.

The high levels of awareness of new TLDs in China is likely a reflection of the market need for Internationalized Domain Names, Sedo said. This marks the first time native speakers of Chinese and other languages can use domain names in their native language.

In the US, 54 percent of respondents were unaware of new gTLDs and that they have begun to launch. The US lags far behind other countries in terms of awareness of new TLDs. In the UK, 44 percent of respondents are unaware of new TLDs, while in Germany, only 29 percent are unaware.

The issue could be a marketing one. In the US, marketers are skeptical about new TLDs, with 75 percent saying that the new TLDs make the Internet more confusing.  Significantly fewer marketers in the UK felt that new TLDs would make the Internet more confusing compared to their US counterparts.

Sedo collected responses from 1,150 individuals from the US, UK, China and Germany about their perception and awareness of new TLDs in May 2014.

The study found that in addition to being more aware of new TLDs, Chinese respondents also had a positive outlook on the idea of new TLDs. Sixty-two percent of respondents said that they would make the Internet less confusing and 72 percent believe that they will eventually have a positive impact on the way search engines present results.

Last year, Sedo met demand from existing customers in China with a new Chinese-language website.

Three-quarters of Chinese respondents reported that their company had already discussed or planned on discussing the use of new TLDs in an advertising campaign. Twenty percent of Chinese respondents have actually already purchased a new TLD.

One of the significant issues for Chinese respondents was trademarks. Twenty-five percent of respondents said their company has had to contest a website address that infringed on a trademark. Sixty-six percent of respondents from China were aware of the Trademark Clearninghouse, the centralized database of validated trademarks.

“Most of us use the Internet every day in both our professional and personal lives, so it’s very important to understand the impact and awareness of the significant changes that are being made to how we navigate the web,” Tobias Flaitz, CEO at Sedo said. “With a large portion of people still unaware that new TLDs exist, and others showing a lack of understanding of how to utilize them, it’s clear that organizations within the domain community must continue to invest in educating businesses and the general public.”

While half of US respondents indicated that domain names were essential to their business, overall US respondents seemed to care less or be less aware of new TLDs. This could be because of the mature market in the US which is fairly skeptical of the value proposition new TLDs bring.

In order to be successful in the new TLD market, domain registrars will have to take a global approach and focus on educating customers about every step of the process.

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