More than half of small- to midsize businesses have no idea that new gTLDs will start being released this year, according to a study released on Monday by domain marketplace Sedo.
In January 2013, Sedo surveyed 600 managers and owners of SMBs to find that 40 percent feel that there is no advantage or are unsure what the advantage that new gTLDs offer and 94 percent of respondents are not currently planning to purchase a new gTLD.
As the first batch of new gTLDs is set to be released by mid-2013, the fact that so many SMBs are unaware of what new gTLDs could mean for their online business shows that there is a disconnect in terms of how new gTLDs are being promoted, and perhaps the value of new gTLDs for SMBs has been overstated.
To address the marketing disconnect, eNom released its new TLD portal last year to help web hosts build a watchlist, promote the new gTLDs, and gauge what customers are interested in.
Education will be crucial in selling SMBs on new gTLDs, as more than half of respondents said they felt that new gTLDs will only make the Internet more confusing. Confusion, awareness and cost were cited as the three biggest problems for gTLD adoption. Security is also a concern, Sedo said, as 54 percent of respondents would be hesitant to click on domain names ending in something other than .com, .net or .org.
“This research makes it clear that more education is needed if new gTLDs are to be successful. The public deserves to know that something as ingrained in their daily lives as the Internet will be fundamentally changing,” Tobias Flaitz, Sedo’s CEO said in a statement. “It’s incumbent upon the applicants and those in the domain industry to spread the word. We need to tell the public what new gTLDs are and highlight how they will ultimately benefit both consumers and businesses alike by providing more options for registering web addresses and for branding opportunities. If the public doesn’t understand why this is happening then there will be little chance for success.”
SMBs said they would be more likely to purchase a new gTLD is they were widely adopted, while 15.7 percent said they would do so if it increased SEO. Another 15 percent of respondents said reasonable pricing would be the deciding factor.
Talk back: Do you think that education is the most important factor in ensuring the adoption of new gTLDs? What do you plan to do to promote new gTLDs to your customers? Let us know in a comment.