Report: Universal Acceptance of Domain Names Could Bring 17M New Users Online

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Universal acceptance of internet domain names could be worth $9.8 billion in online revenue growth, according to a report from technology consulting and research firm Analysys Mason.

The report was commissioned by the Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG), and suggests that routine updates to internet systems to incorporate top-level domains longer than three characters or in non-Latin-based scripts, such as Chinese, Arabic, or Cyrillic, would have clear economic, social, and cultural benefits.

In addition to being a foundational requirement for an internet which is truly multilingual, universal acceptance is also the key to realizing the potential of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to support competition, consumer choice and domain name industry innovation, according to the report.

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“To excel in the long run, organizations should seize the opportunity — and responsibility — to ensure that their systems work with the common infrastructure of the Internet — the domain name system,” Ram Mohan, Chair of UASG said in a statement. “Universal Acceptance unlocks a significant economic opportunity and provides a gateway to the next billion Internet users by ensuring a consistent and positive experience for Internet users globally. Additionally, governments and NGOs will be better able to serve their citizens and constituencies if they adopt Universal Acceptance.”

Support for Internationalized Domain Names could bring 17 million new users online, according to the report, including users previously facing a barrier to a complete online experience from a lack of local language services. Online spending from those users could start at $6.2 billion annually, and updating the 13 percent of websites that reject new domain names longer than three letters could increase online revenues by $3.6 billion per year, Analysys Mason says.

“Our analysis shows that the main impediment to Universal Acceptance is a lack of awareness of the issue, rather than any technical challenges,” said Andrew Kloeden, Principal at Analysys Mason. “This is not a heavy lift. The efforts required by software and application owners to implement UA are not particularly onerous; in fact most companies treat UA issues simply as ‘bug fixes.'”

nTLDs could potentially be used to meet currently untapped demand for high-quality DNS “real estate,” according to an academic report released in 2016. The nTLD .cloud began running commercials on CNN in October to raise its public profile and increase adoption.

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