03 15 2013

03 15 2013

Small Businesses Unaware of New Internet Domain Extensions

It’s become a modern necessity for small businesses to have a digital profile. Aside from being active on social media, it’s now critically important firms maintain a small business website. However, new research found small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are losing an opportunity to advance their brand through new domain extensions that will be made available soon. Interested firms can potentially use a small business loan to fund their splurge for a new domain name.

New extensions to be usable by mid-2013

According to a survey by Sedo, a domain marketplace and monetization provider, the majority of SMBs were in the dark on new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that will be available for use by 2013. A gTLD is more commonly known to Internet users as the web address suffix, either “.com,” “.net,” or “.org.”

After decades of deliberations, Sedo said the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has begun the slow introduction of new extensions into the World Wide Web for public use. The firm said up to 1,000 new gTLDs like “.music,” “.movies,” and “.book” could be used as early as mid-2013.

However, small businesses are in a vastly disadvantageous position to capitalize on such an offering, compared to larger companies that will likely snap up domain names if SMBs put up little resistance. Overall, 60 percent of those polled were not aware new gTLDs will be released this year. Forty percent didn’t see a benefit to procuring a new gTLD, or were unsure whether it would have any impact on their brand or business. Due to the lack of awareness and general distrust of new domain names, 94 percent indicated they are not in the market for purchasing a new gTLD.

“This research makes it clear that more education is needed if new gTLDs are to be successful,” said Tobias Flaitz, CEO of Sedo. “The public deserves to know that something as engrained in their daily lives as the Internet will be fundamentally changing … the public [needs to know] 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 distrustful

Part of the sentiment that gTLDs would not help businesses derives from the fear many owners have over unfamiliar Internet territory. Fifty-four percent said they would be hesitant to click on new gTLDs; 22.7 percent of those respondents wouldn’t do so because of security concerns.

About 52 percent of respondents said gTLDs would create more confusion, while only 5 percent believe they would make things less confusing. Confusion was a main issue, with 51 percent citing it as the major obstacle to gTLD adoption. Nearly 20 percent said awareness and 8 percent said cost.

SMBs said they could investigate obtaining a gTLD if they were in wide use (17 percent) or have a positive measurable effect on SEO (16 percent).

Entrepreneurs who see new opportunities for brand advancement through gTLDs can consult with National Funding on financing for such a venture through a merchant cash advance.

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