.au Benchmark survey finds only one in four own a domain name

Posted by auDA on 15 October 2013

Melbourne, Australia – 15 October 2013: A survey of more than 10,000 Australians has found the .au domain name remains Australia’s home on the Internet with 95% of respondents identifying it as being uniquely representative of Australia compared to competing namespaces such as .com, .nz or .asia.

While .au enjoys widespread consumer and end user satisfaction, the report found only one in four Australians own a domain name and that 87% of those who do not own a domain name say they see no reason to.

The report – the first of its kind – sought to provide a baseline performance standard to profile .au domain name owners and measure against annually in future surveys.

Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry, acknowledged the industry faces a major challenge to address the low level of domain name ownership.

“While we recently surpassed 2.7 million domain names under .au, there is clearly significant room for growth with less than 25% of respondents owning a domain name. We know that when Australians make a purchasing decision to register a domain name they more often than not choose .au.

“What we as an industry need to focus on now is raising greater awareness and education about the benefits of domain name ownership, particularly for businesses,” Mr Kinderis said.

The report, jointly prepared by AusRegistry and .au Domain Administration (auDA) with assistance from global market research company Effective Measure, found:

  • 76% of all survey respondents do not own a domain name under any Top-Level Domain (like .au or .com).
  • Of those who do own a domain name, 74% of Australians choose .au for their online presence, a reflection of the trust built into the namespace.
  • A discrepancy exists in the uptake of domain names between genders, with males almost twice as likely to own a domain name compared to females.
  • When it comes to age, 35 to 64 year-olds lead the way in domain name ownership, with more than a quarter of respondents in this age group owning a domain name.
  • 84% of .au domain name owners say registering a domain name is an easy process.

 Chris Disspain, CEO of auDA, welcomed the report’s findings, particularly on .au’s governance.

“The survey respondents indicated satisfaction with the current level of governance for the .au namespace. It’s heartening to now have tangible data demonstrating the regulation and registration policy reforms we implemented more than 10 years ago have helped build trust in the .au namespace.

“This is supported by the fact that Australian businesses rely on .au for their online presence. Almost 80% of respondents who own a .au domain name use it for business purposes,” Mr Disspain said. 

The report also identified over two-thirds of respondents said they did not have a need for a domain name, possibly relying on other options such as Facebook, Tumblr, email providers or other third party Internet applications. Interestingly, 10% of this group own a business while 6% host a blog – both of which are prime candidates for domain name ownership.

On the topic of selling .au domain names, the report suggests an opportunity exists to raise awareness about the .au auction and secondary market, with more than half of all respondents unaware of its existence. A strong secondary market is an indicator of a thriving namespace and there have been a number of high profile sales in recent times.

Only last week, cruises.com.au sold for $110,000 while investmentproperty.com.au was auctioned for $125,000 in 2011.

The report also touched on the potential competition .au might face next year with the introduction of new Top-Level Domains like .melbourne, .sydney and hundreds of others. While awareness of new Top-Level Domains is extremely low (only one in six respondents knew of them), the report suggests new TLDs will be complementary to .au and will allow registrants to enhance their online identity and brand.

The publication of today’s report follows a 2011 report by Deloitte Access Economics which found the .au domain namespace contributes $475 million to the Australian economy per year and supports more than 4300 full-time jobs.

The report will be a topic of discussion at the Australian Internet Governance Forum being hosted by auDA in Melbourne on 16 and 17 October.