Every year since our research on IDNs began in 2011, we have sent out a survey to domain name registries within the ccTLD community. The survey asks the same four questions each year.
The first three questions are scored on a Likert scale from 0 (far below expectations) to 5 (exceeds expectations).
The first question (How does uptake of IDNs relate to your expectations?) aims at identifying any gaps between the level of IDN registrations and the registry operators’ expectations. A low uptake may be completely in line with expectations, for example, when there is a low population of people using the relevant character set in the target market.
The second and third questions (How well are IDNs supported by your registrars? and How would you rate end user awareness?) are aimed at the two primary methods of sales: in marketing jargon, one is supplier “push” and the other is end user “pull”. If registrars — the channel to market — are not able to support IDNs, then a marketing push, eg through advertising, price promotions or other push strategies, will not be effective. Likewise, if customers are not aware of IDNs, then there will be little or no consumer pull (eg proactive requests by customers).
The fourth question (What single change would improve uptake of IDNs?) is aimed at identifying the perceived barriers to greater uptake of IDNs.
The registries represented a geographically diverse sample including Europe and North America, Latin America, Arab States, and Asia and the Pacific. Not every registry answers every question, and the identity of the individual registries within the data set varies year on year.
The low numbers in the data set can lead to potential distortions in percentage differences, especially when looking at subsets. However, the participants are expert in the field and manage a large portion of the world’s domain names. So, while the results are not conclusive, they give an interesting picture of industry impressions of IDN uptake, from a geographically diverse base, and a variety of registry business models.