Can’t find a good .com domain for your company?

Thanks to new top-level domains, there is more opportunity than ever to find a catchy, highly-brandable domain name that’s still available for registration.

But is using a new top-level domain instead of a .com domain a good idea? 

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen and sponsored by ICANN, the agency that runs the internet domain name system, the answer right now looks to be a resounding “no!”

Nielsen polled 6,100 adults around the world who use the internet for at least five hours a week and more than half (54%) were unaware of new top-level domains like .email, .photography and .realtor.

What’s more, more than half (51%) of survey respondents found the new domain extensions to be trustworthy.

Legacy domain extensions, .com, .net and .org, on the other hand were recognized by 94% of those polled and found 90% of these to be very or somewhat trustworthy. 

Not surprisingly, lack of recognition translates into lower interest in developing websites using new top-level domains.

In North America and Europe, under 40% of those surveyed indicated that they’d consider registering a new top-level domain. New top-level domains fared better in Asia, South America and Africa, where some 60% of respondents stated they’d consider a registration.

Too early, or too late?

While Nielsen’s data makes it easy to call the introduction of new top-level domains a failure as far as mainstream consumer recognition and acceptance is concerned, one might also argue that it’s too early to write these off.

On the other hand, ICANN’s failure to introduce new top-level domains more than a decade ago could mean that it’s simply too late for newcomers to ever outshine the entrenched .com, .net and .org.

Time will ultimately tell, but right now, it appears that businesses and brands looking to reach consumers should not expect websites using new top-level domains to get the same love as less-catchy or longer .coms.