Russian domain development discussed at European registries meeting

The 33rd CENTR Marketing workshop took place on November 12. The meeting was held online and brought together representatives from 22 European ccTLDs, from national registries in Canada, the US, New Zealand and Japan as well gTLDs .COM and .NET. Experts from the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ also took part in the conference.

The meeting kicked off with a roundtable discussion on domain zone development trends and marketing activities for industry professionals and end users.

Most registries reported registration growth in their ccTLDs. Everyone agrees that this growth was partly due to COVID-19: during the pandemic, cybercriminals who register coronavirus-related domains for phishing purposes became more active. Thus, many registries continued to monitor the registration of coronavirus-related domains. Domain representatives also talked about creating websites with basic knowledge and launching information campaigns on the benefits of owning a domain name, as well as organizing training for small and medium-sized businesses, implementing cybersecurity services (online testing of security settings for websites, web services and web connections), carrying out marketing research and surveys on customer satisfaction with registration services, and finally, on charity and educational programs for children and youth.

Viktoria Bunchuk, the Coordination Center’s press secretary and social project manager, also noted the trends in consistent growth in .RU since August and briefly presented a slide with the Coordination Center’s events for the summer and fall: Domain Patrol, Internet Governance Summer School, WHOIS+, and online training for registrars among others. She elaborated on projects related to support of Russian-language internet addresses, in particular, in IDN Bug Bounty, a program designed to search for inconsistencies in the specifications of universal acceptance in large Russian web services and popular software.

The marketing meeting continued with discussions and practical reports. The Coordination Center’s Project Manager, Olga Baskakova, presented the results of a survey on features related to the use of domains in Russia and a series of online surveys among Runet users on ccTLDs .RU and .РФ.

The first survey was based on 8,800 websites in .RU. It turns out that 55 percent of them can be divided into four types of economic activities: wholesale and retail sales; information and communications; culture, sports and various types of entertainment; and scientific and technical activities. Almost 43 percent of websites are integrated with social media and only 6.8 percent with a payment system; while about 15 percent of websites use advertisements and less than 6 percent use various methods to persuade users to stay. It is noteworthy that most domain names where the researched websites were located (42 percent) were not related to the company’s activities but corresponded with its name; while 27.5 percent of domains reflected both activity type and the name of organizations.

Regarding the second survey, Olga Baskakova noted that it was based on the CENTR Global Marketing Study.

“We adapted the global marketing research to our users’ capacities and carried out three surveys: Domains vs Social Media, Domain Orientation (on trust to a website depending on the domain where it’s located) and How to Choose a Domain Name. The first one showed that 90 percent of users have their own website with a unique domain, which refutes the opinion that websites are being generally abandoned to use public accounts in social media for the same purposes.”

According to the results of the second survey, it turns out that the .RU domain zone is the most popular among Russian users who create and visit websites on various topics. The third survey’s results show that the main factors that matter for users in choosing a domain name registrar are reliability, guaranteed personal data protection and prompt response to client requests.

The representative of the .NL ccTLD registry talked about the advantages of an internet presence for entrepreneurs. The report of CENTR experts and the administration of .IE, the Irish ccTLD, was dedicated to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the sale of new domains. The representative of the British ccTLD .UK held an interactive session with a survey on the lists’ automated communications with accredited registrars and registrants (on the platform they use as well as on the form and content of notifications). The survey’s results, with an analysis of the data, will be available later for members of the CENTR marketing working group.

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