Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) need not be fazed about the initial cost of registering for generic top-level domains (gTLDs) as they can potentially reap savings, particularly in marketing and advertising costs, in the long run.
This was the view of Adrian Kinderis, CEO of Australia-based domain registrar ARI Registry Services, who told ZDNet Asia during an interview Thursday that the US$185,000 upfront fee needed to apply for TLDs is the biggest barrier-to-entry for SMBs.
However, these companies need to realize there are cost savings to be had with TLDs, particularly in reducing their expenditure on advertising and marketing efforts, he pointed out. Other savings come in the form of maintenance fees, he added.
For example, Kinderis said with current domain names, companies have to pay a monthly fee to maintain their Web site as well as additional fees should they decide to deploy microsites, which are frequently used for specific marketing or advertising campaigns. With a top-level domain, though, it becomes a one-time payment process and eliminates further maintenance costs, he said.
He did not elaborate on specific cost savings SMBs stand to benefit from gTLDs as the amount saved would depend on how much companies are spending on their domain name maintenance fees and other marketing and advertising campaign costs.
Awareness in Asia still lacking
Besides high initial costs, Kinderis also noted that there is a lack of awareness of TLDs and the benefits of signing up for these among SMBs in the Asia-Pacific region.
Citing an internal survey released on Wednesday, the CEO said less than 15 percent of SMBs polled indicated that they have knowledge of what gTLDs are. The survey, commissioned by ARI Registry Services and conducted by Empirica Research, got the views from 200 SMB owners and CEOs from Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The findings are in contrast with businesses in United States, where awareness of TLDs is "rather high", he stated. This, he added, is due to the fact that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an American company and the "genesis of Internet" and most domain registries originated from the U.S. and Europe.
This imbalance in knowledge and application of gTLDs could prove detrimental to Asian companies in the long run as the Internet could be filled with TLDs linked to organizations from the U.S. and Europe and they will be in a better position to promote themselves to consumers, Kinderis warned.
"We are building a global Web, not a North American Web," he stressed. "Asia-Pacific has brilliant minds and the technical expertise to get on board so this opportunity should not be lost."
Other industry insiders also urged Asia-Pacific businesses to get on the gTLD bandwagon in an earlier report. DotAsia Organisation CEO Edmon Chung said the new gTLD system will offer Asian business the chance to get the best domain names and be on equal footing with U.S. companies which dominate the .com space, while Eddie Chau, CEO of Brandtology, said such domains will allow regional companies to "stand out a lot more" in terms of exclusiveness and their brand image and value.