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ICANN Consumer and Registrant Survey FAQ

  1. Why did ICANN commission this survey?
    1. ICANN commissioned these surveys in response to recommendations from the Implementation Advisory Group on Competition, Consumer Choice and Consumer Trust (IAG-CCT). The IAG-CCT concluded its work in September 2014 and recommended to the ICANN Board 66 metrics to measure how the New gTLD Program has impacted competition, consumer choice and consumer trust in the domain name space. Among those 66 metrics, a subset of 11 were identified as best being measured using a global survey of Internet users. The IAG-CCT made this interim recommendation to the ICANN Board in March 2014 at the ICANN 51 meeting in Singapore and the Board approved plans to move ahead with an RFP. ICANN conducted an open RFP and signed a contract with Nielsen to conduct the study in November 2014.

  2. Who was surveyed?
    1. For the wave 1 consumer survey, Nielsen surveyed 6,144 adults ages 18 and older, who spend 5 or more hours a week on the Internet for the Internet consumer survey. The respondents surveyed represented all five of ICANN's geographic regions. Respondents came from 24 countries, representing 75% of the world's Internet users: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, United States, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. The results were reported at a 95% confidence level. For the wave 2 survey, Nielsen queried 5,452 Internet users who met the same criteria outlined above. The respondents came from the same 24 countries.

      Nielsen also completed a wave 1 survey of domain name registrants, which included 3,357 registrants from the same countries as those listed above. The results from this survey were also reported at a 95% confidence level. To be included in the sample, respondents were screened to ensure they were 18 and older, had ever registered a domain name, were at least a partial decision maker in domain name registrations, were aware of the purpose of the domain name and in which TLDs names had been registered. In wave 2, Nielsen surveyed 3,349 registrants who met the same qualifications and were from the same countries as listed above.

      Domain name registrants were identified using several sources. For the 2015 survey, ICANN provided Nielsen with a sample of WHOIS records used in the 2014 WHOIS Accuracy Pilot Report [PDF, 1.5 MB], conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Due to a low response rate to emailed invitations to complete the survey, ICANN then worked with Domain Tools to procure a larger sample of WHOIS records.

      This sample from Domain Tools was drawn according to the estimated target numbers for each country provided by Nielsen. The WHOS records were parsed and sorted by the country code for the registrant. Additional parameters used for this sample were:

      • The domain name's creation date was not necessary for sorting records.
      • The sample was created from gTLD domain names and excluded ccTLD domain names.
      • The sample included, where available, a mix of legacy and new gTLDs. Records included in the sample were selected according to a standard process, e.g., a randomized selection of records from a registry, according to the established criteria as described above.

      Using contact information from this sample, Nielsen emailed registrants invitations to participate in the survey, but responses remained low. Given these challenges, ICANN decided to complete its registrant survey using Nielsen's consumer panels and sample partners to reach the requisite number of responses from each region to achieve a statistically significant sample size.

      Of the 3,357 responses included in the final sample, 768 came from the ICANN-supplied lists, while 2,589 from Nielsen.

      For the 2016 survey, Nielsen utilized commercial sample sources to reach the requisite number of respondents from each geographic region. At the request of the Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team, Nielsen also queried a sample of teens, ages 15-17 for the wave 2 consumer survey.

  3. In which languages was the survey conducted?
    1. Both surveys were administered in 18 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Simplified Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Turkish, Polish, Spanish, British English, and Bahasa.
  4. When did these surveys take place?
    1. The wave 1 consumer survey was conducted online between February 2 and 19, 2015. The wave 2 consumer survey was conducted online between April 12 to May 2, 2016. The wave 1 registrant survey was conducted between 19 February and 15 May 2015. This set of respondents was identified using a sample of WHOIS records. Due to respondents' low response rates to the queries sent via WHOIS contact information, ICANN asked Nielsen to utilize consumer panels and sample partners to identify domain name registrants to ensure a statistically significant sample was interviewed for the survey. Nielsen's resources were used to collect responses between 5 and 13 August 2015. The wave 2 registrant survey was conducted between June 20 to July 11, 2016.
  5. What was the format of the survey?
    1. The consumer survey was a 33-minute online survey composed of a maximum of 78 questions, including screening and demographics. The registrant survey was a 36-minute online survey composed of a maximum of 88 questions.
  6. Did survey takers know this was an ICANN-sponsored survey?
    1. No. This survey was a blinded survey, where the sponsor's identity is not known to the survey respondents. It is considered a best practice in the survey industry to withhold information from respondents that could potentially introduce bias or otherwise skew the results.
  7. How were terms defined?
    1. Most survey questions used plain language and left it up to respondents to discern the meaning of terms. For example, questions related to purchase restrictions left it to the respondent to interpret what such restrictions might encompass. ICANN was included as a response to some questions, without further context. In other cases, definitions were provided where factual information could help respondents appropriately respond to the question:
      1. TLDs: "As you are probably aware, website domain names can have different suffixes or extensions. For example, some domain names end with .COM, while other common extensions are .ORG or .NET." Respondents were then given regionally relevant examples of websites. For example, respondents in China were shown "" and told that "Google" represents the second level and ".CN" the TLD.
      2. New gTLDs: "As you may or may not know, new domain name extensions are becoming available all the time. These new extensions are called new gTLDs."
      3. URL shorteners: "URL shortening is an Internet technique in which a URL may be made substantially shorter in length and still direct to the required page."
      4. QR codes: "A QR code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a camera). Reading the QR code with your Smartphone takes you to a website or ad for more information."
      5. A series of questions about abusive behavior queried respondents on various behaviors:
        1. Phishing: "The attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in electronic communication"
        2. Spamming: "The use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited messages"
        3. Cyber squatting: "Registering or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else."
        4. Stolen credentials: "When hackers steal personal information stored online such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, credit cards numbers, etc."
        5. Malware: "Short for 'malicious software,' used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information or gain access to private computer systems."
  8. How were new gTLDs picked for inclusion as responses to survey questions?
    1. In collaboration, Nielsen and ICANN identified those new gTLDs with the greatest number of registrations at the time of survey design in January 2015. In addition, a regionally relevant new gTLD was presented to respondents in appropriate countries/regions. The master list included the following new gTLDs: .EMAIL, .PHOTOGRAPHY, .LINK, .GURU, .REALTOR, .CLUB, .XYZ, .TOP, .PICS, .ONLINE, .SPACE, .WEBSITE, .NEWS, .SITE. The list was rotated when presented as to avoid order bias in the results.
  9. Can I see all the survey questions?
    1. Yes, the complete wave 1 consumer survey is available as an appendix to the final report [PDF, 2.48 MB]. The complete wave 1 registrant survey is available as an appendix to that final report [PDF, 2.53 MB]. The complete wave 2 consumer survey is available as an appendix to that final report, as with the wave 2 registrant survey in its final report.
  10. Can I see the data?
    1. Yes, complete data tables for the wave 1 consumer survey are available here by region [PDF, 5.03 MB] and country [PDF, 4.78 MB]. For the wave 1 registrant survey, data tables are also broken down by region [PDF, 3.83 MB] and country [PDF, 3.54 MB]. A user guide [PDF, 572 KB] is also available to help interpret the data.

      For the wave 2 data tables, the consumer survey data tables are available by region and country in two tables: Country Table 1 and Country Table 2, as well as a data table on teen respondents.

      The wave 2 registrant data tables are available in multiple pieces: