About Benjamin Blachère

French Online Marketer previously based in Sydney. Launched a Web Marketing Agency in Paris, SLAP digital where we help our clients to increase their traffic, the size of their membership databases as well as their revenues. Passionate about web marketing, I have previously launched my own website, a community for people in Long Distance Relationships.

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    Domain Registrars across the world

    Domain names are the very first step of any internet activity but we tend to forget about them, and most users would have no idea that there is a massive industry dealing with them.

    First a bit of history, Wikipedia tells us that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit corporation was created on September 18, 1998, to be able to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the U.S. government by other organizations, notably the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).ICANN is responsible for managing the assignment of domain names and IP addresses.

    ICANN is still very much a US backed organisation, but it signed last year an Affirmation of commitments document with the US government making it a more International organisation, as it should be.

    Until 1999, Network Solutions (NSI) operated the com, net, and org registries. It was the domain name registry operator for these domains as well as the sole registrar.  However, several companies had developed independent registrar services. One such company, NetNames, invented the idea of a commercial standalone domain name registration service in 1996. Thus, registrars introduced the concept of domain name sales and other associated services, effectively introducing the retail model into the industry and assigning a wholesale role to the registries.

    There are currently 961 official ICANN domain registrars, so I thought that I would have a look at who and where are the top domain name registrars.

    I went through data provided by Webhosting.info a research and statistics portal primarily dedicated towards the web services industry. It’s purpose is to continuously release data presenting micro and macro statistics about the Web Services industry — Hosting Companies, Registries, Domain Registrars, Data centers etc across the world. It also provides statistical trends and patterns across Countries, IP Addresses, Domain Names, Web Servers, Operating Systems and other variables directly or indirectly related to the Web Services Industry.

    I also used some stats from Internet World Stats dating from June 30, 2010, and combined these 2 sets of data to analyse the geographical distribution of registrars. Click here to download the spreadsheet I created.

    Please keep in mind that users from any country can use registrars in other countries, and that the location of the registrar does not reflect in any way what type of top level domains they are selling (.com, .com.au, .de, etc).

    Top Domain Registrars

    Top 10 Domain Registrars Worldwide

    Top 15 Domain Registrars Worldwide

    Top Countries by numbers of domain names registered by its Domain Registrars

    1. United States    72,599,584    (64.0% of all domains registered worldwide)
    2. Germany    9,506,687    (8.4%)
    3. Canada    9,480,178    (8.4%)
    4. Australia    5,771,518   (5.1%)
    5. China    3,862,697    (3.4%)
    6. India    2,700,399    (2.4%)
    7. France    2,094,609    (1.8%)
    8. Japan    1,141,274    (1.0%)
    9. Korea    763,917    (0.7%)
    10. Spain    713,965    (0.6%)

    Some Interesting insights:

    • There are over 110 million domain names registered.
    • 72 of the top 200 domain registrars are based in the US. Which is most likely the case for historical reasons.
    • Each of the 72 US registrar that are part of the top 200 registrars worldwide have registered over 1million domains on average. This is heavily skewed by Go Daddy.
    • Almost half of all domains registered from US registrars were done on Go Daddy, which by itself controls over 30% of the global market.
    • Canada the country with the 20th largest number of internet users has the second largest number of Domain Registrars (behind the US) and the 3rd largest number of domain names registered by these registrars.
    • Australian users represent only 0.87% (26th rank) of the worldwide internet population but its registrars have registered over 5% of all domain names worldwide. This is due to a strong and very active registrar: Melbourne IT.
    • Germany is the sixth largest country in terms of user, but 3rd in terms of top 200 registrars and second in terms of number of domains registered.
    • Chinese users represent over 20% of total internet users but Chinese registrars have registered less than 4% of all domain names. Similar to Brazil, with the 5th largest internet population but only 14th in terms of number of domains registered.
    • The Philippines has 10 registrars in the top 200 but only registered less than 0.7% of worldwide domain names.
      Similar to Israel with 8 registrars and only 679,989 registered (0.6% of all domains registered worldwide).
    • This is contrary to markets where a few registrars register a large number of domain names each such as the US, Denmark, India, Germany, Australia, Canada.
    • Some key countries in terms of Internet Population have no ICANN certified Registrars in the top 200 of webhosting.info ranking, such as Nigeria, Iran, Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Egypt, Taiwan and Morocco.
    • Tax heavens Gibralter and Monaco have a total internet population of about 40,000 but have registered about 400,000 domain names.
    Number of Domain Names Registered
    Country Domains registered % Rank
    United States 72,599,584 64.0% 1
    Germany 9,506,687 8.4% 2
    Canada 9,480,178 8.4% 3
    Australia 5,771,518 5.1% 4
    China 3,862,697 3.4% 5
    India 2,700,399 2.4% 6
    France 2,094,609 1.8% 7
    Japan 1,141,274 1.0% 8
    Korea 763,917 0.7% 9
    Spain 713,965 0.6% 10

    Have a business model before launching a website

    So many time I have come across new websites that look great or have some great features but have no clear strategy as to how to generate revenues.

    Up to a year ago those websites were counting on advertising revenues to survive. However considering how dramatically the CPM rates have lowered in the past 12 months, you either need to have massive volumes of traffic or reach a sought after niche audience to generate any decent revenues. Google adsense and other text based ads still drive revenues, but again you either need one very large or a large number of well optimised websites to see some serious $ coming in.

    Not everyone has the luxury to be Google, which came up with a great technology and finally found (stole?) a great idea to monetise their tool.

    That is why I especially like some websites that provide a real service and manage to have more than one serious revenue genration strategy. One I would like to mention is Betterdeal.com.au.

    This website is not the first of its kind, but it is clean and successful. Its aim is to help car buyers source the best deal possible.

    As a car buyer you need to pay a minimal fee to be able to post what type of car you are looking for. This request is then sent to the database of car dealers (who also pay for this service) for them to make their best offer to you.

    Everyone is winning: the buyer has made a great deal, the car dealer is reaching further than its local customers, and finally Betterdeal.com.au as it generated revenues twice.

    To me this is the ideal set up for revenue generation. However the trick is how to successfully kick off such a website. Because to get the buyers you need to car dealers, and to get car dealers to commit you need some buyers. I assume they gave some free trials to some car dealers based on some of the initial buying requests that came through.

    And, the icing on the cake, is that they could even get some advertising $ from car companies keen to change the buyer’s mind at the last minute.


    Smiths “Do us a flavour!” a history of missed opportunities

    Smiths, which is part of Pepsico has launched a few months ago the “Do us a flavour!” competition – a straight replica of what it’s sister company Walker did in the UK.

    I am not sure what their total budget was but it must have been pretty massive considering the amount of TV ads there has been as well as the appointment of celebrity chef Matt Moran as one of the judges.

    The campaign definitely succeeded in raising awareness about the competition and therefore the brand.

    The offer was extremely appealing:

    * The ability to see your product idea actually produced and sold in store (recognition)
    * $10,000 for the top 4 entries
    * $30,000 prize for the winner and a guaranteed one percent of all future sales of the flavour.

    Thanks to the heavy promotion and a user friendly website over Smiths claims to have received over 315,000 entries (not sure how many of these are unique entrants).

    What I mean by missed opportunities is that Smith’s failed to capitalise on the amount of traffic they received and the database of people with a genuine interest for their product they built.

    I actually entered a few ideas, and I did not receive any follow up emails ‘thank you for entering’ after posting my entries – I have litterally not heard of Smiths until a couple of months later to ask me to vote for 4 other ideas!

    This shows a clear lack of appreciation for the time that all entrants spent thinking about the idea, the visual and going through the process of entering it…

    Also I feel that Smith’s missed a great opportunity to get users to do their marketing for free. It seems crazy that they didn’t include a rating mechanism for users to vote on the flavour of their choice. They didn’t necessarily need to select the most voted idea as the winner but could have included it as part of the top 4 ideas. By doing this and providing them a URL to drive their friends to vote for their flavour they would not only have multiplied the traffic but also the number entries and the brand awareness.

    Here is what I would have recommended to Smith’s if asked:
    - Send a thank you for entering message for all entries (limited to 1 per day) and providing them the URL of their entry and some ‘send a friend’ and ‘share’ options. As everyone knows open rates on communications following an interaction from a user are much higher then when sending a standard ‘push’ email a few months later.
    - In this message I would have promoted a special offer / coupon only available to entrants to reward them for their input.
    - A couple of weeks later I would send them a follow up email letting them know that the entries were still being reviewed and that the 4 winners will be announced on X date (to create a bit of buzz) and would have asked them in the meantime to answer a few survey questions about the current products (potentially with a minor incentive).
    - Once the 4 finalists have been selected I would have push the competition between the supporters of each flavour and maybe created a Facebook Fan Page for each.

    And the ideal would be if they were sending a coupon for a free pack of the winning flavour to all entrants!

    Anyway, I will still taste the winner’s, I hope it’ll be good.


    Trends since 2001 in the Australian Online Landscape

    A couple of months ago I came across this great website on Mumbrella. It is using data collected by Nielsen about Australian websites since 2001 and plotting it based on variables (page views, unique visitors, time on site) and categories (commercial, government, IT, media, search, social) that you can select.

    This is a great way to visualise the evolution of the Australian Internet Landscape with the rises and falls that come with any evolution. It is indeed fascinating to see the growth of the likes of Facebook, Youtube and Google…

    Some interesting facts:

    • CareerOne seems to have slightly more UVs than Seek but 6 times less Page Views in 2008 (probably thanks to their massive advertising camapaign – but then struggled to keep their visitors on site).
    • Ebay’s traffic decline seems to be confirmed in 2008 however Amazon is not climbing the charts either.
    • Optusnet was leader of the IT category in front of Microsoft and Telstra up to Q4 in 2006 but then suddenly dropped off the charts in 2007 – it probably was replace by optuszoo by then, but it doesn’t come up afterwards.
    • The SMH.com.au and News.com.au had a bit of a fight between 2001 and 2003 which seems to have been won by News since then.

    These are just a few quick points but do have a look at it and draw your own analysis.


    15 minutes of fame

    I had the chance today to have a small piece published in Adnews.
    I was reviewing a successful online campaign for Cuddly by TheVproject.


    The power of crowdsourcing

    Here is a term that has become popular with business authors and journalists.

    It stands for shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals. (wikipedia)

    There are many applications to this term, mostly with people combining either their revenues or their knowledge.

    A website I really like is a french website with an English name Wehaveadream.

    The concept of this website is that anything is possible. As a member you can post a project and if enough people are convinced by your idea and willing to invest money to back it up, it becomes real!

    The website was launched in March 2008 and since then its highest achievement is the production of famous comic book into a movie – in 11 weeks almost 2 million people went to see it!

    Current projects are the creation of horse team and of a second football (soccer) club is in Paris.

    This website now puts a price on your dreams!

    Let me know if anything else similar to this website exists.


    Twitter Backgrounds

    If you have been using Twitter, and tried to personalise your own page you will know that it can easily become frustrating…

    You basically have 2 options, either hire a web designer to create an image that will perfectly fit in the background (and which won’t cut off any text or logo) or use one of the standard ‘unique’ backgrounds on offer at one of the dozens of Free Twitter backgrounds websites and hope for the best.

    There is however a solution: Freetwitterdesigner.com – it allows you to create in a minute a professional looking background for Free – thanks!


    Bing VS Google

    Much has been said about the new Microsoft search engine: is it any good? too spammy? Can it defeat Google or at least help Microsoft grabbing some Market shares?

    I don’t have these answers (even though I still stick by Google) but came across this really cool website which allows you to search both search engines in parallel and compare the results: Bing VS Google.

    Have a look at it


    How to surf anonymously online

    You might have a few different reasons to want to surf online anonymously (ie. hiding you IP address)… mine is usually that I want to check some Google rankings from an american perspective instead of google.com.au

    Anyway a website that has helped me more than once is hidemyass

    Unfortunately it does not work for everything (eg. Access Hullu or Pandora)

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