Following the launch of thousands of new generic top level domains (gTLDs), brand protection company Netnames has uncovered a significant change in browsing habits.

In its Internet 2020 report, Netnames revealed that 80% of internet users think the new domain names, such as .london, .shop and .sport, will make it easier to type a company’s web address into a browser rather than use a search engine.

While alarm bells might not be echoing around the Googleplex just yet, the simplified gTLDs allow users to go with direct navigation more frequently and potentially become less reliant on a search engine.

Businesses reinforce viewpoint

Consumers are not alone in their praise of gTLDs. Almost half (42%) of the research’s corporate respondents felt that better search and recognition on the internet were advantageous in the new domains.

Backing up these assertions, the research also found that 59% of daily internet users believe the new URL suffixes will make it easier to locate sites, whereas a much higher 89% of businesses thought it would be easier for consumers to type domains.

Netname CEO Gary McIlraith warned against writing off search engines just yet, saying that they still had a part to play when consumers were unsure of their exact online destination.

“The internet is vast and we need search engines in order to find the content we are looking for. In some ways, that is even truer with so much new internet real estate being created by the new gTLDs.”

Community sites could see most success

Domain name endings relating to communities, for example .bank, .sport or .art, were the most likely to fuel a shift away from search engines, according to 44% of consumers who thought these might be more memorable.

McIlraith went on to call the gTLDs a “resetting of the internet” and suggested that brands pay particular attention when deciding which domain ending is right for their goals.

“Brands need to consider which of the new domain names will provide the most business value and be most relevant to their customer base in order to strengthen their internet presence and remain relevant in the changing nature of the internet,” he added.