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Online Reviews Provide Insights into gTLD Customers’ Needs

There is a high degree of uncertainty when launching a product, and new gTLDs are no exception. However, registries that have introduced them—or will introduce them in the second round of new gTLDs—can improve their odds. A key move: go to established domain name forums and check out their specialized sections for new gTLDs. What users say there can help companies refine tactics and strategy.

In a recent study, Simon Li, Kamrun Nahar, and Benjamin C.M. Fung of Concordia University suggest that analyzing online reviews is a valuable tool to better gauge and understand the best positioning of the gTLDs and the necessary refinements that customers need once a novel product has been launched. Unlike traditional consumer surveys or registration/sales numbers, online reviews provide immediate information on valuable opinions of early adopters and highly motivated users.

The study analyzed online reviews posted on popular sites such as Amazon and CNET between April 2010 and May 2011, a year after the rollout of the Apple iPad tablet, and about the time that competitors (Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba) started offering their own versions of the tablet. The competitors needed insight into consumers’ needs for various hardware and functionality features.

The authors applied data mining techniques to online reviews to extract keywords and patterns that revealed customers’ critical or favorable comments for 27 different tablet attributes. For domain names attributes, reviews should be segmented by the desired role and the availability of the domain name. Insight can be gained into the customers’ choices, as the selection decision is not a simple choice of .com or an appropriate gTLD.

Do not confuse analyzing online reviews with following product mentions on social media (Facebook and Twitter). That sort of feedback is more hindrance than help, as studies have shown. Online reviews are different. They represent the opinions of people who have actually used the new device and experienced its ups and downs and/or have questions about desirable features. They aren’t mouthing speculation about potential features and customers’ adoption rates.

It is no easy task to develop data mining techniques for nonstandard forum formats. However, building such a competency for gTLDs will provide a competitive advantage that may lead to concentration of gTLDs’ registry ownerships and/or the emergence of new consulting businesses providing such services.

By Alex Tajirian, CEO at DomainMart

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Online Reviews -- Big Data Mining or Targeted Data Collection? Norbert Mayer-Wittmann  –  Sep 1, 2015 10:55 AM

Hi Alex—great points!

I think this post I wrote recently might also interest you—see: new gTLD possibilities

I have long since been interested in such scientific approaches to strategy and decision-making.

I wonder if it might actually be easier to *build* such online review sites and collect the data directly rather than to sweep across the entire web in the hope of stumbling upon usable results. My gut feeling is that the risk of GIGO (“garbage in, garbage out”) is quite high when going on such a wild goose chase.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that “It is no easy task to develop data mining techniques for nonstandard forum formats.” Personally, this would lead me to lean more in the direction of preferring “make” to “buy”... even if it seems like the price of the alternative is “free” (or “too cheap to meter”), my scientific predisposition to skepticism has me thinking “there’s no such thing as free data”.

Thanks Norbert for your comments.It is not Alex Tajirian  –  Sep 1, 2015 4:21 PM

Thanks Norbert for your comments.

It is not a question of whether to build custom review sites; that’s the easy part. The issue is the need for wide adoption to make it a standard or, at least, a dominant design.
You are correct that it is not necessarily optimal to build, rather than to buy. IBM’s success is built on an open-source strategy with customization and providing consulting services. So, I don’t believe my analysis precludes using open source analytical tools or third-party proprietary software, if you can limit viable entrants, i.e., the buy option must be hard to duplicate.

You are also correct about no free data; someone is paying for it. One or more sides of a market is paying for it, whereby, for example, in the case of Google, it is advertisers.

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