Top-of-mind websites in New Zealand

New Zealand website awareness

In response to the question "Please type up to 5 domain names that you have seen or heard of recently." Source: Colmar Brunton. Base: Weighted results representative of New Zealand's online population (n=1014)

Ask a New Zealander to name a website domain name, and here’s what you get.

Trademe.co.nz, the country’s most-visited website, is the domain most often mentioned by Kiwis, followed by facebook.com, google.com, stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz.

The information comes from the Colmar Brunton survey Internet Domain Names in New Zealand, commissioned by the New Zealand Domain Name Commission.

As such, it isn’t a fully random sample. Instead, the researchers chose half their respondents (n=508) to be people who own or manage a domain name, and the other half (n=506) to be those who do not own or manage a domain name.

Although the researchers do not comment on it in their summary, I’m guessing this over-represents domain owners/managers when compared with the population.

Nevertheless, the research does break out results for the two groups.

In the case of the chart above, the top 5 sites remain the same when only domain owners/managers are responding. For the non owner/managers, nzherald.co.nz drops to number six, being edged out by hotmail.com.

Among the other findings:

  • 15% of respondents didn’t know what a domain name was.
  • Most respondents felt there were already enough top-level domains available.
  • Two thirds of respondents would prefer to have a .nz domain for their website. (Or does this mean they would prefer to visit a site with a .nz domain? The wording of the research summary is ambiguous, so I am inferring a bit here.)
  • Domain owners/managers have higher acceptance of .com domains, but still prefer .nz
  • Slightly more than half of respondents liked the idea of having domains with no second level, as in mydomainname.nz. This is the system used in Canada and I suppose it might reduce confusion between .co.nz, .org.nz, .net.nz, etc. But I’d hate to contemplate another rush to stake out the new streamlined domains. Don’t we give the domain registrars enough money already?




Perils of context-based advertising

I’ll never forget the day several years ago when Google AdSense first appeared on nzherald.co.nz.

One of our news stories that day was about a near-fatal shark attack in Australia. As soon as we switched on AdSense, pages carrying the shark attack story sprouted ads for cage-diving operators offering “swim with the sharks” experiences. If memory serves, we asked Google to bar those ads for a few days, and hoped we hadn’t offended too many readers.

You’ve probably seen or heard about other examples of bizarre and inappropriate context-based advertising.

One recent case involves the British website GoneTooSoon.co.uk, where people post condolence messages. Everything was going fine, until the webmaster decided he needed to earn some money and installed AdSense.

The tribute page for someone killed in a motorcycle accident began carrying ads for motorcycles. Even more offensive was an ad spotted by a user of the site, who wrote:

“Can you really trust a site which posts an advert of [the murderer] Ian Huntley’s biography – not only on my beautiful friend Ian’s site, but on a website that also has a memorial for [Huntley’s victims] Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman?”

Outraged, visitors to the site began removing their tributes and vowing never to return.

Following the uproar, the ads were removed. The site is soliciting donations to keep it free to access.

Confirmed: Google buys Feedburner

Feedburner confirmed today that has been acquired by Google.

In an announcement posted on the Feedburner site, the company recounts the benefits of the deal, then takes a look ahead:

…there is an immense amount of work to do in order to a) continue to provide our customers with the best feed analytics, b) begin to provide a more comprehensive 360-degree view of audience and reach, and c) enable publishers to most efficiently determine the best ways to distribute and monetize their content.

Massive staff cuts at web publisher Geosign

As many as 100 of the 215 employees at Guelph, Ontario-based niche web publisher Geosign have lost their jobs.

The story seems to be that the company, which less than two months ago captured $160 million in private funding, was caught in Google’s crackdown on AdWords arbitrage.

[Click that link above for a video explanation of AdWords arbitrage, using some Geosign sites as examples.]

Geosign runs 180 consumer-targeted sites, including gizmocafe.com, hockey.com and thewheelchairsite.com.

Geosign isn’t saying much, and has posted no information about the layoffs on its website. Nor can I find anything about this on the Globe & Mail or Toronto Star sites, even though the layoff notices apparently went out four days ago.

But comments posted online by people identifying themselves as workers laid off by Geosign suggest the layoffs affect anywhere from 38 to 100 staff.

More from Dave Forde at Profectio and at threadwatch.org.

Star mashes map for Doors Open event

Doors Open Toronto map at thestar.com

Congratulations to thestar.com for publishing a Google map [rendered at reduced size above] showing the 150 sites for this weekend’s Doors Open Toronto.

It’s a perfect complement to the official Doors Open site, which has lots of data about the buildings that will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, but really lousy maps [each map shows only one venue, and the quality is poor – why they didn’t use Google, I can’t imagine].

The Star is one of the media sponsors of Doors Open.

– via blogTO