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Half of UK and US consumers feel they have 'little to no opportunity' to collaborate with brands online, YouGov study shows

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

May 7, 2014 | 4 min read

Half of consumers in the US and the UK feel they have little to no opportunity to collaborate with their favourite brands online, according to a joint study between YouGov and the newly launched .wiki domain.

Roll-out: ICANN is releasing web domains

The study of 2,455 UK adults and 1,220 US adults also found that 48 per cent of UK consumers and 52 per cent of those surveyed in the US hold a better perception of brands that make online collaboration with them accessible. In addition, 15 per cent of UK consumers and 22 per cent of those in the UK expressed a desire to collaborate on the future technologies that their favourite brands offer.

John Lewis was voted by respondents as the most collaborative brand online, followed by Google, Apple and Marks & Spencer. The results of the study – conducted in April – come amid the roll-out of web domains by ICANN, such as the recently launched .London suffix.

Ray King, CEO at Top Level Design, the company that created .wiki, said: “Consumers and businesses alike have long recognised the power and potential that the internet has to improve the products and services businesses offer, creating a better two-way dialogue between customers and their favourite brands.

“In reality, this research shows that most consumers feel that the opportunity to collaborate with most companies they love still doesn’t yet exist.”

More than a quarter of consumers in the US and UK said they would contribute to a branded wiki page if they could make a difference to an organisation, brand, service or community they feel passionately about.

.Wiki domain names were restricted for availability until 5 May for trademark holders only, but will go on the market for the general public to register their own on 26 May.

The roll-out of new domain extensions from ICANN has led to a flurry of brands trying to secure their trademark names and associated terms ahead of their rivals, and the industry has speculated over how brands can use the change to develop the online relationship with consumers further.

According to Justin Cooke, CEO of digital agency Possible, marketers will be keeping a close eye on opportunities.

“We need time to observe the impact before we can start to make real recommendations on the value this will add to brands,” he told The Drum.

“Nonetheless, its launch is certainly turning heads, creating standout for those brands on a global stage – especially with London beating New York to the post – and is a development that marketers around the globe will be keeping a very observant eye on as we see its development roll out.”

By this year, ICANN is expected to have allocated 1,400 new domains – a significant addition to the 22 in use prior to opening up the roll-out. One senior ICANN official described it as “the biggest change to the internet since its inception”.

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