Results from National Zogby Poll: 78% of Small Businesses Say Less Reliable Internet Would Hurt Their Business

Washington – Small businesses are increasingly relying on the internet, which explains why 78 percent believe that a reliable and secure internet is worth a fee increase to invest in infrastructure, according to a new national poll conducted by Zogby Interactive and sponsored by the NetChoice Coalition.

The poll was conducted in preparation for a House Small Business Committee hearing today on “Contracting the Internet: Does ICANN create a barrier to small business?”   The hearing focuses on how small business is affected by a new contract between ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers) and VeriSign to maintain the infrastructure of the .com domain.

Seventy-eight percent of small businesses say a less reliable internet would damage their business.  NetChoice Executive Director, Steve DelBianco pointed out that “ small businesses that rely on domain names for communications and e-commerce are concerned about the reliability and availability of the Internet.”

Small business is also concerned about abusive practices such as cyber-squatting and “parking” websites.  “Profiting from the good name of another’s business is nothing short of dirty business,” said DelBianco.  More than half of those surveyed indicated that such abusive tactics are among the highest concerns to small business, because such schemes mislead consumers.

“This hearing underscores that even the smallest business wants an Internet that works, and a domain name system that protects their innovation and reputation,” said DelBianco. 

According to the survey of 1,200 small business owners conducted May 26-30, 2006:

  • 78 percent of small business owners believe a less reliable internet would damage their businesses
  • Dirty practices outweigh small business concerns over a fee increase for domain names:  59 percent are concerned about cyber-squatting on domain names, while 69 percent are concerned about being exploited over expired domain names.  By contrast, only 16% were concerned about increases in domain name fees.
  • 78 percent said higher reliability and performance were more important than low fees for domain names.
  • 68 percent said they would support a $1.86 fee increase to invest in reliability and security, with 81 percent saying they are unconcerned about the fee increase.

DelBianco’s testimony cited poll findings that show small business wants a secure and reliable internet – and they’re willing to pay for it.  “It’s clear: small business is not worried about this fee increase,” said DelBianco. 

ICANN’s new contract allows VeriSign to raise the annual fee for a domain name by up to $1.86 over the next six years.   In fact, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed would support a $1.86 annual fee increase to keep the internet operating at a high level of performance. 

84 percent said they are not concerned about the fee increase.  “Our poll results show small business is far more concerned about growing abuses of the domain name system,” said DelBianco.

“Today’s hearing asks if ICANN’s new registry contract presents barriers to small business, but this poll confirms that ICANN is focusing on the real concerns of small business: improving Internet security and stability, and preventing domain name abuses,” continued DelBianco.

For the complete Zogby Interactive poll and for further information about issues affecting small business, please visit\library\ZogbyPoll.pdf