Media Sentiment Analysis for the Concept of .uk Domains

by Edwin on September 20, 2013

A media sentiment analysis was conducted on all media articles about Nominet’s .uk plans since their first consultation was announced in October 2012 (185 articles total).

Only 6% of all articles about .uk were broadly or strongly positive (if neutral articles are included). When the sample size is limited to articles that express a specific opinion about .uk, only 9.5% could find anything positive to say, while 42.5% were strongly opposed to the idea and 90.5% were opposed to .uk.

Nominet have been running a series of consultations, beginning in October 2012, aimed at the introduction of .uk domain names at the second level i.e. directly under .uk. This would mean that domain names such as example.uk would be available to register for the first time (unlike the current hierarchical system, where domains are registered under .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk etc.)

This concept, which Lesley Cowley (Nominet’s CEO) called “the biggest change to the .uk namespace since it began” in her blog post on the subject, has met with widespread criticism and relatively little positive feedback.

Since the beginning of the first consultation, I have collected all online media mentions on the subject, in blogs, magazines, newspapers and other outlets. I have ignored more casual venues for opinion such as discussion forums and social networks.

Of the 185 articles I have inventoried from a very wide range of global sources, the vast majority are against or strongly against the idea of .uk, and Nominet’s proposed implementation.

But “vast majority” is a vague statement, so I set out to analyse the tone of each individual article and compiled the data set out below.

NOTES
1. The original list of articles was “sentiment agnostic” i.e. it sufficed that it was on topic, regardless of its stance on the issue.
2. I visited each link and attributed a sentiment score (1 for strongly negative, 3 neutral, 5 for strongly positive) based on its position vis-a-vis .uk

Of the 185 articles examined,

  • 55 were strongly against .uk (sentiment level 1)
  • 49 were broadly against .uk (sentiment level 2)
  • 70 were neutral, or did not express an opinion/give editorial comment (sentiment level 3)
  • 5 were broadly for .uk (sentiment level 4)
  • 6 were strongly for .uk (sentiment level 5)

sentiment1

In other words, only 6% of all articles about .uk were broadly or strongly positive.

If we strip out the neutral views (many of which limited themselves to repeating facts from press releases and the consultation documents supplied by Nominet) to get a clearer picture of actual “sentiment” on the subject, then the situation looks like this:
sentiment2

In other words, only 9.5% of articles that expressed an opinion about .uk had anything positive to say.

By contrast, Nominet have maintained that they have “broad support” for the idea, but have not provided any evidence to substantiate that statement.

ORIGINAL SOURCES
The original data (including all article links) is available to download as an Excel spreadsheet. Please feel free to conduct your own analysis.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Smith September 25, 2013 at 4:03 am

Hi Edwin- very interesting. Do you have the (readily to hand) dates of the articles as I’m interested in V2 sentiment in particular?

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Edwin September 25, 2013 at 4:42 am

I’m afraid not. That would involve repeating the whole analysis again. However, you could compare each title against the one on the list at http://www.mydomainnames.co.uk/articles.html and that would give you the original date.

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Chris Smith September 26, 2013 at 4:43 am

OK thanks I’ll have a look

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