2020 has been a year characterized by lockdown and uncertainty, but also by adaptation and innovation. We can truly say that society's digital foundation has been through a thorough stress test. It is clear to everyone how valuable it is to have an online presence, and the Internet stands out as a key arena for interaction and communication.  

Norway has long been at the forefront when it comes to offering digital services. When large parts of Norwegian working life were to be run from home, services and infrastructure were tested as never before. Fortunately, the National Communications Authority was able to conclude that the digital foundation passed the test – this time 1.

We must state that Norway has a digital foundation that has provided solid coverage and quality, also during the "express digitalization" we have experienced in 2020. Overnight, almost all social functions had to use digital platforms and video-based services as the only form of communication, all of it over the Internet. With this sharp increase in traffic and the changing user patterns we experienced both nationally and internationally, there is every reason to point out and recognize the resilience of the digital infrastructure, also on DNS and the Internet. Owners of infrastructure and other market players have been both prepared and have showed adaptability. Thus, there was no sign of crisis in the electronic communication sector in 2020. However, awareness and focus on the criticality of robust and secure electronic communication has increased throughout society, and we will use this to continue the work to preserve and build trust in the digital services that we all are dependent on.

Elise Knutssøn Lindeberg, Security Director, Norwegian Communications Authority

For Norid, which operates important national Internet infrastructure, the focus in the first months was to maintain stable operations. And we were not alone. Internet services are the result of a complex interaction between many actors and systems in a digital value chain, and the interaction is completely dependent on all parts of the infrastructure working.  

Growth in Norwegian domain names 

The increased online activity this year has not only led to increased traffic. In the period March–August 2020, Norid saw a marked increase in the number of Norwegian domain names compared with 2019 and 2018. 63,000 new domain names were registered from March to August in 2020, which is the highest we have had in the corresponding period since 2012. 

The growth in new domain names has also resulted in an increase in the total number of domain names. As of 31 December, we listed a total of 805,539 Norwegian domain names, which means a net increase of approximately 23,000 domain names. In comparison, annual growth was around 17,000 in both 2018 and 2019 2. It is reasonable to believe that the sharp increase is related to the first closure of society and the need for restructuring that the pandemic triggered for both companies and employees. 

More important than ever to be present online

The close-down of society has undoubtedly led to more companies seeing the value of being present online. For example, the corona measures through 2020 have clearly affected Norwegians' patterns of action. Figures from Statistics Norway show a clear increase in e-commerce 3. Many companies have been able to maintain and further develop their operations thanks to the Internet, and the increased need for a digital presence may be the background for some of the growth we are seeing in new domain names. 

There are many ways to be present online, and the choice of channel and profile on the content affects the identity you create for you and your business. More on what you should think about when it comes to being present online

At the same time, the closure has had major negative impact for Norwegian business and industry. The announced wave of bankruptcies has so far been long overdue. Figures from the National Enterprise Register show that there have been significantly fewer bankruptcies in Norway in 2020 than in 2019 4. However, the bankruptcies had affected about 18,300 employees as of 8 December 2020, 2,300 more than at the same time in 2019. There were thus larger companies that went bankrupt in 2020 compared with 2019 5. In addition, the support schemes that were implemented towards the end of the year were less general and more restrictive than the first schemes introduced. According to Finansavisen 6, we may have to wait until the spring of 2021 before we see the real effect of the corona crisis on Norwegian business. 

The uncertainty about the future of companies and jobs means that laid-off employees have had to look for other opportunities, and some may have chosen to try to realize a start-up dream. Figures from Statistics Norway show that 17,746 new enterprises were registered in the third quarter of 2020. This is as much as 19 per cent more than in the second quarter, and 16 per cent more than in the third quarter of 2019 7

The road from idea to fully registered company may take some time, so for several of the new companies, the domain name may have been registered first and the entry in the Enterprise Register afterwards. This is confirmed by Ståle Schumacher at Domeneshop AS, which is one of the domain name providers we have an agreement with. Domeneshop generally experienced increased activity with domain registration in the period March–August 2020, and says they noticed a tendency for many private individuals to order domain names, often with a comment that they should transfer the domain name to a new company when they received the organization number from the Enterprise Register. – It is obvious that there are many business ideas that are at an early stage, and then you want to secure the domain name first and then arrange the rest of the formalities afterwards. The first thing you need when starting a new business in 2020 is, of course, a domain name and an email address, said Schumacher. 

If you have a business idea, it may be a good idea to start by securing the domain name. More about registration order to secure your own rights.

Everyday life online presents new challenges 

A new workday with the use of a home office makes it possible for many to maintain the business even if the employees cannot meet physically at the workplace. However, the use of a home office has some security challenges. Among other things, many ordinary home networks have weaker security than the company's own network. The National Security Authority was out early with recommendations that companies consider whether the new situation means that there is a need for changes in their own security routines 8

E-commerce is a widely used opportunity for scammers. When more people than usual choose to shop online, the risk of being scammed by fake online stores is more likely than ever. You should always be sceptical before shopping with unknown online stores, and you should be especially critical if you do not find any contact information for the company.

If you are unsure, our advice is to check who has registered the domain name. For Norwegian domain names, you can do this in our domain look-up service. Under the Norwegian top-level domain, everyone who wants to register a domain name must identify who they are by either an organization number in the Register of Legal Entities or a national identity number in the National Register. The requirement, which has solid support among Norwegian companies and the population in general 9, means that there is a real, responsible company or person behind all Norwegian domain names.     

We get together online 

Recommendations to keep social distance have put an end to many physical events. In several arenas, however, we see that people find online alternatives. Companies and organizations run a joint digital lunch, digital school became a regular routine for students all over the country within one week, and more and more artists and bands offer digital concerts. Norid has also had to find alternative ways of conducting seminars and events. An online conference entitled "Crisis opens up new opportunities" was originally planned as a physical event in November 2020, but has now been postponed until April 2021, and the conference will be held digitally regardless of how the pandemic develops in Norway in the coming months. A clear advantage of conducting an event digitally is that the threshold for participating will be lower, so we hope for the support of the times on Internet Forum 2021!  


Published: 13 January 2021
Updated: 14 January 2021