Websites are the favourite channel for communication among Norwegian companies. In addition, social networks are popular channels. However, people's trust in the various channels varies widely. Therefore, it is important for businesses to be conscious when choosing which channels to use.

The Internet is our primary arena for communication and branding, as well as a rapidly expanding marketplace for buying and selling goods and services. Online retailers in Norway had a total turnover exceeding NOK 35 billion in 2020, an increase of as much as 38 percent compared to 2019 1. The same figures for 2021 are not available at the time of writing this, but surveys of the population's use of the internet show that the share of online shoppers are greater than ever 2. The Internet is also the primary channel of communication between public agencies and the nation’s inhabitants and businesses, e.g. for tax returns, employer's National Insurance contributions, and access to public services.

This development means that anyone offering anything, be it goods, services or information, must be online. There are many ways to establish an online presence, from services on your own domain name to a multitude of social media. However, there is great variation when it comes to people's trust in the various channels. Therefore, it is important for businesses to be conscious when deciding  which channels to be present in, and how they use the channels.

The use of websites increases

For Norwegian businesses, their own website is the most frequently used channel for one-to-many communication, and the use has increased over the last years 3. In a survey from 2021 that Ipsos has carried out on behalf of Norid, as many as 74 percent of the companies answer that they use their own website to some extent or more. The survey shows a significant increase in companies that say that they use their own website to a very large extent, from 28 percent in 2017 to 39 percent in 2021 4.

The use of websites increases among Norwegian businesses

Question in the survey:
"To what degree does your business use different channels of communication? To what extent would you say you use the business website?"

A business may choose to register its own domain name and create a website using that domain. Most Norwegian businesses (85 percent) have registered at least one domain name 5. With its own domain name, the business itself – the domain holder – is free to set the rules for the content and decide what the domain name is to be used for. As many as 81 percent of Norwegian businesses state that their domain name is important for promoting their company or the services they offer 6.

Domain names and top-level domains

All devices connected to the Internet have their own unique IP address, which consist of a long sequence of numbers. The Domain Name System links IP addresses to unique domain names.

Examples of domain names many use daily: and

The last part of the domain name – its “last name” – is the top-level domain the domain name is registered under. There are two different types of top-level domains: country code top-level domains (such as .no or .se) and generic top-level domains (such as .com, .org or .shop).

Solid trust in the Norwegian top-level domain

Technically speaking, all domain names work the same way, regardless of which top-level domain they are registered under. That means that the choice of top-level domain is primarily a question of which identity a company wants to be associated with, and which "neighbourhood" they become part of – that is, which other domain names are under the top-level domain, and how they are being used. There is a clear consensus in Norway that domain names under .no is the most recognizable in the Norwegian market, and it has a definite identity as a quality domain 7. This, in turn, add value to all Norwegian domain names, something which is reflected in how people prefer to shop from a Norwegian domain name if all other factors are equal 8.

Prefer to buy from online stores with Norwegian domain names

Question in the survey:
"If you were to buy something online, which of these websites would you prefer to shop from?"

One of the factors influencing the type of neighbourhood a top-level domain fosters, is the requirements imposed on those wanting to register domain names. Anyone who wants to register a Norwegian domain name must identify themselves, by providing either an organization number registered in the Register of Business Enterprises, or a national identity number registered in the National Population Register. This requirement means that there is a real person or business behind every Norwegian domain name.

There is solid support among Norwegian companies and in the general population for these requirements. The support has increased and as of 2021, 82 percent of the companies completely agree with the requirement for identification 9.

It is right that those who have a Norwegian domain name must identify themselves

Question in the survey:
How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement about the allocation of Norwegian domain names?

In Norway we have also decided to put a cap on the number of domain names each domain holder can register. The idea behind this requirement is to make sure there are good names available for future domain holders, too, but it also serves as an obstacle for those who want to register a large number of disposable domains to spread spam or malware. Of course, these requirements don’t necessarily mean you can trust everything that comes from a Norwegian domain name, but they contribute to making .no a good neighbourhood.

Increased digitalisation of the society brings with it new threats. When more people than usual choose to shop online, the risk of being swindled by fake online stores also increases, and the fraudulent methods in which someone pretends to be a public authority, your bank or Posten Norge, become increasingly sophisticated. At the same time, a survey from the Norwegian Centre for Information Security shows signs of increasing awareness of digital security in the population. Among other things, slightly more Norwegians than before state that they check that a website or e-mail is safe before they use it 10.

Norid runs a lookup service where members of the public can enter a domain name and receive information about the registration, the domain name holder and contact details for the domain. The lookup service strengthens trust in Norwegian domain names as it makes it possible to check who is responsible for the domain name. If it is registered by a business, you will find the business name and organization number. If the domain name is registered by a private individual, the information is protected for privacy reasons, but it is still possible to contact the subscriber.

From theory to practice

The Consumer Authority provides guidelines on how to recognize false online shops (Norwegian only)

You can find out who the holder of a Norwegian domain name is with our lookup service

Although users can take precautions, it is an important principle that the subscriber is responsible for what a domain name is used for 11. Norid does not control the content of websites and does not have the mandate to react to content or other uses that may appear to violate the law. If a domain name is used for illegal activity, it is basically up to the police, the prosecution and any other authorities to pursue this 12. However, the requirement that subscribers must be found in the Register of Legal Entities or the National Register if they are to have a Norwegian domain name makes it easier for the authorities to direct the measures towards the person responsible. It is possible for a subscriber to let others use their domain name. Still, the subscriber is held criminally liable for the use 13.

Social media has a low score on trust

From being a marginal phenomenon, social media has in a short period of time developed into a strong competitor to the established media, and a lot of people use these channels on a daily basis. Second to business’ own website, Facebook is the most popular channel of communication for Norwegian businesses.

Important communication channels for Norwegian businesses

Question in the survey:
"To what degree does your business use different channels of communication? Would you say you use the following channels...?"

The enormous presence, however, is in stark contrast to the level of trust people have in these channels as a source of information. As many as one out of three indicate that they have low or very low trust in Facebook, whereas around one out of four say the same about Snapchat and Instagram 14.

The trust is even lower when it comes to social media’s handling of personal data. It is common knowledge that information about everything we do online, and especially how we use social media, is collected in a large scale to provide us with customized content and advertising. If a company creates a page on one of the social media platforms, it will usually involve a fairly comprehensive handling of personal data. In the Data Inspectorate's latest population survey, only ten per cent answer that they have trust in how social media stores and uses personal information, a significantly reduction from previous years 15.

The trust in social networking sites has fallen by five percentage points since 2014. The low level of trust probably has several reasons. First and foremost, in recent years we have seen that large, American technology companies have been confronted by, among others, politicians, the press and interest groups to a much greater extent than before. More and more people are realizing the enormous power a couple of Silicon Valley companies possess, a power they have gained by gathering as much information as possible about as many people as possible and selling advertising space based on this information.

The Privacy Survey 2019/2020

At the end of 2021, this question became even more relevant, after the Norwegian Data Protection Authority carried out a risk assessment of the privacy consequences associated with creating a Facebook page. They concluded that it entails too high a risk for the rights and freedom of those who visit the site without the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, as owner of the site, being able to implement sufficient measures to reduce the risk 16.

The Norwegian Data Protection Authority’s decision is only made on its own behalf, and does not mean that it is forbidden for other companies to use Facebook. However, it is a reminder that companies must assess the risk in the light of the common European privacy law (GDPR). 21 Norwegian public agencies are in the process of making such an assessment 17 and The Norwegian Board of Technology has removed its Facebook page 18. The issue is of course just as relevant for private companies. Norid has also made such an assessment and concluded that the benefit of being on Facebook does not outweigh the risk for us and our visitors. We have therefore removed our page.

It will be interesting to see if these privacy challenges will have any consequences for how Facebook and other social media providers choose to offer their services to European companies and users in the future.

Read more in our guide «Online precense - where and how?»


  • 1. Statistics Norway. «Wholesale and retail sale statistics» (Figures from 12 October 2021)
  • 2. Statistics Norway. «Netthandelen høyere enn noen gang» (Norwegian only) ( Figures from 20 September 2021)
  • 3. Norid. (Figures from August 2021)
    Survey on the use of domain names in Norway performed by Ipsos on behalf of Norid
  • 4. Norid. (Figures from August 2021)
    Survey on the use of domain names in Norway performed by Ipsos on behalf of Norid
  • 5. Norid. (Figures from August 2021)
    Survey on the use of domain names in Norway performed by Ipsos on behalf of Norid
  • 6. Norid. (Figures from August 2021)
    Survey on the use of domain names in Norway performed by Ipsos on behalf of Norid
  • 7. Norid. (Figures from August 2021)
    Survey on the use of domain names in Norway performed by Ipsos on behalf of Norid
  • 8. Norid. (Figures from August 2021)
    Survey on the use of domain names in Norway performed by Ipsos on behalf of Norid
  • 9. Norid. (Figures from August 2021)
    Survey on the use of domain names in Norway performed by Ipsos on behalf of Norid
  • 10. The Norwegian Center for Information Security. «Nordmenn og digital sikkerhetskultur 2021» (Norwegian only) (Figures from 13 December 2021)
  • 11. The principle of the subscriber's responsibility is laid down in Proposition 8 LS (2019–2020): Endringer i markedsføringsloven mv. side 100 (Norwegian only)
  • 12. Supreme Court decision that the right to use domain names can be seized: HR-2009-01692-U (Norwegian only)
  • 13. Judgment in the Supreme Court in case of HR-2019-1743-A (Norwegian only)
  • 14. BI Centre for Creative Industries (2018) «Digitalisering av lokal mediebruk» (Norwegian only)
  • 15. Norwegian Data Protection Authority. «Privacy survey 2019/2020» (Norwegian only) (Figures from 11 August 2020)
  • 16. Norwegian Data Protection Authority. (22 September 2021) «Norwegian Data Protection Authority choose not to use Facebook»
  • 17. NRK Beta. «21 offentlige etater risikovurderer sin Facebook-bruk» (Norwegian only) (Figures from 16 October 2021)
  • 18. The Norwegian Board of Technology (22 Septmeber 2021) «Teknologirådet sletter Facebook» (Norwegian only)


Published: 7 February 2022
Updated: 8 February 2022