Norid AS

Abels gt. 5, Teknobyen

Phone +47 73 55 73 55

The Internet is our primary arena for communication and branding, as well as a rapidly expanding marketplace for buying and selling goods and services. This means that anyone offering anything needs to be conscious of how they build their online identity.

The Internet has completely changed society. It is an important source of news, information, and entertainment, and people use the Internet at work, at school and privately. Our online habits mean the Internet is a key platform for value-creation. 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 free services to a multitude of social media. In order to be perceived as professional – someone people can trust – it’s important to be conscious of how you choose to present yourself. Your choice of channel and the profile of your content will affect the identity you create for yourself and your business.

Usage of Internet offers and services an average day

Email and websites are key channels

For Norwegian businesses their own website is the most frequently chosen channel for one-to-many communication 1. In addition, email is among the most common forms of communication online; most of us send or receive email daily.

There are several different ways to access these two channels. Your business may choose to register its own domain name and create a website and email using that domain, such as and Or you can choose to use one of the many free email providers, such as or There are also providers who let you create a free website using their service, for example and

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).

The drawback of using free services is that your business will have an email address or a website that is linked to that specific service provider, such as and, and you have to comply with the provider’s terms of use. If the provider changes its terms of use or close the service, your business is forced to find a new address and inform all customers, suppliers and partners about the new contact information.

Nor is it the case that all addresses instill the same trust; customers and others have more faith in some than others. For example, businesses who rely on free email addresses is perceived as less professional than those whose email addresses are on their own domain name 2.

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. The domain holder is free to choose which provider to use for website, email and other services, and can take the domain name and its content to another provider if they want. Most Norwegian businesses have registered at least one domain name 3.

Different top-level domains have different identities

Norwegian domain names are domain names ending in .no, which is the Norwegian country code top-level domain. There are approximately 300 country code top-level domains and 1250 so-called generic top-level domains worldwide 4. Most are open to anyone who wants to register a domain name, so there are plenty of options.

Technically speaking, all domain names work the same way, regardless of which top-level domain they are registered under. Most top-level domains have chosen roughly the same level of pricing. For customers, that means that the choice of top-level domain primarily becomes one of identity; what do they want to be associated with? The identity of a top-level domain – its brand – gives value to any domain name registered under it.

One example of the importance of top-level domain identity is .com, which is the biggest top-level domain in the world. It is getting crowded, but its brand is so strong that many prefer a longer and more complicated .com domain name over a shorter name under a lesser known top-level domain.

Another top-level domain with a strong brand is .no. 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 Norwegian and as a quality domain. Of Norwegian businesses that have registered domain names, 86 percent have chosen to register one or more under .no. As important factors in choosing a .no domain name, they list .no being easy to find for customers, that .no indicates it’s a Norwegian business, and that .no gives a signal that they are professional 5.

The top-level domain .no is associated with quality

Question in the survey:
"How important are the following factors in your business’ choice to register one or more .no domains?"

The identity of a top-level domain is more than pure branding, however. It also reflects the “neighbourhood” its customers become a part of, i.e. which other domain names have been registered within the top-level domain, and what they are used for. A top-level domain where the majority of domain names are used as the domain holders’ primary home on the Internet, is more attractive to new customers than if the majority of domain names serve no other purpose than to redirect visitors to other top-level domains 6, or worse, are registered for activities such as spam, fraud, and malware.

Quality is influenced by requirements imposed

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. Top-level domains with few or no identification requirements, and which also offer free registration, tends to attract questionable activities 7.

The spammers know that the domain will likely get blacklisted but hope they will get a positive return on investment by delivering enough messages before blacklisting is enforced. The investment for a new domain registration is very low these days. The huge expansion in the Top Level Domain (TLD) namespace in the past few years followed by fierce price competition between registrars means that the first year’s registration for many TLDs costs less than one dollar. A one-year registration is much more than is needed for the spammer’s purposes. A few hours are plenty to make a profit on a 99 cent domain, and in some cases a few minutes may be enough.

Cloudmark, 2018

It’s no coincidence that top-level domains like .tk, for example, who has minimal requirements for its applicants and offers free domain names the first year, long has been regarded as such a top-level domain 8. At the other end of the scale we find the Norwegian top-level domain, where anyone who wants to register a 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, which also has solid support among Norwegian companies and in the general population 9, means that there is a real person or business behind every Norwegian domain name.

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. 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 10.

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?"

A domain name is the business’ own little corner on the Internet, and so becomes a central part of the digital identity of the business. Knowing that, it’s important to choose a top-level domain that you believe reflects the identity you want to create for the business. Nobody wants to set up the company’s new site under a top-level domain with a reputation for spam and malware. This is no different online than in other contexts; customers normally look into the reputation of those providing critical services.

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. 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 11.

Social media use in Norway

Share of Norwegian population over the age of 18 with a profile on various social media services.

Social media invites interaction and participation to a much greater degreethan conventional websites do. The threshold for two-way communication is low, and it is easy for users to establish a basic relationship as a “follower” etc. of businesses or events they are interested in. Because the benefit of a social network is entirely dependent on the number of users, most social media have chosen a business model that focuses on growth. Having a user profile is free, the service is financed by running ads in various forms.

Seeing as the different social media attract different user groups, you can reach specific groups by strategically choosing where and how to communicate. This makes it possible to reach those you believe are the most interested in your message. In addition, some social media also offer the opportunity to segment users by behaviours and characteristics, making it possible to home in on the desired target audience based on the purpose of your message.

One drawback to using social media is that you are using a channel where the provider sets the terms of use. The provider will likely have some restrictions on the type of content one is allowed to post, for example, and these do not necessarily comply with Norwegian law or Norwegian expectations.  The provider can remove content that violates their guidelines, and for a user it is often difficult to impact the decision if they believe content has been removed on the wrong basis.

The social media provider is also the one to decide if and when to change the terms of use, and if so, what these changes will entail. Facebook, for example, has changed the algorithms for how a post shows up in people’s news feeds several times, and the chances of a business reaching a wide audience by posting a regular status update (organic reach) have been severely reduced 12. Naturally, changing the terms in turn also affects the strategy businesses apply in their use of the channel.

It’s important to be aware that most social media require quite broad authorizations from users in terms of exploiting the content produced and uploaded by users. For example, the terms of use for Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, and LinkedIn include the right to use, copy, distribute, display, publish, make available and create derivative works of user content 13. In addition to covering most forms of commercial and non-commercial use of the content, several social media services also require that any rights acquired by them be transferable to third parties. As a result, users lose control of the content they produce.

Information about everything we do online, and especially how we use social media, is collected in a large scale, and used for various purposes. This means that if you use social media, for example by creating a page for your business on Facebook, the personal data of those who visit the page is processed by the social media provider. The Norwegian Data Protection Authority points out that everyone who processes personal data must ensure that they comply with the obligations in the Privacy Ordinance, and that the obligations also apply when a company uses social media.

From theory to practice – guidance for assessing data protection in social media

When it comes to the use of social media, all companies must make their own assessments of the risk it entails. Some guides that may be helpful are:

The Data Protection Authority's guidance on how companies can assess risk and privacy consequences

The assessment The Data Protection Authority's made of its own use of Facebook

A stable identity in an ever-changing landscape?

One of the challenges of being online is the difficulty of building a stable identity customers recognize and trust in a landscape that is forever changing. Social media come and go, and it’s hard to know which channels will be relevant in the future.

Having your own domain makes it possible to build a stable presence online, with content under the company’s control and ownership. 81 percent of Norwegian businesses believe their domain name is important for their brand, and most use it as a gateway to their products or services 14.

As an addition to a website on your own domain name, a conscious approach to social media can create increased visibility and interaction related to important messages from the business. Second to business’ own website, Facebook is still the most popular channel of communication among Norwegian businesses 15.

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...?"

Which types of social media a business chooses to use will depend on where its target audience is and which social media give the best value for money.

In today’s information jungle it can be difficult to present a clear and recognizable profile. In order to build a uniform digital identity, it can be a good idea to use the same profile name across several channels. If your domain name – be it your company name or the name of a product – is used in email addresses and as profile names in social media, it’s easier for people to remember and recognize your business across different channels.

From theory to practice – the name is key to building your digital identity

It can be hard to decide on a name when establishing a new business, service, or product. The Norwegian Industrial Property Office has some tips to choosing a good name:

Check to see if the name is available for registration and free of encumbrances or restrictions (the service checks the Domain Register, the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities and Trade Mark Register in one go):


  • 1. Norid. (Figures from April 2023)
    Analysis of content on Norwegian domain names performed by Dataprovider on behalf of Norid
  • 2. Norid. (Figures from April 2023)
    Analysis of content on Norwegian domain names performed by Dataprovider on behalf of Norid
  • 3. Norid. (Figures from April 2023)
    Analysis of content on Norwegian domain names performed by Dataprovider on behalf of Norid
  • 4. Internet Assigined Numbers Authority. (Figures from 16 February 2023)
  • 5. ICANN (Figures from 23 June 2016) «Commissioned Study Finds Increased Awareness and Trust in Domain Name System»
  • 6. Raad, A. (16 November 2012) «A Navigation Aid or a Brand TLD? Part 1» and «A Navigation Aid or a Brand TLD? Part 2»
  • 7. Cloudmark. (Figures from 22 July 2015)
  • 8. Cloudmark. (Figures from 30 May 2013)
  • 9. Norid. (Figures from April 2023)
    Analysis of content on Norwegian domain names performed by Dataprovider on behalf of Norid
  • 10. Norid. (Figures from April 2023)
    Analysis of content on Norwegian domain names performed by Dataprovider on behalf of Norid
  • 11. BI Centre for Creative Industries (2018) «Digitalisering av lokal mediebruk»
  • 12. Facebook (05.06.2014) «Organic Reach on Facebook: Your Questions Answered» og
    Facebook (11.01.2018) «Bringing People Closer Together»
  • 13. Novovic, M. (2018): «Licensing of User-Generated Content: How Online Platforms Exploit User’s Copyrighted Works»
  • 14. Norid. (Figures from April 2023)
    Analysis of content on Norwegian domain names performed by Dataprovider on behalf of Norid
  • 15. Norid. (Figures from April 2023)
    Analysis of content on Norwegian domain names performed by Dataprovider on behalf of Norid
Published: 26 October 2020
Updated: 10 May 2023