14 Mar Picking a Domain Name: Local or Global?
Before I begin this post I will make a statement: “If you do not own yourbrandname.com, you are not that brand!”
So from here I think you can guess what I advise to every single client I meet on day one. That is to buy a .com domain and use it as the main website you promote.
But I hear you ask, “What about a local domain like .ie, .ca or .co.uk?”. There is a lot to consider but really the only domain you want is what is called a Top Level Domain or TLD, the following are some guidelines:
- Ideally you own your .com
- An organization can rely on .org
- A network can also use a .net
Below is some of the history and further links to find out more.
A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet after the root domain. The top-level domain names are installed in the root zone of the name space. For all domains in lower levels, it is the last part of the domain name, that is, the last non empty label of a fully qualified domain name. For example, in the domain name www.example.com., the top-level domain is com. Responsibility for management of most top-level domains is delegated to specific organizations by the ICANN, an Internet multi-stakeholder community, which operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and is in charge of maintaining the DNS root zone.
Intended use Miscellaneous organizations not fitting in other categories (generally noncommercial). Actual use Nonprofits; personal sites; open-source projects; some government websites; mostly used by non-commercial entities
Intended use Network infrastructure. Actual use ISPs; miscellaneous sites; used sometimes when desired name is not available in .com
Should I buy a local Domain?
Absolutely not, the idea of a ccTLD will work for a larger company who can afford the .com and all the domains they need .ie, .ca, .co.uk. But for other languages like German and French the .de and .fr will be pivotal to your localization/translation strategy.
What do Large Brands Do?
We will use a large brand as an example, Microsoft are a great company and one I have worked for in the past, lets take a look at their setup:
- www.microsoft.com – The main domain, all users can come here, MS operates a geo location and uses what are called LCIDs to create /es-es/ and /en-ie/ etc, the Language codes can be viewed here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/openspecs/windows_protocols/ms-lcid/70feba9f-294e-491e-b6eb-56532684c37f
- www.microsoft.ie – redirects to the .com, a specific setup for Irish folks
- www.microsoft.ca – redirects to the .com, a specific setup for Canadian folks, with English and French options, as both are spoken in France
- www.microsoft.co.uk – redirects to the .com, a specific setup for UK folks
- www.microsoft.fr – redirects to the .com, a specific setup for French folks, in French
- www.microsoft.de – redirects to the .com, a specific setup for German folks, in German
- www.microsoft.cn – redirects to the .com, a specific setup for Chinese folks, in Simplified characters, which is the main language spoken
- www.microsoft.in – redirects to the .com, a specific setup for Indian folks, India has a huge array of spoken languages, with 10+ national languages. Microsoft then delineate further in this kind of use cases.
But can a small company do this? The short answer is no, all these domains would cost hundreds to thousands of dollars and most ccTLDs or local domains require a business setup and all have their own regulatory bodies, some are open markets but most require a link to that country, which most small folks cannot show.
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