Why a dot .ca domain CAN BE a bad idea for Canadian businesses

MapleDots

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Let me start this article by saying that I have nothing against dot CA domains (.ca) and they are great . . . if (and only IF) you are 101% certain that you will never expand to international markets. Country Code Level Top Level Domains (CCTLDs for short) are great for local businesses that want to stay local and target local. The same goes for an Italian company buying a .IT or a French company buying a .FR domain. These CCTLDs will limit you to your local market for life, in more ways than one, and I'll explain why in this article.

Let me ask you this: do you know any American company using a dot US (.us) domain for their business? This domain extension exists, and yet no American company bothers with it. They almost always want the dot COM. Occasionally, they will settle for a .net, .co or .org, but they always want the .com first. In my opinion, this symbolizes quite well the American state of mind when it comes to doing business: we're not going after the US market alone, we're going after the world!

Why are dot COMs superior?

There are three reasons why dot COMs are still superior to virtually every other country-level domain name extension and why I strongly recommend that Canadian businesses consider buying their brand's .COM if it's available:

1) Dot COMs rank in search engines WORLDWIDE, meaning if you're a business that sells maple syrup, and your domain name is www.johnnysmaplesyrup.com, your website will appear in Google's search results in ALL countries and regions, and therefore you can get clients from the US, France or Japan finding you while googling for maple syrup on their local search engine. Now, if your domain name was www.johnnysmaplesyrup.ca, you have virtually no chance at ranking outside of Canada's searches (meaning outside of www.Google.ca) when someone searches for companies selling maple syrup on their local Google. Again, a TLD (Top Level Domain) like a .com, a .org or a .net will RANK anywhere on any regional version of Google, which is not the case for a CCTLD like .ca, .fr or .it.

2) Dot COMs are memorable and recognized internationally as the cream of the crop when it comes to domain name extensions. I don't care where you are in the world, you'll never meet someone that doesn't know what a .com is. But you WILL meet a lot of people that have never heard of .ca, .it or .co.uk! Dot coms are also especially popular with the older generation. Try telling someone over 60 that your company's website is www.bobbyschocolate.net. They will certainly type in www.bobbyschocolate.com on their computer when they get home that day. It happened to me many times in the past when I had a .NET domain name. I would get calls from prospects saying "hey I tried going to your website but it doesn't exist" and when I ask them to tell me exactly what they typed in their browser, I usually hear a dot com in the end.

3) Last, but not least, they carry a certain prestige. People know that dot com extensions are scarce and that most good ones are taken, or are for sale for ridiculous amounts of money! Therefore, owning yourbrand.com is like owning a storefront on a popular downtown avenue. You get the respect that comes with it.


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MapleDots

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The author forgets one important point...

Canadian businesses are trusted worldwide and running on a .ca is not necessarily bad when doing business outside of Canada, especially if the website charges in CAD. Our currency is great value when compared to the US dollar for instance and just like with holidays American consumers know they can maximize their currency by shopping in CAD.

Additionally the trust factor of dealing within Canada definitely comes into play and there are numerous companies doing business outside of Canada and running on a .ca
 
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theinvestor

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There are many valid points in there. Generally speaking though if you can’t get the .COM obviously the second option is .CA.

Would I prefer .COM over any of my .CA? Absolutely. I’d be lying to say I would prefer .CA.

The fact is there are many businesses in Canada that still only use .COM. It’s going to be that way for a very long time.

The businesses that understand will own both .COM and .CA but we all know sometimes both may not be attainable.
 

DomainRecap

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It's the old reign in hell vs serve in heaven argument.

For the same amount of money, you can buy a long, god-awful .COM on the aftermarket or a shorter more-premium .CA.

To me, the shorter & higher-quality .CA domain is a far better deal for the vast majority of Canadian businesses. and will almost immediately raise your profile and create all kinds of benefits in terms of recognition, advertising, promotion, email, and word-of-mouth.

For a real-life example, I helped a company get an LLL.ca for their business (they used a long 2-word .COM previously) and even years later, every time I talk to them, they have stories of how customers and business contacts are extremely impressed with the domain and say things like "Well, I'll never forget that domain (or email)" and "Wow, how did get that domain?". Also, I still hear about how much easier it is to fit a 3-letter on advertising and business cards, along with how well it works with communicating emails and your site address over the phone. No mixups.

If you already own your core brand in .COM, something usually reserved for the largest Canadian banks and firms, then the point is moot, but for the other 99.9% of companies, moving from a long, lower-end .COM to a shorter, higher-end .CA is the gift that keeps on giving.
 

Esdiel

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I definitely see a lot more .CAs on Canadian television than .COMs.

Screen-Shot-2021-10-17-at-12-17-25-PM.png
 
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theinvestor

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You definitely see more .CA on TV but the fact remains most small businesses and even some medium size businesses still only use .COM.

I looked into this recently through whois and there are now 27M domains which are registered in Canada. I think that speaks for itself.
 

Esdiel

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theinvestor said:
You definitely see more .CA on TV but the fact remains most small businesses and even some medium size businesses still only use .COM.

I looked into this recently through whois and there are now 27M domains which are registered in Canada. I think that speaks for itself.

Not that I don’t believe you, but can you provide us with something as proof?

And do .COMs owned by Canadian domain investors, or domains just not in use, really count? Canada only has a population of 37 million people…
 

theinvestor

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I have a lot of data I keep for myself but I will see if I can find the information on a free site. In the past I believe domaintools had a lot of that information.

Maybe someone else can comment if they know where it’s available for free?

I did a check roughly two weeks ago through my own program and it resulted in 27 million domains registered in Canada. In the U.S I believe there was 160M domains.

In regards to domains not in use…that’s going to happen in every extension.
 

Esdiel

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Thanks!

Domain investors aside, I guess my point is that companies like Canadian Tire own thousands of domains, most of which aren't .CAs, but they still use .CA.

And the fact that something like 90% of commercials include a .CA speaks for itself, for me at least.

I know we probably won't agree on this issue, but that's fine and I'm always happy to learn new things.
 

theinvestor

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Esdiel said:
Thanks!

Domain investors aside, I guess my point is that companies like Canadian Tire own thousands of domains, most of which aren't .CAs, but they still use .CA.

And the fact that something like 90% of commercials include a .CA speaks for itself, for me at least.

I know we probably won't agree on this issue, but that's fine and I'm always happy to learn new things.

We have a lot of domain investors in Canada that started with .com. So I’m sure that makes a difference but not a significant difference that you would say it’s simply domain investors driving up the number. I started with owning .com domains and it’s really unfair comparing the two. The amount of offers that you receive for .com domains is massive compared to .ca but again that market is worldwide.
 

DomainRecap

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theinvestor said:
You definitely see more .CA on TV but the fact remains most small businesses and even some medium size businesses still only use .COM.

From my experience, this is just companies being cheap/frugal.

They look up their brand in .COM, and it's either in use or selling for a fortune, then they go to the .CA and again, find it either in use or priced beyond what they want to pay, so it falls on the 3rd option of "whatever the hell I can hand-reg" and if nothing is appealing in .CA, they always use some godawful super-long .COM as a fallback.

I mean, if we're talking about a company running under joesautobodyshopca.com, then that's neither here nor there in terms of our conversation, as this guy either has no clue or no money or just doesn't give a crap.

Now if small and medium-sized businesses start forking over 6- and 7-figure prices for premium .COMs, while ignoring the corresponding .CA priced much lower, then we may have a problem, but I do not see that happening. It's just Average Joes looking for whatever is available for $10.
 

moosk

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This is definitely not true:

you have virtually no chance at ranking outside of Canada's searches

(that said, I wouldn't use .ca for a non-Canadian audience.)
 

MapleDots

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moosk said:
This is definitely not true:



(that said, I wouldn't use .ca for a non-Canadian audience.)


Exactly, if that were the case .co and .io would not rank outside of their home country.

ccTLD's can rank as high as any other domain
 

DomainRecap

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MapleDots said:
Exactly, if that were the case .co and .io would not rank outside of their home country.

But .CO and .IO are not true ccTLDs and due to open non-resident ownership and worldwide usage patterns, Google ranks them similar to .COM and other generic TLDs.
 

MapleDots

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DomainRecap said:
But .CO and .IO are not true ccTLDs and due to open non-resident ownership and worldwide usage patterns, Google ranks them similar to .COM and other generic TLDs.


Not sure if you cannot consider them TRUE ccTLD's because they also represent their individual countries. True they have been opened up but I have seen .ca websites on the international stage that rank right up there on google as well.

I am really trying to remember what site I saw, I remember thinking... wow they are using a .ca for world commerce.

It will come to me eventually and I will post back when it does.
 

DomainRecap

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MapleDots said:
Not sure if you cannot consider them TRUE ccTLD's because they also represent their individual countries.

While the countries still own ccTLDs like .CO, .IO, .TV, .CC, etc. and receive revenue, they are no longer true ccTLDs and Google equates them with generic TLDs like .COM/.NET/etc. in terms of search results, with no local bump.

Once a ccTLD opens up its market to the world (thus representing a global client base), this automatically changes how Google Search handles it. It effectively switches to a 2-letter gTLD for searches.
 

Esdiel

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Where do ccTLDs like .CO.UK, .DE and .CN fall then?

I would consider those true/popular ccTLDs, but can't those be registered by anyone as well?


EDIT: Not trying to be a smart ass here. Asking a real question because i don't know.

Does anyone really know these things for certain, besides Google? Would this info be published anywhere?
 
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