Best Practices
Canada's One Million Domain Names
18. 04. 2008

On April 15, 2008, Canada's dot-ca (.ca) domain name registration hit the one million mark, placing this Canadian-specific extension as the seventeenth largest Internet domain name registry worldwide.

So where does that place Canada in comparison to other country-level domain extensions? Here's where dot-ca ranked in the fifteenth spot back in February 2008, according to "Global Domain Name Statistics".

Extension Amount Registered Country
.de 11,673,388 Germany
.net 10,623,637 Global Generic
.cn 9,001,993 China
.uk 6,486,829 United Kingdom
.eu 2,715,101 European Union
.nl 2,695,568 Netherlands
.it 1,456,787 Italy
.us 1,375,779 United States
.br 1,230,870 Brazil
.ch 1,056,751 Switzerland
.ru 1,030,951 Russia
.au 1,007,458 Australia
.jp 988,886 Japan
.fr 988,421 France
.ca 943,341 Canada
.kr 930,485 Korea
.dk 864,845 Denmark
.es 805,327 Spain
.pl 762,503 Poland
.be 736,499 Belgium
.at 722,193 Austria
.se 702,199 Sweden
.cz 370,642 Czech
.no 361,118 Norway
.nz 314,053 New Zealand
.mx 231,047 Mexico
.pt 184,650 Portugal
.fi 165,252 Finland
.hk 152,405 Hong Kong
.tr 146,083 Turkey
.sk 140,319 Slovakia
.ie 91,353 Ireland
.lt 65,944 Lithuania

And these are some generic extensions.

Extension Amount Registered  
.com 71,619,962 Global Generic
.org 6,373,837 Global Generic
.info 4,948,539 Global Generic
.biz 1,903,406 Global Generic
.mobi 799,551 Global Generic

We decided to run an analysis using these statistics. We wanted to know the percentage of domains specific to each country based on its population. Here's what we got.

Extension Country Amount Registered Population* % of domains to population
.nl Netherlands 2,695,568 16,570,613 16.0
.dk Denmark 864,845 5,468,120 15.8
.de Germany 11,673,388 82,400,996 14.0
.ch Switzerland 1,056,751 7,554,661 14.0
.uk United Kingdom 6,486,829 60,776,238 10.7
.at Austria 722,193 8,199,783 8.8
.jp Japan 988,886 127,433,494 7.8
.se Sweden 702,199 9,031,088 7.8
.no Norway 361,118 4,627,926 7.8
.nz New Zealand 314,053 4,115,771 7.6
.ru Russia 1,030,951 141,377,752 7.3
.be Belgium 736,499 10,392,226 7.0
.cn China 9,001,993 1,321,851,888 6.8
.br Brazil 1,230,870 190,010,647 6.5
.au Australia 1,007,458 20,434,176 4.9
.us United States 1,375,779 301,139,947 4.6
.cz Czech 370,642 10,228,744 3.6
.fi Finland 165,252 5,238,460 3.2
.ca Canada 943,341 33,390,141 2.8
.sk Slovakia 140,319 5,447,502 2.6
.it Italy 1,456,787 58,147,733 2.5
.hk Hong Kong 152,405 6,980,412 2.2
.ie Ireland 91,353 4,109,086 2.2
.es Spain 805,327 40,448,191 2.0
.pl Poland 762,503 38,518,241 2.0
.mx Mexico 231,047 108,700,891 2.0
.lt Lithuania 65,944 3,575,439 1.8
.pt Portugal 184,650 10,642,836 1.7
.fr France 988,421 63,718,187 1.5
.kr Korea 930,485 72,346,515 1.3
.tr Turkey 146,083 71,158,647 0.2

*population numbers form the CIA World Factbook 2008

Out of 25 countries Canada ranked in 13th place in our analysis. Countries like Netherlands, Denmark and Germany rated highest. Does this mean that we are less willing to appeal to our fellow Canadian consumers? Does a dot-ca registration or any other country level extension make you more patriotic? One could say that the Internet savvyness of a country may affect the number of domains registered. However, country-specific domain registration in many ways could also reflect the effort made by a country to target its particular market and populace. A dot-ca domain name for instance, directly targets local markets, sending the message that a website is proudly Canadian. It's true, English speaking countries have a larger competitive market to contend with and have more domain extensions to choose from. There may be less incentive to differentiate Canadian targeting with a dot-ca, when you can opt for the better known dot-com.

A dot-com domain name may widen the demographic scope of a website, but more times than not, a focused demographic tends to fare better. According to CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, 75% of Canadians prefer to shop on a dot-ca website. Privacy and security issues often deter Canadians from online shopping across the border, along with extra costs associated with shipping and duties. CIRA reports that in 2005 Canadians ordered $5 billion worth of goods online and 63% of these purchases were with Canadian vendors.

For some small businesses, a visible dot-ca website could be the deciding factor for sustenance. If your Canadian website is an established dot-com, why not register your dot-ca domain and at the very least, direct it to your dot-com. For more information on choosing a domain name extension, read Dot-Com or Dot-CA?

Researched & written by Marta LeClair

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