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".
And these are some generic extensions.
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|
*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