Best Practices

Warning: Canadian Spelling can misdirect your traffic!

03. 08. 2007

Spelling can be challenging for Canadian companies especially when selling to the United States. Some commonly misspelled Canadian-English words, such as "center" versus "centre" and "colour" versus "color", can easily misdirect traffic to entirely different websites. This problem is even more apparent when stories published in well-known media use the American spellings of Canadian companies' URLs. Unfortunately, once the story is published in print it's impossible to have it corrected. Recently, I have come across startling examples of this predicament. For instance, the Air Canada Centre, a popular venue for hosting sports, concerts, and other events in Toronto, Ontario, has an official website available at However, if you visit, you will come across competitive ticket-sale listings that rely on your spelling mistake to make profit. It is also common to run into American companies that do not have Canadian-spelled domains.

For example, Color Your World, a well-known painting company in Ontario, Canada, uses the US spelling in their website URL. When using the Canadian spelling for "color", as in, a message displays stating, "server not found". There are many people whose job it is to find and purchase domains in hopes to gain from it. This is referred to as cyber squatting. A successful domain name's variance is purchased for the purpose of reselling it at a higher price or for featuring ads that hope to make revenue from the click-through traffic. For site owners who have a commonly misspelled word in their domain name, it is imperative that you register variations of the domain name to avoid lost traffic. Registering the dot-ca is highly recommended. Also be sure that your domain name variations are properly redirected. All of this will help to ensure that your marketing efforts don't get misdirected. P.S: Rand, thanks for planting the seed for this article from one of your recent blog posts!

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