Should I Register a .com or a .ca Domain Name?

Until December 2000, most Canadian companies registered dot-com names instead of dot-ca names. This was partly due to stringent registration rules for dot-ca domain names and to dot-com’s general Internet popularity. However, today, dot-ca domain names are increasingly becoming the number one choice for people and organizations.

As the registration rules for dot-ca domain names became less stringent in the Fall of 2000, people, businesses, and organizations of all types began to choose dot-ca names over dot-com names. In December 2000, CIRA had 60,000 dot-ca domain name registrations. By January 2002, that number had increased to over 260,000. That’s still a far cry from the millions of registered dot-com names, but it means that Canada’s Internet name space will be there for you when you need it. Odds are that a domain name you may want to use will be available as a dot-ca but not as a dot-com.

A survey conducted by The Strategic Council (a Toronto based market research firm) for CIRA in November 2001 showed that 81% of Canadians agree that Canadian businesses and organizations should use dot-ca for their websites. The survey also revealed that 71% of Canadian Internet users prefer to use dot-ca website services over dot-com dot-com based services because they associate dot-ca with Canadian content. Also, 81% of those surveyed attributed dot-com websites to American organizations and companies.

For Canadian businesses, the instant Canadian recognition arising from a dot-ca extension is an attractive incentive. Having a dot-ca name immediately identifies an organization as being Canadian. This is useful for companies targeting markets within and outside Canada because Canada is well respected and liked around the world.

Despite a wider selection and availability of dot-ca names, organizations should consider registering, if possible, a domain name in more than one domain using some of the available TLDs. This approach will help ensure that potential customers can easily locate the organization’s website. Regardless of which gTLDs or ccTLDs an organization chooses to use, it is important to do so as quickly as possible to ensure better selection.

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