I’m excited to announce the publication of The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card. This is the most ambitious report I’ve written so far and it sheds light on a number of new and established best practices in website globalization.
Here are the top-scoring websites from the report:
For regular readers of this blog, you’ll notice that Google is yet again ranked number one. But Google isn’t resting on its laurels. While many software companies are happy to support 20 or 30 languages on their websites, Google continues to add languages across its many products. Consider Gmail, with support for 72 languages and YouTube, with 75 languages. And let’s not overlook Google Translate, now at 100+ languages.
Google could still stand to improve in global navigation, though I am seeing positive signs of harmonization across its many product silos. But I do maintain the recommendation that Google present a more traditional global gateway to visitors across its sites and apps.
Other highlights from the top 25 list include:
- Consumer goods companies such as Pampers and Nestlé are a positive sign that non-tech companies are making positive strides in improving their website globalization skills.
- IKEA returned to the list this year after making a welcome change to its global gateway strategy.
- Nissan made the top 25 list for the first time. BMW slipped off the list.
- As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 54 languages (up from 52 last year); if we removed Wikipedia from the language counts the average would still be an impressive 44 languages.
- GoDaddy, a new addition to the Report Card, wasted little time in making this list. Its global gateway is worth studying.
- Luxury brands such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren continue to lag in web globalization — from poor support for languages to inadequate localization.
- The average number of languages supported by all 150 global brands is now 31.
But as you can see here, the rate of language growth, on average, is slowing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Companies are telling me that they are investing more on depth and quality of localization — which is of huge importance.
The data underlying the Report Card is based on studying the leading global brands and world’s largest companies — 150 companies across more than 20 industry sectors. I began tracking many of the companies included in this report more than a decade ago and am happy to share insights into what works and what doesn’t. Time is often the greatest indicator of best practices.
I’ll have much more to share in the weeks and months ahead. If you have any questions about the report, please let me know.
Congratulations to the top 25 companies and the people within these companies that have long championed web globalization.
The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card
I’ve just printed a new batch of our popular Language Connects People posters and have a few that are not quite perfect that I’m offering at a discounted price.
As you can see here, there is a small black line around the edges — nothing you’d see after framing, but not quite perfect.
If you’re interested, these prints are just $15 plus shipping. To purchase yours use this link.
In a development that few people will notice but is interesting to us domain geeks, Apple is in the process of retiring its news.apple.com domain in favor of apple.news.
The .news domain is a top-level domain, much like .biz or .guru. You can register yours here.
Apple is not going to shed light on why it is making this migration. I suspect that anything to take traffic off the .com domain is never a bad idea.
Perhaps Apple has a long-term vision for making its News app web-accessible (instead of locked within an app).
But what if Apple had instead taken the opportunity to begin migrating to its own brand TLD .apple (which it currently is doing little with publicly). It could have used news.apple.
Which leads me to this question: Is news.apple better than apple.news?
It’s a question a number of companies are asking themselves currently — whether to migrate to their brand TLDs, using subdomains for country and regional websites as well as sub-brand websites.
Regarding Apple, it’s hard to say which domain is better without knowing the goals for the News app. One could see news.apple and believe that this is the domain for news related to Apple, not a separate service. So, for now, it appears that Apple.news makes the most sense for the app.
Canon recently launched its generic top-level domain (gTLD) .canon at http://global.canon.
In doing so, the company plans to migrate away from canon.com to .canon, presumably with different divisions and/or geographies occupying subdomains.
The company writes:
Until now, the URL we used for Canon’s global website was “www.canon.com.” From now on, however, we will begin gradually introducing “global.canon” to provide information to a global audience with a new online presence.
“global.canon” is a URL that uses the new generic top-level domain (gTLD)* “.canon.” Since “.canon” is a domain name that can only be used by the Canon Group, users of “.canon” sites can be assured that the information they are receiving is reliable. In order to ensure that customers can safely access Canon information beyond the global site, the Company also plans to extend the “.canon” domain name to other Canon Group sites.
Canon was ranked 28th in the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card. It has long been one of the language leaders but navigation was often a weak spot.
With the new domain comes a new web design — and new global gateway. Note the new globe icon perfectly positioned in the header.
This is a positive step forward. Granted, Canon has MUCH work to do as it migrates its many geographies and product divisions over to the new design and domain architecture. But it appears to be on the right path.
I love this story in CircleID about how the Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li has registered the generic top-level domain .richardli.
I have no idea what he paid but the going rate on the application is around $100,000.
The official explanation for this purchase is to “protect intellectual property.” But I’d say owning one can be a heck of a lot of fun.
Now that Richard owns the domain, he can set up his own email account; how about me@richardli?
Now I just have to drum up enough money to register .yunker before these folks beat me to it.