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.
Venture capitalist Paul Graham believes so. He notes:
100% of the top 20 YC companies by valuation have the .com of their name. 94% of the top 50 do. But only 66% of companies in the current batch have the .com of their name. Which suggests there are lessons ahead for most of the rest, one way or another.
As an owner of many .com domains, I’m certainly a fan of the domain.
And I’d be hesitant to launch a new brand or company without first securing one.
But if I were based in, say, Indonesia, would I care as much about .com? Would I prefer to register the country code .ID?
And if I were to launch a purely mobile company, would my domain matter at all? Have we reached a point in time where the next wave of the world’s largest companies will exist largely domainless? It’s certainly feasible. Visit the website of Shapchat and you don’t get the software application; all you get is blinded by a highly annoying shade of yellow. Granted, Snapchat is hosted at .com, but it could have just as easily been hosted at .XYZ.
Which brings me to Google, which hosts its new parent company Alphabet at abc.xyz (Google does not own alphabet.com).
I don’t want to read too much into this domain in particular, only to mention that the rules today have changed.
That said, I largely agree with Paul Graham regarding .com. There are plenty of legal reasons to lock up the domain. And, for better or worse, the .com domain is considered a global domain name (and, by most Americans) an American domain name.
But my point is this: Don’t view .com as your only domain name. Don’t overlook country codes and IDNs as you build out your global presence.
I read today about the Nigerian startup Hotels.ng and my first thought was why Hotels.com didn’t already own the Nigerian country code.
After all, Hotels.com owns country codes for France and Italy and Japan, among others.
But was apparently late to registering country codes for Germany and Netherlands — as well as Nigeria (Africa’s most populous country).
Now, in Hotels.com’s defense, its global brand is “com.” And its global gateway strategy is intended to reinforce this fact; country codes are used as redirects only.
I should also note that Hotels.com finished in the top 10 in this year’s Web Globalization Report Card.
Nevertheless, I’m not convinced that .com is the best global strategy — particularly in emerging markets, where country codes are strong indicators of local companies.
For large multinationals, ccTLDs are trivial expenses, even if you have no short-term plans for using them. Speaking of, the ccTLD for Hotels.bw (Botswana) is for sale for roughly $2,000.
Which leads me to wonder who is going to register the new generic top-level domain .hotels.
This seems like a natural fit for Hotels.com, and yet Booking.com has applied for it (although the application status is on hold).
PS: I recently completed a book (review coming) that talks about the threat that emerging market companies post to established multinationals. I wonder if this is one such future case study.
According to Verisign’s domain name industry brief, TLD registrations hit 280 million in the second quarter of 2014.
Here’s a list of the leading domains overall:
Note that the .TK ccTLD is technically a country code but is marketed as a generic TLD, and quite successfully it seems. So Germany is effectively the leading ccTLD.
Interesting data points:
- Country codes, at 129 million registrations, account for more than half of all domain names registered
- The top 10 ccTLDs comprise 66.3% of all ccTLD registrations
- The new wave of generic TLDs haven’t made much of impact yet in terms of registrations