Maps generally make ideal global gateways. That is, if you see a map on the home page, you will likely assume that you are being asked to select your target country or region. However, the challenge with using maps is that they can also draw attention to those parts of the world your company does not address.
Take a look at the M&Ms home page below. The countries highlighted in orange link to localized Web sites — more than 20 Web sites in all.
However, the countries in orange are visually outweighed by the countries in blue, creating the impression that M&Ms is ignoring huge chunks of the world — from Canada to China. In this case, it might have been wiser to de-emphasize the map itself and focus on listing the country names next to a map (or globe) icon, as eTrade as down, shown here: