I’m happy to announce that I’ve updated my map of the world’s internationalized domain names for 2018:
The map includes all ICANN-approved country code IDNs for the world — more than 50 across more than 30 countries and regions.
I’ve also included a sidebar that details the many scripts and languages now supported within India. You can learn more and purchase here.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
I also design customized versions of this map as well as the Country Codes of the World map. These designs cover entire walls in offices in the US and Europe. I’m also beginning work on site-specific installations using mixed media. If you have any questions, please contact me.
There are more than three billion people on the internet today, yet fewer than 25% speak English natively. Roughly a billion of these non-English speakers connect to the Internet via mobile device. Hence this new poster from Byte Level Research.
It’s an imperfect process because different companies use country codes in different ways. For example, some websites use country codes as redirects back to the .com domain (not ideal, but better than nothing). Others use the country codes as standalone domains (ideal).
And a handful of others, suchas Amazon and Expedia, have made country codes an extension of their brand:
More than 80% of the companies studied in Web Globalization Report Card use country codes for at least some of the markets they support. This is a significant increase from five years ago, when many companies were still relying on .com as the base domain for all local websites.
What’s changed since then? For starters, Google has done a good job of incentivizing websites to support country codes. But more important, users around the world actually prefer country codes. These domains function as shortcuts to the local websites, bypassing the global .com site altogether.
The following companies do a very good job of supporting country codes:
Want to learn more about country codes? Check out this handy map.
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.