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Verisign launches Hebrew .com domain

Verisign has owned rights to the .com domain for many years, and profited enormously. So it’s no surprise that the company has been eager to see continued profits from language/script-specific equivalents of .com.

So it has recently pushed ahead with the Hebrew .com, which reads קום.

Verisign notes in CircleID:

Notably, a Verisign survey conducted in Israel in September 2017, comprised of 150 decision makers in small and medium-sized businesses with up to 30 employees, found that 69 percent of respondents would register a domain name that’s fully in Hebrew if they could.

But Domain Name Wire is not so bullish about this domain:

That hasn’t panned out so far. Verisign has launched three of these domains. .コム in Japanese and .닷컴 in Korean have fewer than 7,000 registrations each. The Korean .net transliteration, .닷넷, has even fewer registrations.

The key words here are “so far.” We’re still in the early days of non-Latin domains. I remain bullish on them. One of the main obstacles, I believe, have been the success of mobile apps that have usurped domains entirely. But walled gardens such as Facebook may not be losing their appeal in the years ahead, which would put the spotlight back on localized domains.

For more about IDNs, check out the latest edition of our map.

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Country codes are maturing — but not retiring

Country codes are still adding registrations but the more developed markets are seeing a decline in growth rate.

Shown below is a visual from the registry behind the .FR domain:

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 7.39.58 PM

Of course, AFNIC is keen to point out that the growth rate for country codes is still much higher than “legacy” domains like .com and .net.

And this is true. Country codes are still growing, just not as quickly as registrars would like.

Some experts say that the flood of new top-level domains has negatively impacted country codes.

These new domains include regional domains such as:

Dot London

And:

dot-nyc

As well as more generic domain names:

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 5.43.33 PM

To name just a few.

Honestly, all these new domains are overwhelming. But I do not believe they negative impact country codes.
In fact, my research shows that global brands are actually migrating away from using the .com domain for all markets to using country codes for specific markets.

I’ve also noticed that a few new TLD owners now wish to use country codes as second-level domains.

SONY is one such brand domain. Even though Sony has no intention of opening its domain to the public it wants to use country codes internally. So, in theory, a Sony German website would be located at http://de.sony.

This is all theoretical at this point as ICANN has not yet released country codes to Sony.

But the very fact that this is a looming issue points to the utility of country codes.

Internet users understand country codes. Country codes are not going away anytime soon, just evolving into new usage scenarios.

But back to the question of why domain growth rates are declining.

Mobile is the real culprit here. I know of a number of mobile startups that could care less about registering country codes — because their services exist within the app itself. An Internet presence is a mere formality for these companies.

In addition, Facebook continues on its quest to swallow the Internet. And it will gladly help companies host all of their content within Facebook’s walls — country codes, who needs ’em?

But I do not think Facebook will swallow the Internet. I also think hosting your own website (and relevant country codes) is the best way to control your destiny — and smart virtual real estate to own. That’s not to say walled gardens such as Facebook and iOS aren’t worth playing in, but always keep in mind that you’re playing by someone else’s rules. And these rules can (and do) change.

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The Dutch love .nl

Netherlands ccTLD

Country codes (ccTLDs) provide local and regional “front doors” to websites.

They also can be used as local brand extensions, as shown here with Amazon:

Amazon France logo

Not surprisingly, country code registries are proponents of ccTLDs. But I thought this visual was worth mentioning, this from the registry of .nl (Netherlands):

Netherlands country code

SIDN, the .nl registry, surveyed Dutch Internet users and found that “Between 75 and 80 per cent of private individuals and businesses would consider .nl if they were to register a domain name in the immediate future.”

Also interesting is this chart:

Dutch Internet input

Search engines are the primary way people reach websites on smartphones — which is an implicit recommendation for using country codes. After all, search engines use country codes as important indicators for local websites.

Here’s the link to the full report.

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GoDaddy going global

In this interview with Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy, he mentions the company’s focus on expanding global reach:

We’re localizing, globalizing and marketizing our code base which means we’re building software for specific languages and markets.

Take Spanish, for example. It’s spoken differently in places like Chile, Mexico and Peru, so we’ll make investments in currency, payment types, unique graphics and vernacular for each market we go into.

Here are the country websites currently supported:

GoDaddy country websites

Naturally, I’d love to see this global gateway promoted to the header (it’s currently buried in the footer).

But the website nicely uses language negotiation to make its Spanish-language website more discoverable.

If your web browser is set to Spanish you’ll see this overlay when you visit:

Go Daddy Espanol

What isn’t mentioned in the interview is GoDaddy’s support for non-Latin domains (aka IDNs). I suspect that GoDaddy will be investing heavily in marketing IDNs around the world as well.

I’ve long maintained that IDNs have been slow to take off in many markets not because they don’t offer users value but because the ecosystem around IDNs have not been well developed. By globalizing the registration platform, GoDaddy is doing its part to improving the IDN ecosystem.

PS: This is a picky thing that drives me nuts. Is it “Go Daddy” or “GoDaddy”? I see it both ways on the home page. The Wall Street Journal uses “GoDaddy” so I’ll do the same.