In Canada, .ca is replacing .com

I spent a few days in Canada recently and was struck but how many billboards, newspapers, and web sites prominently displayed .ca instead of .com.

I started writing down every localized domain I encountered and here’s what I ended up with after the first day:

Two years ago, when I was last in Canada, several of the companies mentioned above used .com for local promotions. Back then, I struggled to find any mention of .ca — anywhere.

Perhaps a burst of national pride triggered by the Olympics gave advertisers a good reason to emphasize .ca.

Or perhaps there is a larger trend at work here — a shift in the way companies promote themselves around the world.

Advertisers are coming to the realization that .com isn’t local enough.

“Local” is in these days.

Not just with organic produce and manufacturing, but with domain names. I’m not suggesting that .com domains are in danger. Not in the least.

But I am suggesting that ccTLDs have a very bright future.

And not just in Canada.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

2 thoughts on “In Canada, .ca is replacing .com”

  1. I *do* live in Canada, having moved to Vancouver from Silicon Valley in 2005. I saw .ca domain names everywhere as soon as I came here, so it’s not an Olympics thing. I guess you saw something different.

    My interpretation is that the .ca domain name sends the message, “We are really Canadian, we’re not just an afterthought of a US website”. Most of the domain names you cite also have .com counterparts, which are aimed at the USA.

    (How many of those domain have .us counterparts, to which they point their USA customers? See, .com is the USA top-level country domain! Heh.)

    There are many threads to the Canadian identity, but “we aren’t the USA” is a pretty strong one. The .ca domain weaves nicely into that thread.

  2. It’s important to remember that Canada is a bilingual country so many websites operate in English and French. Operating in a .ca domain feels psychologically different to being a regular .com especially for French speakers. And national pride has been around longer than the Olympics…

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