Global by Design Adventures in web globalization Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:36:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Is your global gateway stuck in the basement? Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:43:09 +0000

When you welcome visitors into your home, you probably don’t usher them directly to the basement. Yet when it comes to websites, this is exactly how many companies treat visitors from around the world. That is, they expect visitors to scroll down to the footer (basement) of their websites in order to find the global gateway. Now I want […]]]> 0
Bulgaria (at long last) gets it own internationalized domain name (IDN) Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:09:01 +0000

Five years ago, Bulgaria applied for an IDN but was denied by ICANN on the basis of “string similarity” with the country code of Brazil. Here is the Bulgarian IDN side by side with Brazil’s ccTLD:  бг  br. String similarity is a complex and controversial issue. But Bulgaria refused to take no for an answer and, five […]]]> 0
You say Sea of Japan. I say East Sea. Wed, 22 Oct 2014 02:31:25 +0000

Who said the life of a map maker isn’t interesting? Every other day it seems there is another disputed territory, which usually means another disputed name. I’ve already mentioned the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas issue. On the other side of the planet there is a dispute brewing over the Sea of Japan. South Korea maintains that the […]]]> 0
Apple continues to neglect its global gateway Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:56:44 +0000

Every time Apple updates its web design (which it did recently) I get hopeful that the global gateway will receive a similar upgrade. But this has not yet happened. Apple’s global gateway remains firmly entrenched in the use of flags. And that’s unfortunate. Flags are not the best icons for global navigation. They are fraught with […]]]> 0
One probable beneficiary of Scotland independence: .SCOT Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:15:22 +0000

So today is the big day for the people of Scotland as well as the UK. One question that occurs to country code geeks such as myself is what country code domain would Scotland use if/when it became separate from .UK? It turns out that one domain is already available right now: .scot. However, this isn’t technically a […]]]> 0
What’s the ROI of web globalization? Wed, 10 Sep 2014 20:52:32 +0000

I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile. A few months ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly said this at an investor meeting: “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.” I love this quote. And I love any CEO who knows when the […]]]> 0
What’s wrong with this global gateway? Wed, 03 Sep 2014 22:33:18 +0000

A few things. First, using flags to indicate language is almost always a mistake. Second, why are the language names all in English? Only the “English language” text needs to be in English. The purpose of the gateway is to communicate with speakers of other languages, not just English speakers. Finally, do we need “Language” at all? […]]]> 0
Managing language expectations when you can’t translate everything Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:30:20 +0000

I don’t know of any large company that translates all of its content into all of its target languages. I won’t go into the many reasons for why this is — money being the major reason — but I will say that if this is an issue you struggle with you’re not alone. The key to […]]]> 0
Buick: A Chinese success story Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:31:55 +0000

I still look at the Buick brand as something for the post-60 demographic (though I must confess that demographic doesn’t feel quite so old anymore). It’s an image Buick has been working to change for years. But the beauty of globalization is that Buick doesn’t carry this sort of generational baggage in other countries. Like China. The Chinese apparently love […]]]> 2
GoDaddy’s expanding global gateway Sat, 23 Aug 2014 15:22:10 +0000

You can tell a lot about a company simply by keeping an eye on its global gateway. Here is the GoDaddy global gateway menu in March, 2014: And here it is today: From 21 locales to 42 locales in a few months.]]> 0
Gmail leads the global (as in non-Latin) email race Wed, 06 Aug 2014 18:50:44 +0000 0 Adobe and Google release open source CJK font family Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:30:39 +0000

This is the result of a massive investment of resources and expertise — and I’m excited they’ve made it open source. From Adobe: Source Han Sans, available in seven weights, is a typeface family which provides full support for Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese, all in one font. It also includes Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic […]]]> 0
Aussies love .AU Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:33:00 +0000

Keeping in mind that this is a survey funded by Australia’s registry, the data points pretty clearly toward a preference for .au over .com. From the announcement: The report found .au remains Australia’s home on the Internet with more than double the level of trust over any other namespace. George Pongas, General Manager of Naming Services at […]]]> 0
Q&A with Kathleen Bostick of SDL Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:49:29 +0000 0 Gmail to be first major platform to support non-Latin email addresses Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:38:52 +0000

At the ICANN 50 conference Jordyn Buchanan of Google confirmed that Gmail would support EAI (email address internationalization) by the end of this month. This is significant news. But what does it mean exactly? I don’t have the details yet, but at a minimum I assume it means a Gmail user could create an email address using a […]]]> 0
Google reenters the domain name business Tue, 24 Jun 2014 02:27:52 +0000 0 No, it’s not blowing over Fri, 20 Jun 2014 18:17:52 +0000 0 The UK is moving away from the cumbersome Tue, 17 Jun 2014 18:04:57 +0000

One of the more common questions I hear when talking about country codes is why the inconsistency across countries. For instance, why do you have to register in the UK while you can get a simple .fr in France or .de in Germany? My answer is that country codes are managed by their respective countries […]]]> 0
Mozilla frees web browser from mobile language limitations: A Q&A Mon, 09 Jun 2014 09:04:04 +0000

I was intrigued to read recently that Mozilla is working on updating the Firefox Android mobile browser, codename Fennec, to allow the browser to offer more languages than the underlying Android system currently supports. Typically, apps leverage language support from the underlying operating system, which can sometimes be limiting. So it’s nice to see Mozilla moving beyond this limitation. […]]]> 0
Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report: A web globalization persepective Wed, 04 Jun 2014 08:52:59 +0000 0 Speaking at SDL Innovate in San Francisco Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:21:01 +0000

I’m pleased to be speaking at the SDL Innovate conference in San Francisco on June 11th. I’ll be presenting on secrets of the best global websites. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you there!]]> 0
The United States has a privacy (branding) problem Fri, 30 May 2014 00:57:00 +0000 1 YouTube launches Thai site at Wed, 21 May 2014 15:56:36 +0000

I too am surprised it took Google this long to launch a dedicated Thai website. YouTube has local versions in 61 countries and 61 different languages. Today’s launch in Thailand makes that the 62nd. Currently, there are over one billion unique visits to YouTube each month. Six billion hours of videos are watched monthly. 80 […]]]> 0
Go global with .INTERNATIONAL? I don’t think so. Mon, 12 May 2014 19:28:07 +0000 0 dotConfusing — What you need to know about the next wave of top-level domains Wed, 07 May 2014 15:23:22 +0000

My latest post for client Pitney Bowes on making sense of the hype concerning the new generic TLDs. An excerpt: The first wave is rolling in More than 1,200 gTLDs have been applied for so far. You can check the status of each domain online ( and learn more about what each applicant plans to do […]]]> 0
The best global travel websites (and why) Thu, 01 May 2014 22:24:27 +0000

There are now more than one billion international travelers, making the travel industry a benchmark for web globalization innovation and excellence. So I’m pleased to be presenting a free webinar — sponsored by Lionbridge — to discuss my analysis of the leaders within this exciting industry, along with lessons for all companies. My presentation will […]]]> 0
Xiaomi launches as its global “front door” Tue, 29 Apr 2014 20:38:13 +0000

I’ve long been curious how Xiaomi would take its brand name global. The name itself can be challenging for us Western speakers to pronounce, let alone spell correctly. That’s not to say the name is destined to fail, as foreign brand names can be very successful in the long term. But what if there were a […]]]> 1
The United Languages of America Fri, 25 Apr 2014 14:57:53 +0000

Very cool map courtesy of the WashPost based on US Census data: “More than a quarter of counties in the United States have at least one in 10 households where English is not the language spoken at home.”  Link  ]]> 0
Before Amazon enters Sweden it needs a .se country code Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:21:52 +0000

Few companies appreciate the value of country codes as Amazon. As you can see here, Amazon goes a step further and integrates the cccTLD directly into the logo: According to a post on Good E-Reader, Amazon has been stymied in its quest to obtain a country code for Sweden. Amazon also doesn’t appear to have […]]]> 0
Macedonia gets an IDN: мкд Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:33:46 +0000 0