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Use A Country-Specific Domain Extension & Distinguish Your Brand's Web Site

What sets a Web site apart from others and attracts the attention of a brand's would-be customers? One of the latest trends that's gaining traction is Web addresses that don't end in .com, .org or .edu . Opening up a number of new possibilities is securing a Web site extension from another country. Many country-specific domain extensions are available to US companies that file for that extension from the governments in those countries.

For example, if you were the owner of City Air Conditioning, don't you think the Web site URL (www.CityAirConditioning.ac) might distinguish your firm from the competition? To make this happen, all City Air Conditioning would have to do is check the availability  and then register that domain name in that country. In this example, City Air Conditioning would apply for the .AC extension from the Ascension Island government through a domain registration company.

 

Domain registration companies like DomainIt.com makes this process quite easy to research, check availability and register.


For other examples, one could see telecom companies seeking out the extension .tv which is available from the country of Tuvala, located in the South Pacific. Country extensions are not only advantageous for the company vying for them, but also becomes a major source of revenue for the country that sells them.

Columbia, South AmericaColumbia, South America

In the next couple of months, Columbia's suffix .co will become available for use globally as part of a move by this South American country's government to cash in on their domain extension. Since, there will be a veritable 'gold rush' for URLs ending in .co, Columbia will be conducting auctions for popular names commencing July 20.

 

For the first year, these domain names will only be available from the following nine registrars:
    * GoDaddy.com
    * Dotster
    * Network Solutions
    * Register.com
    * Enom
    * InterNetX
    * Mi.com
    * OpenSRS
    * And Australian outfit, Melbourne IT

With '.co' often viewed as an abbreviation for 'company," the government of Columbia is anticipating heavy demand and a brisk business in selling these Web site URLs.

Country-specific extensions work exactly like .com Web addresses. Anyone, anywhere on the Internet can access them, and when used properly as a marketing tool, they  can be the differentiator that attracts more potential customers.

Flip.to, a social media tool for hotels, airlines and restaurants was able to secure their .to extension from the Kingdom of Tonga, an archipelago in the South Pacific that comprises 169 islands between New Zealand and Hawaii. Since the social media tool is based on converting customers to brand advocates, the URL  is not only a descriptor but is also a shorter URL to remember and can be used as a link shortener in sending messages via Twitter, where the character count is limited to 140 characters or less. 

Check out your brands' options in other countries if a country-specific domain extension makes sense for you. It's also a great tool to launch a new product or service. If you still remember the social bookmarking site Del.icio.us - they were one of the first to use this business practice several years back.  They have since abandoned the idea reverting over to Delicious.com - I'm guessing because the use of .us really was not a differentiator of consequence for them.

 

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Ron Callari
Social Media Trends
InventorSpot.com
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