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Learned: The Pros and Cons of Using a .CA Domain Name

To .CA or not to .CA, that is often the question Canadian marketers ask themselves when they want to register a new domain name. Now that it’s much easier and cheaper to register .CA domain names, more and more marketers are struggling with this decision. The .CA extension has certainly become more commonplace and is better understood by Canadian consumers. Yet the .CA comes with its fair share of challenges.

As much as I love their patriotic flavour (spelled with a “u” of course), .CA domains can be problematic because people, especially our neighbours to the south who make up the bulk of North American online traffic, expect all domain names to end in .COM.
No matter how much you’ve invested in the marketing of your .CA domain name, a lot of people will still try to visit the Website at .COM and send email to the .COM address. Do you really want another individual or company to receive your traffic and email?
For this reason I always recommend to clients that they register the .COM version of their domain name even if they choose to use and promote the .CA version. And if the .COM version isn’t available, then they should seriously reconsider their overall choice of domain name.

One Comment

  1. Jane Motz Hayes
    Jane Motz Hayes January 18, 2006

    In addition to the patriotic and ease-of-use arguments made by Bill, the obvious reason to register and redirect all .com extensions to your primary .ca extension is Google.
    If you compete with American companies in search engines for market share remember that a user who inputs your keywords and clicks the “pages from Canada” radion button will see websites on the results page with a .ca extension over any other kind.
    Patriotism is well and good but it’s often the search results page that gets you the sale. I advise clients to register and 301 redirect to a .ca domain to make sure they get ranking from the Googlebot.

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