International Domains - Benefits
So, you know what an international domain is, but you're not sure how you can benefit from one? Read on.
As mentioned in my explanation of IDNs, an international domain enables you to have a domain name expressed in the same language as your non-english website. For example, international domains can contain diacritics, as well as characters from non-Latin scripts, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese or Hindu.
Benefits of International Domains
The potential of international domains is enormous. Whether you're a non-English speaking business owner or an English speaking entrepreneur, you should seriously consider the benefits of registering an international domain.
- Larger Audience:
When you register an international domain, you are automatically opening yourself up to a much larger audience. Most of the world's population is non-english speaking and by registering an IDN you are capitalizing on this. Many non-english speaking people use a keyboard (and character set) that supports their language. Therefore, when they search the web, they search in their native language. It makes sense then, that when they search for a domain name, they will also prefer to search using their language.
Think of the enormous growth countries like China. More and more chinese are coming online every day. According to Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia, "Asia is one of the most important regions for IDN. Asia is already the largest Internet marketplace with over 700 million users online. However, that represents only 18.5% penetration. IDN will bring the Internet to the rest of the people in Asia who do not speak English".
If you have an English website, why not consider making it available in different languages. You could see a substantial increase in visitors.
A big factor that will keep international domains in high demand is localization.
First, think of the millions of businesseses around the world. Many of these are in non-English speaking countries. Most of them have no interest in using an English name. Their business name is in their local language and they have no reason to change this. Their customers are local and understand the language. When the local business creates a website, it chooses to use the local language - after all, they have no reason to use English. Therefore, they have no reason to use an English spelled domain name. It just wouldn't make sense.
Now think of all the large, global corporations competing against each other for higher market share. If you were in their shoes, wouldn't you think about registering a stack of international domains for your products and services? Imagine the edge you'd have over your (English-only) competitors! Over time, these companies will start to catch on and will be willing to pay lots of money for international domains that align with their offerings.
- Brand Protection:
Large corporations can go to extraordinary lengths to protect their brand. Some even spend millions of dollars on lawsuits each year just to prevent others from "damaging" their brand. These global companies will almost certainly include international domain names into their brand protection strategy.
It's becoming harder and harder to find a good domain name. Most good .com english-language domains have already been taken. Actually, most good .net and .org domains have already been taken too. Try and register a good one, two or three word .com domain and you'll see what I mean.
At the time of writing, there are approximately 180 million domain names registered, representing an estimated US$10 billion annual market, including secondary market and value added services. Most of this is concentrated in the US and Europe.
Now that we have international domains, imagine how many domain names are now available?
At the time of writing, international domains still have great availability. There are still plenty of great one word .com domains available!
So, given the great benefits of international domains, why not register an international domain today.
Due to the nature of international domains, make sure you understand how to search for them. In particular, read this page for an explanation of punycode and foreign character sets.