With the proliferation of new top-level-domains (gTLDs) and companies trying to decide whether or how to include gTLDs in their business strategy, some people may lose track of the more basic elements of that strategy.
A gTLD can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to register, self-host, and maintain from year to year. But don’t forget that ccTLD–country-code top level domain names–are generally inexpensive to acquire and can provide a significant boost to your presence in international markets. Using a local domain such as www.companyname.co.uk, www.companyname.com.mx, or www.companyname.de, signifies to local viewers that you’re interested in their business and are willing to “come to them.”
Many of these domain names cost roughly the same as a .com domain–less than $10 per year. Others may cost more, and may require setting up a trustee to establish your local presence. But that isn’t difficult (check out the services offered by www.101domain.com). Even then, the incremental cost compared to your overall marketing budget probably makes it a wise move for anyone interested in marketing to an international client base.
The photo here–the guy on the motorbike–is just a model, but its a reminder of a great cautionary tale.
A few years ago, someone in China bought Google’s Chinese domain name before Google got around to it. In 2005 he sold the domain name back to Google for $ 1 million. The story isn’t widely known, but it was discussed by Kevin Lin in the September/October issue of Intellectual Asset Management magazine, in a piece about the importance of considering culture and langauge when preparing a trademark strategy in China.
The lessons are clear: Think ahead. Have a strategy. Work with experienced professionals. And invest early, when the price to protect your intellectual property is relatively low.