Nearly half of all Canadian companies have registered dot-ca domain names, according to Impact Research, which attributes the growing percentage to the trust and geographical reference associated with

the dot-ca extension.

Impact Research presented its findings, sponsored by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), at CIRA’s annual general meeting Tuesday in Montreal.

The study noted that 45 per cent of Canadian companies have registered at least one URL with a dot-ca extension, and that dot-ca registrations account for 38 per cent of all Web sites registered by Canadian companies. Forty-eight per cent of all domains registered by Canadian companies have a dot-com suffix.

CIRA registrations total almost 300,000, a five-fold increase since December 2000.

“”Canadian companies that have a Web site say that dot-ca has more value for local consumers,”” said Monique Brulotte, an Impact Research account director, “”and that it is more trustworthy and honest than dot-com.””

“”What’s interesting here is that we are attributing a quality to a domain extension,”” CIRA spokesperson Gabriel Ahad said of the honesty association. “”I would interpret this as Canadians want to go to dot-ca sites. When you’re at (as opposed to, you know you’re reaching something Canadian.””

However, several audience members questioned the value of the dot-ca suffix, claiming their experience shows the dot-com to be much more valuable.

While the Impact Research study showed the dot-ca suffix is preferred by smaller Canadian companies that focus on the domestic market and the dot-com suffix by larger, more international firms, Brulotte insisted the dot-ca is overall a better tool for reaching Canadians.

“”The dot-ca is considered to have more value among Canadian consumers than dot-com,”” she said. “”People are saying dot-ca corresponds to Canadians.””

Indeed, Canadians are even more likely to visit the dot-ca sites than the dot-com sites of major international companies, according to Jupiter Media Metrix.

Jupiter’s findings, also presented at the Tuesday meeting, were the result of traffic analysis of AOL, eBay, FoodTV, Ford, Google, MSN, Netscape, Ticketmaster and Yahoo between January 2001 and April 2002. They showed that of these sites, the 10 most popular with both a dot-com and dot-ca extension, eight are witnessing a greater traffic growth on their dot-ca pages than their dot-com pages in Canada.

Bryan Segal, a Jupiter account manager, said that 84 per cent of Canadians also look for a Canadian Web site when making online purchases. He said Canadian visitors to dot-ca sites are more likely to access secure HTTPS pages to complete transactions than are Canadian visitors to dot-com sites.

“”When we look at the retail category we see that even though (for example) is the most viewed, in terms of conversion to HTTPS, Canadian sites are the ones that have the highest rates of conversion.””


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