Should I use country-specific domain names or just .com?


I'm planning to launch a SaaS site soon in Norway and own the domain name under the Norwegian TLD (.no). If this is successful, I plan to translate the site and launch internationally. The .com domain is taken and the owner has offered to sell it for a price which I think is fair but more than I can pay right now. Should I just proceed under .no and begin marketing under that domain name or is this a waste of effort as I'll need to start all over when I purchase the .com further down road?

On the one hand, the Norwegian version and the English effectively represent two different services as they're in two different languages so two TLDs seems to make sense. On the other hand, if I take the service into more countries, going back to SEO square one every time seems unnecessary.

Also, won't just ploughing all international traffic into .com instead of partitioning it improve its overall ranking? Or do the search engines look for connections between different international domains? I see a lot of other international sites just using or and if they do own the domain under the country's TLD, they just forward it to .com which suggests there is an advantage in placing everything under .com.

International Domain

asked Nov 1 '10 at 08:14
Owen Fraser Green
128 points

7 Answers


Of course, single domain on .com is the best solution if you're providing services to the world. But you are starting your business and will only target Norway for now. So why bother so much on the price of the .com they're offering? Just got a .no TLD and start your business. Focus (focus!) on your Norway business for now. If you ever succeed in that, you'll have enough money to buy your .com from them. The problem of most of the startups is thinking too much and too long. Keep it small and focus. Do it step-by-step. Every single success will lead you to the final success. Don't worry of Internationalization and Global SEO for now. Just focus on Norway business. I wish you succeed in your startup. Cheers!

answered Nov 2 '10 at 17:28
58 points


I think its best to go with the .com.
I remember when fist came out.
It was a clever use of a non .com name but now if you visit you are redirect to

The reason being is that so many people are accustomed to typing in a dot com.
If my friend asks me to visit a website, its likely that i wont remember its TLD, and would try .com first. This is the case often with non tech savy folks.

I think your best approach is to gain trancation with your .no name.
Then in the future register a domain name for your .com.
For different languages i always use subdomains.,,,

The reason for these is that they are essentially differnt sites.
I do them based on language and target only the top. Current top are English followed by simplified chinese. This will change based on your audience. Also imporatnt to keep in mind that some countries simply cannot afford to purchase services offed because of excahnge rates.

Last, i detect the users language and local, and redirect them to the appropriate site. If a user chooses a specific language then i keep track of that via cookie.

Its important that you plan for internationalization early. It affects SEO, design, and more. Best of luck.


answered Nov 1 '10 at 09:10
2,079 points


From an SEO point of view I think it is better to have everything under a single domain.

That being said there are reasons why it would be of benefit to have a local TLD, not that these necessary apply to your situation.

Information services that apply to a local country - I would prefer to read news, weather or opinion pieces about my country on a site that "appears" to be based in my country. It signals to the user that you have local based operations in that country. In Australia you are legally not supposed to register for a unless you have an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Local search engine traffic - Google has a feature here "pages from Australia". I quite often use this feature when I want to find a local company. If you have a plain .com address it could possibly be excluded from these types of searches.

If you can't see any business benefit in splitting your domains then I suggest go for a single .com domain.

Also don't feel like you have to be held at ransom because someone has the domain name you want. Let it go, think of something similar. In the end the domain name, no matter how cool or clever doesn't mean that much to the client (as long as it is short and easy to remember). If they weren't taken would you have thought of or as your name of choice? In the end content is king.

answered Nov 1 '10 at 12:45
1,257 points


You should buy additional domains to protect your brand, name, idea or whatever.
However, always 301 redirect them to your .com domain for SEO purposes.

answered Nov 2 '10 at 08:34
Vergil Penkov
141 points


I say it is all who you are marketing to.

If you are marketing to a specific demographic in a centralized location geographically, then you would want to use the TLD from that location.

In most cases, however, you will want to use a .COM because it is the most familiar to most users.

answered Nov 2 '10 at 17:58
81 points


It also depends how tech savy your customers are.

I know from my less tech savy family in Norway would never buy anything from a non .no website. .no tld means it has to be a registered Norwegian company and comply with their laws. A .com tld can be any tom dick and harry.

The exception is well known brands. Apple, CocaCola, IBM, Amazon etc. .com tld is then trusted.

Any other tld .net, .eu, .to, .nu, .ru are simply no-go.

However as your services are SaaS that would imply some tech knowledge from your customers. But I think you will find some will still be less inclined to trust you.

So depends what is important to you and which brings in more customers: trust or SEO?

answered Jan 20 '12 at 02:57
113 points


Having a domain other than ".com" gives an image to potential customers that your company has to make to do with it. Unless the domain is a single word or a popular acronym (think SME), the domain will make your company appear amateurish.

This has been my line of thought when I registered the domain for my future SAAS. Even though one of our competitive advantage is that the app is targeted to local businesses and our local presence - you can meet us and we can represent you, we chose a .com domain over the country specific one.

If you can't afford to get the domain now, I would suggest getting another domain. Remember the price of domain is not how much the seller can use it, but how much he thinks the buyer (you) is willing to pay for it. When your site succeeded, it will become more expensive.

answered Nov 1 '10 at 11:14
Heherson Tan
79 points

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