International domain names are the web addresses that you’ll find with a two letter country abbreviation instead of a .com, .net, or .org address. They’re often used for websites that are aimed at a specific country .
One of the most common uses of country domain names is to provide localized content from a larger website. Google is an excellent example of this. While their main search engine is “google.com,” they provided localized search throught the use of country based domains; for example, “google.co.uk” (for the United Kingdom) or “google.cn” (for China.) Most countries have a localized Google search. Most multi-national companies use a similar scheme for the local versions of their websites.
Another reason to use a international domain name is to make a website standout from the crowd. One example of this (and one of the few major websites to use the “.us” domain) is bookmarking website “del.icio.us.” It might be easy to forget a website like “delicious.com,” but “del.icio.us” is unforgettable.
One example of using an international domain for advertising reasons is “triumph.co.uk,” which, unlike most companies who use a .com address regardless of nation, is the main portal for Triumph Motorcycles. This brand has long been associated with the United Kingdom, and it doesn’t hurt to reinforce that by using a domain name that includes the name of Triumph’s home country.
Another reason to use a international domain is to avoid legal problems. A major website for downloading first-run television shows without commercials is hosted in Italy, even though it is run by people in the United States. This theoretically allows them to avoid any legal consequences that arise from DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) violations.
A final reason to get a international domain name is probably the most pragmatic. As many domain names on the .com, .net, and .org domains are already taken, using an international domain may be the only option to get the domain name you want. Even this use is growing increasingly more difficult, as most major websites tend to snap up every variation of their particular domain name to keep any one else from using it.
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