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View Poll Results: Should Google.com and Google.us be different?
No. The .com is already the US version. Keep it that way. 17 44.74%
Google.us would be more relevent, The USA counts as a region too! 16 42.11%
All the regionals should be combined into the .com 5 13.16%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-10-2005   #1
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Should there be a Google USA?

For some time now it's been clear that regional search engines give a boost to websites relevant to that region - and that's how it should be.

But Google.com isn't regional - it's international (kind of - we'll get to that in a moment).

This means that US netizens are possibly being stuck with worse results than the rest of the world, because currently google.us resolves to google.com.

I cross back and forth across the US-Canadian border a lot, and when I'm in the US I'd like to see results that are more relevent to me than the standard international fare.

Right now, the .com version doubles as the US one (that's where US local results show up, for example). But that's messy, and still isn't as relevent to US netizens as a Google actually intended for them.

So what do you think? Treating the US as second class by forcing them to use the international version seems just as wrong as forcing the international community to have to deal with an increasingly US-centric "international" version, but that's just my (non-US citizen) opinion.

Another option is to get rid of all the regionals and just localize based on what the visitor tells you (or their IP, etc).

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Old 06-13-2005   #2
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Seems only us non-americans are interested in this stuff Ian!

Unable to vote as the options aren't quite right but my view from England;

The .com should be the international Google, no weighting on country specific domains/location nor on the users IP location.

Regional Google's, and yes they definately should be a .us, should give a "boost" to sites that belong in that region in addition to the filtering when the "pages from" option is checked. They really need to quit with the redirects though.

Just as an aside the US as a region is a touchy subject, ask the DMOZ guys about that one.
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Old 06-13-2005   #3
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That is so strange - maybe they don't realize the benifits of regional search engines? I have a hard time believing they like off-topic spam....

Good thoughts, NFFC. No - I didn't know about the "US as region" issue in DMOZ - what is the issue?

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Old 06-13-2005   #4
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>what is the issue?

Lets not even go there!

[I'll pm you]
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Old 06-13-2005   #5
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Got the PM with the link, thanks!

Wow - I'm not sure where to start, but that was a fascinating read, thank you.

I have to physically stop myself from typing a response to it so I'm going to turn off my computer and go sit in the dark for a while. You are right, it's probably not good material for the forum.

Ian

[You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to NFFC again.]
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Old 06-13-2005   #6
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I'd be interested in hearing about the issue as well. Perhaps you could post a summary in the forum? (or PM)
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Old 06-13-2005   #7
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<listens to the sound of everyone scuttling off to dmoz to try and find the thread>

from where I'm sitting it's always appeared that the US consider .com to be the US domain name and the rest of us are only allowed to use it under sufference It used to be somewhat that way in the UK - everyone wanted .coms but now they're realised that .co.uk's are actually a good option - but I haven't seen many .us sites around and I pretty much have the impression they'r still not considered desirable?

As an example mcdonalds.co.uk is there but mcdonalds.us appears to be under construction (although at least registered to them)

It would be great if some Americans could shout me down at this point but I doubt they will?
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Old 06-13-2005   #8
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It seems that i'm the lone dissenting opinion at this party. In all practicality, I don't think I want to teach my grandmother what .us meant - she can barely handle .com. In theory, utilizing the .us domain for its intended purpose would be great - we could put everyone in their own regional pools and just ditch the .com TLD completely (or 301 it to the corresponding .xxx domain cause that's 90% of the jumk out there anyway).

I like the IDEA of putting the US in their own little handing them a collective "Tonka"-brand notebook, and saying "play," but I don't think that the potential benefits would be worth the difficulties it would take to move the masses to regional searches.

Good idea... it's just 10 years too late.
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Old 06-13-2005   #9
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I'll shout, Gurtie, an American living in the UK.

Someone stop me, but I believe .com was originally supposed to be for a commercial site in the US. But to say others could use it only under sufferance is way wide of the mark. Pretty much anyone anywhere has been able to buy it for as long as I can remember. In contrast, trying to buy a country-specific domain for other countries can be very, very difficult. I think in France, for example, you have to show some real residence in the country.

We do have a .us domain. Doing things over, it would have been nice if that were promoted. But I think it came in after .com. Again, anyone correct me if I am wrong. Certainly many in the US have assumed that .com is the extension they should be using, thus its continued popularity.

The difficulty is that you can't depend on .com to mean anything. American sites use it. Global sites use it. UK sites use it. French sites use it.

Moreover, other country domains get diminished. Tuvalu as the .tv domain which is happily pitched to those well outside of that country

So using domains is pretty much a non-started. Heck, is that .xxx site in the US, UK or somewhere else, when that domain comes in.

What you can do is try to guess, which is what the search engines do now. Domain gives some indication -- and if Google were to ever have a Google US with weight given to .us domain, you can bet people would snap them up. But links from "known US" sites could be used just as they are used for the UK. Registration records could be used. Heck, here's a thought. We could maybe tell the search engines directly what country we're relevant for. Nah, that would never work!

Here's another reason to have a Google US. For one thing, when I search, I'd often actually like to see ads targeted at me, an American, regardless of where I'm at -- you know, without having to tack on &gl=us to my search string to make that happen.

Last edited by dannysullivan : 06-13-2005 at 05:31 PM. Reason: Four happy faces was three too many :)
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Old 06-13-2005   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannysullivan
I'll shout, Gurtie, an American living in the UK.

Someone stop me, but I believe .com was originally supposed to be for a commercial site in the US. But to say others could use it only under sufferance is way wide of the mark. Pretty much anyone anywhere has been able to buy it for as long as I can remember. In contrast, trying to buy a country-specific domain for other countries can be very, very difficult. I think in France, for example, you have to show some real residence in the country.

We do have a .us domain. Doing things over, it would have been nice if that were promoted. But I think it came in after .com. Again, anyone correct me if I am wrong. Certainly many in the US have assumed that .com is the extension they should be using, thus its continued popularity.

The difficulty is that you can't depend on .com to mean anything. American sites use it. Global sites use it. UK sites use it. French sites use it.

Moreover, other country domains get diminished. Tuvalu as the .tv domain which is happily pitched to those well outside of that country

So using domains is pretty much a non-started. Heck, is that .xxx site in the US, UK or somewhere else, when that domain comes in.

What you can do is try to guess, which is what the search engines do now. Domain gives some indication -- and if Google were to ever have a Google US with weight given to .us domain, you can bet people would snap them up. But links from "known US" sites could be used just as they are used for the UK. Registration records could be used. Heck, here's a thought. We could maybe tell the search engines directly what country we're relevant for. Nah, that would never work!

Here's another reason to have a Google US. For one thing, when I search, I'd often actually like to see ads targeted at me, an American, regardless of where I'm at -- you know, without having to tack on &gl=us to my search string to make that happen.
The recent intermixing of local and global results in ceratin countries seem to support the lessening of the .com hold.

In local national results the country domain and host are a major consideration.
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Old 06-13-2005   #11
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Move to Google.us? Not likely. We Americans think the world needs to conform to us... for Pete's sake we refuse to be on the metric system.
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Old 06-13-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Martin
Move to Google.us? Not likely. We Americans think the world needs to conform to us... for Pete's sake we refuse to be on the metric system.
The funny thing is metric is easier once the initial hurdle is over.
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Old 06-13-2005   #13
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Quote:
Move to Google.us? Not likely. We Americans think the world needs to conform to us... for Pete's sake we refuse to be on the metric system.
As a scary sort of coincidence, that link NFFC sent me earier was about a DMOZ editor who insisted that the USA not be under North America, but rather considered it's own region/continent/etc.

That's just crazy talk. Everyone knows that Canada comprises most of North Americas landmass, and therefore the US should be a sub-catagory under us....

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Old 06-14-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Martin
Move to Google.us? Not likely. We Americans think the world needs to conform to us... for Pete's sake we refuse to be on the metric system.
And then, of course, there's the World Series, which for many years never left New York City.

I'm thinking that moving to a google.us could create as many problems for Canadians as it would solve. Wouldn't there be a loss of US traffic by some Canadian sites that are currently routinely seen on Google.com, or is the plan that everyone would have two sites... substantially different to avoid dupe content problems... one for .com and one for .ca or .us?
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Old 06-14-2005   #15
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Interesting Idea!

I don't see that happening, as a practical matter simply because of the way the .com tld has grown and is currently in use. In a lot of ways it would appear to be a good gambit for the registrars to make more money, as people would now be urged to buy the .com AND the .us tld.

It would make a lot of sense though, as the average small to medium business puts up a website meant for local customers, to be able to narrow that region/search to make them more easily "findable" by their target customer. After all, if you offer wedding planning in Boise, traffic from a bride in New Zealand isn't very helpful.

Just for fun, you could take it a step further and offer state tlds! I certainly have some customers who would snap up a .sc or .nc domain- that would make it even easier for localized search to become a reality. I work extensively in a few industries where business names are often the same from state to state and in order to get that .com tld they add some creative dashes or extra letters in.

The question in my mind is how difficult a concept would that be for users? Do they actually arrive at most sites from searching, or do they often guess at a business name, or do they type it in off of business cards? If search is truly the primary navigation method, the tld shouldn't matter very much.
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Old 06-14-2005   #16
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,us has only been around a couple of years I think, but historically I guess .com was meant to be commercial and since the US and the UK were probably the two main takers at the time it didn't seem an issue. I know 5 years ago clients wanted only .coms and now they all want .co.uk's - perhaps the .us will go that way but I suspect not.

Whatever the SE's do I just want to be able to go search for what I want where I want. It was getting really irritating a few months back when any search, even on .com, was returning me UK-centric results, drives you nutty when you're looking for gift to ship in the US and it keeps giving you .co.uk results, if .us would help with that then they should go for it I reckon, and make .com truly international.

Google.us wins on points btw, Yahoo.us isn't pointed at the homepage, MSN.us cannot be found and ask.us isn't even registered to them
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Old 06-14-2005   #17
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I keep forgetting that I take this regionalization stuff for granted.

The VAST majority of Canadian sites (for example) are .coms, and yet Google.ca handles that just fine, and shows them just fine. For most searches, if I choose Canadian sites only, most of the results are .coms - but Canadian .coms!

Likewise, a Google.us would simply put more of an emphasis of .coms known to be American and (for example) less emphasis on .coms that are from Canada, UK and India.

It's not an evil plot to switch people over to the .us domain, it's an evil plot to actually show Americans sites that are intended to appeal to...umm..Americans....

Although you would be automatically assumed to be US if you have a .us, most .coms that are based in the US would also automatically be US as well, just like the .coms that are based in Canada (like my own site) are considered to be Canadian, etc.

In short, it's a free rankings boost for sites that are American, and absolutely no drawback for rankings on the .com version. It's not either/or. I optimize for Google.com and enjoy my free rankings boost on Google.ca and don't feel bad about it at all.

Here is what I think - if an American searching for American products, services or information did a side-by-side comparision between google.com and google.us - I think that (assuming it worked the same way that the other regional Googles worked) they would find themselves very pleasantly surprised at the sudden change in relevance.

From Googles standpoint, wouldn't that be better than them going over to Yahoo, MSN or Teoma in search of that same relevance?

And from an SEO standpoint, why would you turn down a free rankings boost in a search aimed directly at your target market?

Honestly, I think if you tried it, you'd like it - a LOT.

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Old 06-14-2005   #18
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Maybe it's what I'm searching for...

I'm not sure what I'd find in a .us search that would be different from what I see in a .com search- I typically get (as far as I know) American sites anyway. I haven't had any issues with finding myself unawares on a South African or Indian-based site... they are pretty much American sites. I would imagine they are already showing me regionalized searches, but maybe not.

What type of searches do you find to be more relevant, Ian?
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Old 06-14-2005   #19
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From the perspective of an international business a google.us can only increase costs and complicate reaching the US market for non US businesses. Depending on what you sell (if in fact you sell anything) you may be of the kind that takes advantage of the global capabilities of the web. You can set up one virtual store and cater to the entire planet. If you are penalized for not being physically in the US in the SERPs then you have to find your way around the problem. The end result is the same. As Danny says other countries are tough with their domains. For me to have a .fr domain I had to shell out a few Euros, find a french citizen to put the domain under his name, etc... I am well positioned in google.fr now...but it cost me more. Anyone could do the same for the hypothetical google.us. It is impossible to limit the results to truly US sites (and why would you want to?). It would increase costs as I said unnecessarily in my opinion. Jorge
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Old 06-14-2005   #20
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The way I was taught it, the .com TLD is like postage stamps. US sites don't use .co.us because the standards were derived in the US. In the same respect, the UK is the only country in the world who doesn't put the country name on stamps (which are a British invention).

There would be a huge amount of consumer education required to start shifting US only sites to .us domains, but I do think Google.com should be focusing on an international audience and not an US one.

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ask.us
Would have thought that would have been a great branding move!

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