Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on July 10, 2014: Factors to Consider When Purchasing Localised Domain Names for Your Target Countries

Share Article - Creating a friendly, localised website that is intuitive and inviting to international consumers is an integral step in building a global brand.

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When localising domains for your business, be sure to research each target country’s registration requirements, as they will vary.

Creating a friendly, localised website that is intuitive and inviting to international consumers is an integral step in building a global brand. One often-overlooked aspect of this process is registering domains for each country where you plan on having an online presence. Country-specific domain registrations can help your brand seem less “foreign” and make international consumers more likely to trust your website content.

When localising domains for your business, be sure to research each target country’s registration requirements, as they will vary.

Is a Local Presence Is Necessary?
One of the most common requirements in country-specific domain registration is having a “local presence.” This is not necessarily the same as having a physical office in that country. In some cases, you may satisfy the “local presence” requirement by placing a representative of your organisation in that country or by using a trustee service, which is offered by many domain name registration services for an additional cost. It’s wise to investigate the company’s reputation before choosing it as your representative in the target country.

Carefully Review Each Country’s Rules
In addition to determining whether you need a local presence in the target country, look for other requirements that may apply. Just as every country has its own rules pertaining to how international organisations can conduct business within its borders; each country also has its own regulations that apply to web domains. For example, to register a Japanese domain, your corporation must be registered under Japanese law.1 Although Libya does not impose the same restriction on companies using its .ly domain, it does require a promise that websites in that domain will not be used “for any activities/purpose not permitted under Libyan law” or, more specifically, Sharia law.2 If a website’s content violates Sharia law, its domain will be revoked, and any domain names containing less than four characters will be granted only to those companies that have a presence in Libya.3,4 Regardless if your target country has similar idiosyncrasies, a thorough understanding of the requirements will help ensure that your domain registration and purchase process goes smoothly.

Consider Registering an Internationalised Domain Name
Once you’ve accounted for all of the regulations in place in the countries you’re interested in you can start choosing the domain names you’d like to register. Just as translated versions of your website make it easier for international consumers to read your content, having an internationalised domain name (IDN) for each of your international websites will make your websites even more accessible to overseas consumers.

IDNs contain non-ASCII or non-English characters, making it possible for people to type website URLs in their native languages. The first IDNs were released to the public in 2010. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) currently supports IDNs in 26 countries.5,6 Registering IDNs, if available in the target country, demonstrates your company’s commitment to making your brand appealing and relevant to international consumers, a move that can help distinguish you from your competitors.

As the above examples illustrate, domain localisation can be a complicated process depending on the country you’re considering. It is often a good idea to include domain localisation in the process of localising and translating your website’s content and integrating multilingual search engine optimisation (SEO) for your target countries. It is also a good idea to work with a language service provider that has professional experience translating in web content. This approach will help ensure that your organisation’s online materials are easily accessible and understandable for international consumers.

1 “.JP Q&A,” Japan Registry Services, (accessed June 16, 2014).
2 David M. Ewalt, “Libya Revoking .ly Domains That Don’t Adhere to Sharia Law,” Forbes, October 6, 2010, (accessed June 16, 2014).
3 Ibid.
4 “LY Accredited Registrars,” Libya ccTLD website,” (accessed June 16, 2014).
5 Kim Davies, “First IDN ccLTDs Now Available,” ICANN Blog, posted May 5, 2010, (accessed June 16, 2014).
6 “IDN ccTLD Request from Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic Of, Successfully Passes String Evaluation,” ICANN, April 15, 2014, (accessed June 16, 2014).

About Merrill Brink International
Merrill Brink International ( is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localisation, desktop publishing and globalisation services.

Merrill Brink is recognised in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and compliant to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007.Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation.

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