30 Years Later, .CA is still our Favourite Domain

30 Years & 2.5M Domains Later, .CA is Still our Favourite Domain

As many of you know, Webnames has a special history with .CA . Our co-founder, John Demco, conceived of the .CA country code for Canada, created the original registry at the University of British Columbia and voluntarily maintained it  for 13 years before transitioning it to CIRA’s custodianship and governance. During that time John and a small group of dedicated volunteers processed every single .CA domain registration manually.

And now our favourite domain extension is turning 30 on May 14th, which is the day John was allocated the .CA country code from Jon Postel, operator of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

(L) John Demco; (R) Jon Postel in 1994 with map of Internet top-level domains. Photo by Irene Fertik, USC News Service.

This milestone birthday makes us feel equal parts nostalgic and proud. Nostalgic, because Canada circa 1987 was pretty cool! Do you remember 1987? Well, here’s some uniquely Canadian context about that year.

  • The Canadian Mint rolled out the loonie
  • The Federal minimum wage was $4/hour
  • The much loved shows Degrassi Jr. High & Street Legal debuted on Canadian TV
  • Luba and Brian Adams won Junos for female and male vocalist of the year
  • “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Corey Hart topped Canada’s music charts
  • Sidney Crosby was born in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
  • The Meech Lake Accord dominated Canadian politics
  • Ben Johnson set a new world record for the 100 metre dash
  • Rick Hansen completes his Man in Motion world tour, raising an incredible $26M for spinal cord research
  • Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Coffey, Fuhr, all on the same team and in their absolute prime, beat the Soviets to win the Canada Cup

It was also two years before English scientist Tim Berners-Lee even invented the World Wide Web, meaning that collectively we’ve been doing this whole online thing for a loooooonnnng time now …

Of course, this milestone also makes us feel proud. Thanks to John’s innovation and foresight, .CA has now become one of the most recognizable symbols of Canadian identity, and under the steady stewardship and vision of CIRA, it has continued to thrive despite hundreds of new gTLD options coming to market over the past several years. Today the .CA domain is more than 2.6 million registrations strong – and Canadians have a their own identity on the Web that they continue to prefer over other extensions. A report commissioned by CIRA in 2016 found that over 60% of Canadian Internet users prefer to purchase from Canadian websites over American ones, citing a desire to support Canadian businesses as their primary motivation. Now how Canadian is that, eh?

.CA is special to Webnames not only because of our unique history with Canada’s country code, but because we know it to be an incredibly powerful, and proven, branding and marketing tool for our Canadian customer base. A dot-CA domain has become a symbol, a shorthand, for identifying a brand, business, organization or individual as Canadian and offers SEO benefits to those targeting local consumers and Canadian markets. Importantly, .CA also accommodates French characters and ligatures for the 22% of Canadians whose primary language is Français – and that’s something no .COM, .ORG, .NET or .XYZ  is able to do.

After 30 years of dot-CA, and 17 years of helping Canadians create, protect and promote their online presence, we still believe in the power of .CA for Canadian corporations, entrepreneurs, innovators, advocates, makers and creators. So, in celebration of .CA’s birthday, we are offering 2 for 1 .CA domain registrations from today through to May 31st. With every new .CA domain registered, the registrant will be emailed a coupon code that can be used for an additional one-year .CA domain registration – and here’s some ideas about how you can use that second registration:

  • Register a call-to-action or a marketing campaign slogan (e.g., weheartdot.ca)
  • Register a service/product with a placename as part of your local SEO strategy
  • Register your name to forward to your portfolio, blog,  Facebook or Twitter account (JaneSmith.ca)
  • Proactively register a new business venture or brand idea for future use (MyGreatIdea.ca)
  • Set-up branded email accounts for your business, family, or club
  • Or give your code to a friend and share some .CA love

The .CA namespace is a virtual promised land of domain name options. With 2.5M .CA’s registered, compared to .COM’s 128M, there is a lot of room left to find a great domain –  by way of example, all of the above domains are currently available for registration.

So happy birthday .CA, old friend! From all of us at Webnames, we are as excited about your future as we are proud of your humble beginnings.



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