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Chinese Domain Name choices for a Chinese version of an English site.

Aimed at Chinese, Hongkongese and Taiwanese people.

5:05 pm on Apr 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ni hao!
I am running a project which could be interesting for Chinese people. We are planning to translate our English product description into Chinese and sell online.

Is it better to use English language or Chinese language (pinyin) domain name? I have noticed that Chinese domain names are very often in Chinese, pinyin does not help in search optimisation and the pinyin syllables without intonation can be misleading for the Chinese reader. Still I like the idea of Chinese name domain. What do you prefer?
a/ www.englishname.cn + www.englishname.tw + www.englishname.hk
b/ www.pinyinname.com
c/ www.pinyinname.cn + www.pinyinname.tw + www.pinyinname.hk
Please advise.
Which standard should we use in the home page as default: traditional or simplified? I would like to do it in two "language versions", but am not sure if that's the best solution.



8:29 am on Apr 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ni hao miguello,

I realize you are asking "Chinese people" their opinion, but felt like throwing my $0.02 in...

The language of your post may provide not only the question, but possibly the answer as well.

You have used the phonetic spelling in Pinyin / Chinese for "hello", (Ni hao), along with well written English questions, containing suggestions for several mixed language versions of domain names... That I believe is your answer --- you need to cover all the bases until the dust settles.

Air traffic control, computer programming, medicine, and many other activities operate on English language protocol, but colored, (or in the case of Canada, England and other more formal English speaking locales; "coloured"), with local language.

Pīnyīn itself is probably the answer since us westerners are going to have a hard time learing anything that isn't made up of A-Z and phonetic sounding -- I think we are stuck with it for the purpose you present.

You do need to be careful about local translation though... e.g.- when GM tried to market the Chevy Nova in Mexico they found Mexicans turning up their noses at a car who's name literally meant "it does not go", (no va)...

... hǎo xiào ain't it... very kě xiào

10:24 am on Apr 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi Lexipixel, I appreciate your answer and helpful thoughts on the subject.

Firstly, I slipped up in the first message writing that "Chinese domain names are very often in Chinese" - actually surprisingly enough they are more often in English than pinyin.

If pinyin is what you advise then my present standpoint is to launch as the main domain name: www.pinyinname.com and have www.pinyinname.cn and www.pinyinname.hk+.tw redirecting into simplified and traditional script versions, respectively. I hope that Google will not ban the site for plagiarism since 70% of the characters in the two script versions are expected to be identical.

Last remark, webmasterworld.com has published information that China ranks now nr.1 in web users, but I do not see this reflected on webmastersworld. Don't they have their Chinese web forums? If yes, then it might supply an argument for creating pinyin domain name.... Am I right or am I wrong in this reasoning? Chinese webmasters, shed more light!

4:36 pm on Apr 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I am running a project which could be interesting for Chinese people.

The #1 and best self-taught lesson, after many mistakes, I learned about China was to have a local presence/office/partner.

Are you going to host within China?

Sometimes external sites to China can be very slow to load, it's become better but not always guaranteed.

4:37 pm on Apr 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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China ranks now nr.1 in web users, but I do not see this reflected on webmastersworld.

Occasionally one or two come to this forum but mostly you will find them on the Search or Adsense boards.

8:23 pm on Apr 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I read in this forum three things which were new to me:

1. there are chinese character domain names (but I found no page where I can search whats avaialable and where I can buy them + I do not see any chinese script domain names on Baidu and Chinese Google)

2. Two years ago some users recommended to have two domains - one Big-5 for traditional script and the other GB for simplified/modern script. I am at a loss, as most characters are the same and something tells me that Google will punish both websites for duplicate content, because I do not think it's reasonable to rewrite the content and place other pictures just to fool Google.

3. Like HuskyPup put it, it's important to host in mainland China because of speed. Another issue is that Baidu prefers websites hosted in China. We do not have a local agency in China. The strategy has been to employ Chinese people in Europe and do it from here.

Today I spoke with a Chinese person and he things that English names look better, while pinyin names look "childish" as domain names. Interesting :)

[edited by: Woz at 2:12 am (utc) on May 1, 2008]
[edit reason] tidying up [/edit]

9:23 pm on Apr 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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English names look better, while pinyin names look "childish" as domain names.

Of course there are many who understand English extremely well in China, in fact, in my trade it is the compulsory spoken office language even amongst 100% Chinese staffing.

The Latin alphabet is the most widely used script in the world and is understood throughout many countries and even if one does not speak the language, one can understand or remember it...Baidu is a perfect example.

If you feel that your target market is most probably those who use and understand English then you probably have your answer but do provide a local language version as well.

1:53 am on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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no,there is some mis-understand for customers in china, here there is some website use english as domain,and some use pinyin as domain.

you choice must depend on which your products for sale in china, i am good at chinese market, i do similar business here in china,i help my clients's website locallization and do e-marketing job in china.

what is your target customers? what is their english speaking ability? it is very imporant before decide choose domain.

9:19 am on May 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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hi, our target customers are chinese-speaking people (not only in China) who have money to buy the product outside Europe and then travel to Europe to use the product there.

for me it sounds strange to have an English domain name and have there text in two chinese scripts (can it be penalised as duplicate content by google?), I have thought about pinyin but then I learnt that it's better to have two pinyin domains separately for traditional and simplified, and afterwards I learnt that there are domain names can be bought in "hanzi" too, though I cannot see hanzi names being used in real life.

Looking forward to more surprises :)

3:14 am on May 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well, i'd like to give you some guideline regarding your Chinese internet marketing:
1. Domain: Pinyin is better than English domain as baidu - the largest chinese SE likes it. You needn't buy "hanzi" domain until you feel it's necessary. Choose cn as its extension so that your site can be indexed by baidu shortly. Please don't use different domains for same content, it's unnecessary and not benefitial to you.
2.As far as i see, there is no large difference to use tradtional or simplified chinese as your default page.
1:01 am on May 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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It sounds like you are asking about using Chinese IDN (internationalized domain name). China has its own separate IDN system that is coordinated through CNNIC. They have an English site with FAQ about Chinese Domain Names [cnnic.net.cn].

We've discussed IDN domain names for years here, and the general consensus has always been that they're fine to buy to retain your brand name, but they're not good for your main site. The simple fact is that you need a browser or server plug-in to be able to resolve these names. Not every browser can see these names. That's why it's suggested to run your main Chinese site on an English or Pinyin domain.


12:28 am on May 14, 2008 (gmt 0)



The following message was cut out to new thread by bill. New thread at: asia_pacific_search_engines/3649403.htm [webmasterworld.com]
1:03 pm on May 14, 2008 (jst +9)
9:00 am on May 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My two cents (I am based in Shanghai). Stick to the international name but with a .cn . Using pinyin or IDN would not do any good and won't make you appear more "Chinese" at all. Having an international background will actually be your biggest asset here.

Chinese actually don't care much about the domain name, the most important point is to find a good "name" for your site, since in China this are two different things (although some sites have the same name and url). You will need someone who is Chinese AND has a good marketing sense to come up with a name that Chinese will remember. Because most people will search for the name, not type in your url.

Secondly make sure to host in China, it helps for rankings (Baidu, Google China) and furthermore access to sites hosted out of China is incredibly slow from here. So if your main audience is China find a host in the country.


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