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Should preferred domain be www.example.com or example.com?

I run a simple test to see what the top Alexa ranked sites prefer.

     
4:29 am on Jun 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I wrote a simple program to go through the first X hostnames in the alexa top million list, and query the sitedossier.com database to compare the count of inbound links pointing to www.example.com versus example.com. Here are the results showing the winners.

(Note that if either version of the hostname has less than 10 referers the site is excluded.)

Top 100:
www.example.com: 85 (86.7%)
example.com: 13

Top 1,000:
www.example.com: 758 (86.3%)
example.com: 120

Top 10,000:
www.example.com: 4,989 (84.6%)
example.com: 902
tied: 3

Top 100,000:
www.example.com: 20,371 (79.8%)
example.com: 5,090
tied: 63

There's a clear winner in all instances!
7:02 am on June 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes, it is a neat convention that most sites have adopted, and which does not have to affect the branding in any way.

We all know it as Google or Google.com, but if you type that in your browser address bar, they redirect you to www. google.com.

The same applies for the vast majority of sites, all over the world.
8:42 am on June 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The aim of the test was to decide which way the convention went in the real world. I see a lot of TV ads that mention "example.com", so I was curious whether this was actually the preferred domain, or whether it was just a shortcut to the "true" hostname.

Based on this test (and a bit of personal bias after using the net for several years) I'll now be 301'ing mydomain.com to www.mydomain.com.