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Would owning a .ca (as oppose to a .com) really hurt potential international business?
Seeing as most of my potential business will be in the US, it's pretty much a bad move to get a .ca domain eh?
hurt potential international business?
Hurt in what way?
If you want to pretend to be an American based company, then a .ca obviously won't do the trick.
If you are worried about getting high rankings for US based searches - I get most of my traffic and buyers from the US and run my site as a .ca The rankings I get on .com are usually the same as what I get on .ca ... and I am happy with my position above the fold on page one. (It is a Canadian site for a Canadian business.)
Are there other issues that might hurt your business?
Well the reason I am bring this up is because I remember others mentioning that they use IP targetting to alter the pricing on their products for US customers. People also said it helps to make your site look as 'american' based as possible.
Having a .ca is pretty blatant :)
If I am selling a brand name product that they can buy at other US based stores, won't I just be giving away sales by running on a .ca? (Ofcourse some could just go to my about page, but that is a little more discrete)
Do American internet shoppers prefer to make purchases from a (supposedly American).com rather than a (supposedly Canadian) .ca website?
Looking at that from "up here", it is interesting to note that I have seen no evidence (among my friends etc) that they prefer a .ca over a .com for their internet shopping. However that may not be the case for US shoppers.
Interesting questions for a rapidly globalizing internet marketplace...
Is that going to affect my shipping costs? What about the price of the item itself?
Now, I know that in your case - costs are going to be the same whether it's a .com or .ca, but I probably wouldn't realize it or think about it until checkout with a .com whereas with a .ca - it would be one of the first things on my mind.
So I'm not sure if it would make a whole lot of a difference - but it's something to think about. If people are going to automatically think that shipping costs, etc are going to be much higher - then they're probably not going to shop there. If you've got a .com, which somewhat masks that fear, by the time you get to checkout (unless the shipping costs are just absolutely outrageous) then you're not going to be bothered by it as much.
Hope this helps.