.CA was created in 1987, when it was delegated to John Demco at the University of British Columbia by Jon Postel. Until CIRA took over managing the .CA registry 13 years later, it was run by a group of volunteers who built the foundation for future growth.

Online users regard .CA as honest, safe, trusted, and secure, and above all else Canadian. And that matters, as a total of 69 per cent of online users in Canada say businesses and organizations should use a .CA website. The majority, 62 per cent, of online users not only wants to support Canadian businesses, but say that .CA is important and should be used by Canadian businesses online. Clearly Canadians want to interact with and support other Canadians.

Growth in registrations of .CA over the last several years has been unprecedented. While it took 21 years to reach 1 million .CA domain namesA string of words used to identify computer addresses on the Internet. ‘cira.ca’ is an example of a domain name. registered, it only took 4 years to reach the second million (in November 2012). In research undertaken with Canadians, CIRA has created a snapshot of public sentiment toward .CA among the country's online citizens that helps explain why the domain is growing so fast.

Canadians strongly prefer .CA when it comes to either business (49 per cent for .CA versus 17 per cent for .COM) or personal use (54 per cent for .CA versus 10 per cent for .COM), particularly for such activities as banking, shopping and news gathering.

54% .ca vs 10% .com - personal website domain preference | 49% .ca vs 17% .com - business website domain preference
quotes-3

It took 21 years to reach 1 million .CA domain names; it only took 4 years to reach the second million

.CA growth rates and registrations, by calendar quarter.

The perceived attributes in which .CA outperforms .COM – its primary competitor – are critical to Canadian business. These attributes include, among others, Canadian, safe, secure, and trusted.

Aside from enjoying a strong brand identity in Canada, .CA is also successful among its Registrars and Registrants. .CA ranks considerably higher when it comes to recognition of being 'Canadian' – 92 per cent of Canadian Internet users describe it as such. A clear majority of .CA Registrants, 78 per cent, report they are satisfied or very satisfied with .CA. A vast majority of Registrars – 92 per cent – report satisfaction with CIRA. In terms of ensuring .CA continues to inhabit reasonably prominent 'shelf space', this figure is critical.

With .CA Registrars and Registrants reporting high satisfaction ratings across the board, support for .CA is strong. This suggests continued growth as more and more organizations see the benefit of choosing .CA. In fact, 89 per cent of online Canadians believe it is important for Canadians to have a .CA, and 75 per cent of them prefer to support Canadian businesses whenever possible.

quotes-3

89 per cent of Canadians believe it is important for Canadians to have a .CA

Registrar satisfaction

.CA is often described as the "Canadian flag on our digital backpack"

David Fowler
Director, Marketing and Communications, CIRA

While .CA has been performing very well in the domestic marketplace, a number of market forces will disrupt our industry over the next year.

The introduction of new gTLDs is the most significant change on the horizon. That said, consumer behavior is also changing the market in which we operate. This includes the increasing use of URL shortenersA service which makes a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) significantly shorter. The shortener uses an HTTP Redirect to link to the webpage contained on the long URL. Services have become a popular tool with the advent of social media and especially mobile computing, where space is valuable., QR codesA Quick Response Code (QR Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode. When scanned, the QR code generally links to media online, such as website. Popular as a marketing device in the commercial space., geotaggingThe process of attaching geographical identification metadata to various forms of media, such as videos, photographs and QR codes. Geotagged data will generally consist of latitude and longitude coordinates and may also place names and distance calculations. , and more intuitive browsers.

CIRA has gotten much more progressive at marketing .CA, and the payoff is evident. We have continued to gain ground against .COM, our primary competitor, and have managed to increase our domestic market share at its expense. Part of this growth is due to an increased sense of national pride among Canadians. This is evidenced by CIRA's ongoing customer research, but also by the day-to-day feedback CIRA receives via social media. .CA is often described as the 'Canadian flag on our digital backpack'.

Clearly, CIRA and .CA are well positioned to mitigate any negative effects of these disruptions, and capitalize on the positive effects, including a broader awareness of the importance of domain names.

As the above chart shows, .CA Growth rates and registrations, shows, domain name sales continue to grow. Furthermore, ccTLDs outperform their gTLD counterparts. While difficult to attribute to any one driver, this is likely a result of increased marketing activity on the part of ccTLDs, the diminishing available pool of available .COM domains and – at least in Canada – a growing national pride.

.CA market share - 5-year review

.CA domains by province

The regions in which the majority of .CA domain names are registered correlates, for the most part, with population and business density in the country.

Preference for .CA versus .COM - business use

Canadians strongly prefer .CA when it comes to either business (49 per cent for .CA versus 17 per cent for .COM) or personal use (54 per cent for .CA versus 10 per cent for .COM) of the internet, particulary banking, shopping and news gathering.

Preference for .CA versus .COM - personal use

Canadians strongly prefer .CA when it comes to either business (49 per cent for .CA versus 17 per cent for .COM) or personal use (54 per cent for .CA versus 10 per cent for .COM) of the internet, particulary banking, shopping and news gathering.

How important is it for Canadians to have .CA?

For Canadians who have a domain name preference, the majority of them prefer .CA over .COM for both business and personal use.

Domain preferences by activity

n=1,000 in 2012;

Top attributes for .CA

Total Internet Users (n=1,000)

Canadian businesses and organizations should use .CA for their websites

.CA performance - Registrant satisfaction