Other domain names in Canada have enjoyed a stable, albeit comparatively low, market share since 2008. Collectively, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, and .BIZ account for less than 15 per cent of the Canadian domain name market.
In 2013, CIRA began offering .CA domain names that use the following French language characters: é, ë, ê, è, â, à, æ, ô, œ, ù, û, ü, ç, î, ï, ÿ. Known as internationalized domain names (IDNs), the inclusion of these characters make .CA a truly bilingual domain name. There are 426 .CA IDNs registered around the world to date.
This is an indication of a significant change underway on the Internet. As it becomes more accessible by non-English speaker – either through improved access of IDNs – the prominence of the English language on the Internet will diminish. While it is the dominant language on the Internet today, the English-speaking world will soon make up a small minority of the online population.
Canadians tend to relate to .CA’s core brand values of safety and security, and often prefer to use .CA to represent themselves as Canadian online. CIRA’s research shows that Canadians prefer .CA over .COM for personal use by a factor of more than three to one. However, preference for .COM has increased slightly since 2012, with fewer people responding that the domain name ‘wouldn’t matter’ for their personal use.
The same pattern can be seen with Canadian small and medium size enterprises domain name preference for business use. Half of the Canadians surveyed who expressed a preference said that they prefer .CA over .COM for business use. Again, preference for .COM is increasing in this category, but also at the expense of those who would state that the domain name doesn’t matter for business use.
As Canadians spend more and more of their lives online, they see the value of .CA as their online identifier. A study by EKOS Research Associates found that Canadians are more attached to their country than the people of any other advanced democracy on Earth. It’s no surprise, then, that 87 per cent of Internet users stated that it is ‘somewhat important’ or ‘very important’ for Canadians to have a .CA. This has been consistent for as long as CIRA has been tracking this information (in 2011, 88 per cent said it was important, and in 2012, 89 per cent said it was important).
While Canadians don’t generally express a preference for a particular TLD for most activities, they do for those activities that require them to provide personal information online, like shopping and banking. This is not surprising, since safety and security are among the top brand attributes Canadian Internet users assign to .CA.
Canadians also expressed a strong preference for .CA websites for activities like research, accessing government services and getting involved with community organizations. This is likely due to the fact that 58 per cent of Canadians associate .CA with Canadian organizations.
More than 7-in-10 internet users agree that they prefer to support Canadian businesses whenever possible.
CIRA’s research shows that .CA makes a good choice for businesses that wish to have an online presence. In fact, more than 70 per cent of online Canadians say that they prefer to support Canadian businesses, whenever possible. And, two thirds of Canadians believe that Canadian businesses and organizations should use .CA websites.
More than half of all Canadians prefer .CA websites over .COM ones because they know .CA is Canadian, again likely due to .CA’s attributes of safety and security.
CIRA has made significant efforts in the past five years to become a ‘customer-focussed’ organization. The results of these efforts are evident:
Source: The Strategic Counsel, Tracking Research, March 2013
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a critical piece of Internet infrastructure, matching user-friendly domain names (like cira.ca) with its computer-friendly Internet protocol address (like 220.127.116.11).
CIRA’s .CA DNS handled an average of 669 million queries per day in 2012-2013. This number is similar to the number of queries reported by CIRA in 2011-12; though presenting DNS queries over time is problematic. Queries spike and drop for a number of reasons – from denial of service attacks to spam – so year to year comparisons are not meaningful.
While significant, it’s interesting to note that this represents just a fraction of the activity on the Internet. Globally, Google public DNS alone processes more than 70 billion requests per day.
With that much Internet activity – and much of it tied to the global economy – it is no surprise that there are people and organizations who intend to profit from it in nefarious ways.
Cyber-crime is an increasing problem around the world, and Canada is certainly not immune.
Norton reported that in 2013, cyber-crime cost Canadians $3 billion, up by more than double from $1.4 billion the year before.
In 2013, Canada achieved the dubious distinction of becoming one of the top 10 nations for websites hosting malware. It should be noted that this refers to websites hosted in Canada, not specifically websites with a .CA TLD.
In an effort to create a safer web experience for Canadians, CIRA has undertaken several initiatives to secure the .CA registry and .CA websites. CIRA reached an important milestone in one of these initiatives, with the implementation of DNSSEC in 2013.
DNSSEC is the most advanced set of international security extension specifications available. It helps improve the security of the DNS system by ensuring information transferred over the Internet is authentic. All TLDs are increasingly implementing DNSSEC within their registries to enhance security against the ever-evolving threats posed by cybercriminals around the world.
In Canada, CIRA has built, tested and deployed the underlying infrastructure and processes to be able to offer a signed .CA zone to customers and users. CIRA has implemented DNSSEC support within the .CA registry, and down the road, will work with members of the Canadian Internet community to ensure the full implementation of DNSSEC at their system levels.