Search engine visibility: the effect of generic top-level domain choice.
Hamdulay, Z. & Weideman, M.
Proceedings in the 8th Annual Conference on WWW Applications. 5-8 September. Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Hamdulay, Z. & Weideman, M.
The principle objective of this research project is to determine whether or not search engines rank websites in dot-com domains higher than alternative generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The research question is: Should websites in these other gTLDs have to increase their marketing exposure of their websites?
The methods to be employed in this research project are to build separate websites each having domain names in different gTLDs, e.g. mysite.com, mysite.net, mysite.biz etc. The content on all websites will be identical and will be submitted to major local and international search engines. Each website will be search engine crawler-friendly and will include title tags in hyperlinks, alt tags in graphics, definitive webpage titles and keyword phrases in the meta tags etc.
Expected results from the methods employed above could prove that websites in dot-com domains are ranked higher than alternative gTLDs by search engine crawlers. Further outcomes could also prove that websites in alternative gTLDs have to spend more money when branding their websites to Internet users.
This study is intended to make website owners aware of the importance of choosing the appropriate URL to increase website visibility on the Internet.
- Amir, Y., Massey, D. & Tutu, C. 2003. A new look at the old domain system. [Online]. Available WWW: www.cnds.jhu.edu/pub/papers/cnds-2003-2.pdf (Accessed 26 August 2005).
- Andrus, W. 2003. Domain-specific search engine. [Online]. Available WWW: www.cs.sunyit.edu/~andrusw/projects.html (Accessed 3 April 2006).
- Anonymous. 2000. How much information? [Online]. Available WWW: www.sims.berkeley.edu/research/projects/how-much-info/internet.html (Accessed 18 May 2006).
- Apke, T. 2003. Legal strategies in resolving domain name disputes. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 103(5):332-338.
- Bekker, J. & Van der Merwe, R. 2003. A framework and methodology for evaluating e- commerce web sites. Internet Research Electronic Networking Application and Policy, 13(5):330-341.
- Berners-Lee, T. 2004. World Wide Web Consortium, New Top Level Domains Considered Harmful. [Online]. Available WWW: www.w3.org/DesignIssues/TLD (Accessed 18 April 2006).
- Brighty, M. & Markham, D. 2002. Winning e-brand strategies - developing your on-line business profitability. USA: Spiro Press.
- Chau, M., Chen, H., Qin, J., Zhou, Y., Qin, Y., Sung, W. & McDonald, D. 2002. Comparison of two approaches to building a vertical search tool: a case study in the Nanotechnology domain. In: Proceedings of the Second ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL'02), Portland, Oregon, 14-18 July 2002, New York: ACM Press, 135-144.
- Cho, J., Garcia-Molina, H. & Page, L. 1998. Efficient crawling through URL ordering. In: Proceedings of the 7th International World Wide Web Conference, Brisbane, Australia. Available WWW: www.dbpubs.stanford.edu:8090/pub/1998-51 (Accessed 3 April 2006).
- George, P. 2004. Who runs the .gov and .edu domains? [Online]. Available WWW: searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3106221 (Accessed 25 April 2006).
- Green, D. 2000. The evolution of Web searching. Online Information Review, 24(2):124-137.
- Gritter, M. 2002. Stanford University, Segregating content by name: Legislation and Technology. [Online]. Available WWW: www.stanford.edu/~mgritter/domain- policy/legislating-content-segregation.html (Accessed 18 August 2005).
- Hart, T. & Rolletschek, G. 2003. The challenges of regulating the Web. Info, 5(5):6-24. Lawrence, S. & Giles, L. 1999. Accessibility and distribution of information on the Web.
- Nature, 400:107-109.
- Manber, U., Smith, M. & Gopal, B. 1997. WebGlimpse - Combining browsing and searching. In: Proceedings of the Usenix 1997 Annual Technical Conference, 6-10 January 1997, Anaheim, California.
- McCallum, A., Nigam, K., Rennie, J. & Seymore, K. 1999. A machine learning approach to building domain-specific search engines. In: Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. IJCAI-99. [Online]. Available WWW: www.ri.cmu.edu/pub_files/pub1/mccallum_andrew_1999_1/mccallum_andrew_1999_1. pdf (Accessed 3 April 2004).
- Melville, A.L. 2000. New cybersquatting law brings mixed reactions from trademark owners. Journal of Science and Technology, 6(13).
- Murnane, L.G. 2003. The invisible Web: What search engines can't find and why. [Online]. Available WWW: www.lib.umd.edu/groups/digref/laura.html (Accessed 23 April 2006).
- Nilsen, J.O. 2002. Mixing oil with water - Resolving the differences between domain names and trademark laws. Journal of high technology law, 1(1):47-62.
- Nguyen, X.T. 2001. Shifting the paradigm in e-commerce: move over inherently distinctive trademarks - the e-brand, i-brand and generic domain names ascending into power? American University Law Review, 50:937-970.
- OECD. 2004. Generic top level domain names: market development and allocation issues. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. [Online]. Available WWW: www.oecd.org/LongAbstract/0,2546,en_2649_37441_32996952_119666_1_1_37441,0 0.html (Accessed 21 August 2005).
- Oyama, S., Kokubo, T. & Ishida, T. 2004. Domain-specific web search with keyword spices. Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions, 16(1):17-27.
- Panwar-Mridul, M. 2003. The impact of new generic top level domains on trademarks. e-Law: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, 10(1):6-24.
- Partridge, M. 1997. A review of recent trademarks and unfair competition cases in the U.S. IDEA: The Journal of Law and Technology, 38(57).
- Schmitz, S.W. & Sint, P.P. 2003. B2C eCommerce strategy and market structure: The survey based approach. Industrial Organization. [Online]. Available WWW: www.ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpio/0301012.html (Accessed 1 March 2006).
- Schuler, D.K & Kurtz, J.M. 2002. An Internet opportunity for museums: '.museum'.
International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 7(1):13-18.
- Stojanovski, J. 2001. Search engines in-depth. In: Proceedings of the CUC 2000: Quest for information Conference, Zagreb. [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.carnet.hr/cuc/cuc2000/radovi/prezentacije/F/F2/f2_f.pdf (Accessed 13 April 2006).
- Sullivan, D. 2005. Nielsen netratings search engine ratings. [Online]. Available WWW: www.searchenginewatch.com/reports/article.php/2156451 (Accessed 2 January 2006).
- Sumner, R.G., Yang, K. & Dempsey, B. 1998. An interactive WWW search engine for user-defined collections. In: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Conference on Digital Libraries, Pennsylvania, USA, June 1998: 307-308.
- Thurow, S. 2003. Search engine visibility. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders.
- Verisign. 2004. The domain name industry brief. The Verisign domain report, 1(4).
- Weideman, M. and Chambers, R. 2005. The application of best practice towards improving website visibility to search engines: an empirical pilot study. South African Journal of Information Management, 7(4). [Online]. Available WWW: http://www.sajim.co.za. (Accessed 2 February 2006).
- Weideman, M. 2001. Internet Searching as a study aid for Information Technology and Information Systems learners at a tertiary level. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cape Town.
- Weideman, M. & Moncrief, M. 2000. The status quo of technical management issues underlying the .co.za domains: a literature survey. Unpublished Working Paper.
- Weinberg, J. 2002. ICANN, 'Internet stability,' and new top level domains.
Communications Policy and Information Technology: Promises, Problems, Prospects.
[Online]. Available WWW: www.law.wayne.edu/weinberg/icannetc.pdf (Accessed 15 April 2006).
- Zhang, J., and Dimitroff, A. 2005. The impact of webpage content characteristics on webpage visibility in search engine results (part I). Information Processing and Management: an International Journal, 41(3):665-690.