Just the other day while watching TV, I happened to be channel surfing and an interesting thing occurred.
As I was trying to make myself a birdie and fly far away from the captivity of toddler cartoons, I happened to land on Dr. Charles Stanley’s, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in northern Atlanta, Georgia, InTouch Ministries TV segment.
As I’ve read a few of Dr. Stanley’s books, heard his son Andy speak a time or two, and caught a few of Dr. Stanley’s sermons, I decided to allow channel surfing to cease once I realized it was him.
And before we go any further, No, I’m not going to pepper you with his sermon (although it was good enough to share, as it is always).
But as Dr. Stanley taught and shared the word of God, I was attentively listening when a domain name flashed onto the screen in the lower left-hand corner.
Of course, I rushed to grab my phone because I wanted to capture a religious organization making using of a shortened version of their name, or so I thought.
I was surprised to see Dr. Stanley’s InTouch Ministries using InTouch.org (see below).
.org domains tend to be commonly used by schools, open-source projects, communities, and non-profit and religious organizations. And believe it or not, .org domains have also been used by for-profit entities too.
Should I register the matching .com although I’m using a non .com domain?
Personally, I’ve always been a big .com fan, although I’ve owned and currently a handful of .org, .net and new domain extensions too. But I digress.
As much as I attempted to focus on the sermon being delivered, my mind couldn’t help but to wonder the following:
- Does InTouch Ministries own the .com?
- Does InTouch Ministries own it’s full name in the .org and .com?
I quickly found the answer to both questions by opening a web browser and typing the domains.
It didn’t raise my eyebrow at all to see that InTouch.com was owned by someone else. It was nothing more than a simple under construction splash page.
However, I was glad to see that the .com and .org versions of InTouch Ministries were both redirected to InTouch.org. It’s great that they defensively registered both the .org and .com of their full name.
Now if they could use Google Analytics to track how many persons are being redirected from each domain to InTouch.org, then they’ll see how often the domains are used (also known as domain type-in traffic).
What, there are more domain names than ones that use English?
What surprised me more was after seeing InTouch.org flash on the screen, then another domain replaced it: EnContacto.org.
At this point, I couldn’t tell you what his sermon was about (sorry Dr. Stanley) as I had lost all attention in my excitement of seeing the use of multilingual domain names, specifically a Spanish domain name.
I personally would have never guessed a church to be forward-thinking in the area of domain names to make effective use of multilingual domain names to advance their ministry. Don’t ask me why either.
But just as I did with the english version of their domain name, I ran a few searches to see what would happen if I replaced .org with .com and then again typing “MinisteriosEnContacto” followed by .com and .org.
Encontacto.com and MinisteriosEnContacto.org are registered domains that are parked and display pay-per-click ad links. I was shocked to find is that MinisteriosEnContacto.com is available for purchase.
Jesus take the wheel, because someone must be asleep at it not registering and redirecting the domain to Encontacto.org. 😀
This simple oversight really baffles me quite a bit when I see companies that miss defensively registering their full name domain name, especially when it’s a .com domain name.
Although InTouch Ministries doesn’t own all variations of their name shortened or in full length, the bright side is that they do own and actively use both InTouch.org and Encontacto.org.
Both domains are fully developed websites with content rendered in their respective language of choice.
Why would I care to use a multilingual domain name?
For one, there is an increasing number of countries coming online for the first time with English not being their language of choice.
Allowing an individual to use the Internet, including typing a domain name, in their native language lowers the barrier of entry and level of expertise needed. More importantly, it creates a positive experience for the end user of your website.
Personally, I like InTouch’s use of both domains being developed with their respective content.
Now one could argue that only one website and domain are needed, and that visitors could simply use a web browser plugin or language option for localizing the website to their language of choice.
But I like how InTouch Ministries has found a practical way for multilingual domain usage in their collateral as well as throughout the presentation of their ministry in its entirety.
As I close, my only suggestion for companies and organizations willing to execute a multilingual domain strategy using a .com domain is that companies MUST own the .com and respective domain extension variations of their selected names, whether shortened or abbreviated.
P.S. Later in the day, I passed through the living room and the channel had not be changed. I saw InTouch making use of directories in a televised ad for InTouch Alaska Cruise and quickly snapped a pic of it.