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For instance, do country-specific sites and/or search engines give more weight to sites under a specific country level TLD?

Or, do country-specific TLDs exist just to increase the WWW namespace and provide window dressing to websites that are focused to a specific country?

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I don't think that search engines give more weight to sites under a specific country level TLD.They are only good if you like to market in that specific country –  user24189 Mar 14 '13 at 9:28
    
Thinking is basically a good thing, knowing based on facts and citable sources is better. What you state is simply wrong, read searchengineland.com/…, seomoz.org/q/…, highervisibility.com/blog/do-local-tlds-matter-in-seo and of course this youtu.be/R7Yv6DzHBvE?t=36m24s –  DKOATED Mar 14 '13 at 14:58
    
@DKOATED: This isn't Wikipedia; we don't require every statement to have a reference. And even if we did, citing another Q&A forum as one of your sources is a bit silly. In any case, all of the links you cited seem to back up Funny Images' statement that search engines don't weight TLDs. Google uses ccTLDs as a potential geolocation indicator, but a .com hosted in China, serving Chinese content, or with the right geotargeting setting in GWT will be equally weighted. –  Lèse majesté Mar 15 '13 at 0:13
    
@Lèsemajesté I was referring to his statement that "[ccTLDs] are only good if you like to market in that specific country". That's simply wrong ... hence bit.ly would only market their app in libya? –  DKOATED Mar 15 '13 at 9:00
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I don't think it makes a difference unless the domain itself contains special (multibyte) characters, such as the ones recently approved by ICANN.

You can have a page with a .cn domain that is all in English, and it will turn up in English results. Additionally, I've seen lots of .us domains in Russian, Chinese, Spanish, etc.

What matters is the locale used when publishing, and vanity. If an e-commerce shop boasts "Located right in the heart of the UK!", then it would probably want a .co.uk domain. Then again, most US businesses would want .com domains, rather than .us.

The other use is organizing your network. Servers in the US might be servername.foo.us, where servers in China might be servername.foo.cn, especially if redirection based on geo location is in use.

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In addition to this, many newer sites like to use country suffixes for shorter versions of their URL for things like twitter. In example, flickr.com also owns flic.kr for offering short URL links to images hosted within their service. –  Soleil Jul 9 '10 at 13:43
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Another reason for getting the .us domain is to protect your business name. Even if you have widget.com, you should also get widget.us to prevent it use by another similar company, diluting the name.

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Ron, what about .net, .org, .de, .es, .nu, .cc, .co.uk, .nu, .ly, .la, .gg, .gd, .am, .is, .io, etc. etc.? It just doesn't make sense to register domains to get these of the market. There are just too many... –  DKOATED Mar 15 '13 at 9:02
    
That's where the UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) comes in –  adam Mar 20 '13 at 15:11
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