I work with a lot of Jersey businesses taking their first steps on the web.  For a new website, the domain name is still a very important marketing consideration.  A question that often pops up, is should I use a local .JE domain name?

In this short blog post, I take a look at the pros and cons of registering a domain with a Jersey or Guernsey suffix.

Pros of Channel Island domain names

Benefits of Channel Island domain suffixes:

1.  Local residents will recognise a .JE or .GG suffix as belonging to a locally run business.

2.  Huge availability of domain names.  Trying to find a short and catchy .com is not an easy business but with Channel Island domains the world is your oyster!

Cons of Channel Island Domain Names
Drawbacks of Channel Island domain suffixes:

1.  Google doesn’t recognise .JE or .GG as belonging to a search engine jurisdiction, so for example, they wouldn’t get prominence in Google.co.uk where as a .co.uk domain would.

2.  Channel Island domains cost more than a .com or .co.uk.  Where as you can easily pick up popular domain extensions for under £10, a Channel Island domain prices are £88 for the first year and £49 for subsequent years.

3.  The registration process for a .JE and .GG domain is long winded and it can take a day or two before the domain is in your hands.

4.  Any administrative changes to your Channel Island domain, such as change of nameserver or whois record takes time as it requires human approval in Alderney.

5.  A .JE or.GG domain is not really suitable for businesses that may expand into new geographic markets, as they not recognised by surfers outside of the Channel Islands.

Conclusion

As you can see on balance I tend not to recommend local domain suffixes but there are situations where they may be justified.  If you’ve still keen then pop on over to the Channel Islands Domain Registry and snap up yours now!

Do you have a Pro or Con I haven’t addressed?  Please share it on the comments below.

* Response from channelisles.net – 25th June 2012

The following was sent by Nigel Roberts, Director at ChannelIsles.net (the CI registrar) on 25th June 2012:

We’ve only just seen this article, but its a good overview and comes across as well-balanced. I’d have posted the below in the comments, but its too long.

There’s a couple of additional things that are worth mentioning Firstly, I have been assured by Google at a senior level that the primary drawback you mention at

(1) is not the case —  and if it ever was it’s been fixed some time back :-).  I happened to be in a meeting with them today when I saw this article — happy coincidence). They will check up — and will welcome any input in this regard (forward via me).

(2) is absolutely true. As a small registry, principally serving a small community the CI Registry does not have the economies of scale of a Nominet or Verisign.  But GBP 49.00 (that;s the direct price– registrars are cheaper) is not a lot for a serious e-commerce business, and as advantage (1) states this gets you premium names which are long unavailable in .COIM.  And it’s that pricing model that has as a fortunate accident resulted in our local domains not being overrun by domainers, the way .UK has been.

(3) is not the case, and has not been for some time. Since the automation of the registry, fully accreditted registrars can register your GG or JE name in real time, i.e. instaneously.

(4) is not the case either for registrar-managed domains which can be done in real time.

(5) is simply the inverse of advantage (1) of course.

If you want to pretend to be a US business, .COM is your domain of choice. Otherwise if you are proud to show your local Guernsey or Jersey connection, the choice is obvious.

Incidentally, there is one disadvantage you didn’t mention. If you are a pan-Island business — i.e. you operate in both Bailiwicks– then you must register twice or use a different domain (e.g. itex.gg and itex.je). Or you have to do something like the local TV company whose domain is registered in a South Pacific Island’s country code!!!

I always welcome input from anyone and discussions on how we can improve things. See www.channelisles.net for contact details

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