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24-hour Domains in Media and E-commerce

The following article deals with a broad spectrum of issues on web domain names. In particular, the aspect dealing with 24-hour web pages has been developed, which use the ending "24" in various forms. The e-commerce implications were addressed in relation to a different way of defining 24-hour sites on the international arena.

For the introduction

A few months ago I noticed a relatively significant oversight from the American websites. My research has shown that the naming of 24-hour portals varies depending on the region. American sites use the abbreviation "24" and create the domains: "example24.com", while Europe and other countries tend to have a more detailed description: "example24h.com".

One could say that the United States assumes that readers are so proficient in the internet world that they understand the brevity. The shorter name is also practical in nature, as it guarantees more efficient and faster identification of domains in search engines. Such web address is also easier to remember by users.

Portal owners in other countries use more accurate naming, leaning towards the trend that users would not recognize the "24" short form, or at least a significant part of them. Therefore, optimality and legibility are preferred over brevity.

To understand which approach is more effective, I have analysed the rules for creating domain names and here are some of the most relevant practices and examples of international sites. I am discussing the development of e-commerce and the associated financial implications for well-constructed and searched websites and online stores.

Briefly about domains

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (www.merriam-webster.com), the internet domain is a sequence of alphanumeric characters (such as "Merriam-Webster.com") which defines a group of online resources (e.g. a specific company or person) and forms part of corresponding internet addresses. From a more technical side, the domain is a sequence of names of the Domain Name System (DNS), consisting of the main name and the ending (the so-called "extension"). The main name is the name of a given organization, institution or initiative, while the extension refers to geopolitical aspects (e.g., .us, .eu), type of organization (eg .org, .com) or the nature of the activity (e.g., .hotel,. blog).

As the definition suggests, domain names form a hierarchy that is necessary for cataloguing and organizing data over the internet protocol (IP). The contents of letters, numbers and characters can be varied, although small and capital letters are not distinguishable.

How to create domain names?

There are many guides and articles on best practices when creating the name of a new Internet domain. Andrea Rowland recommends on the "GoDaddy Garage Blog" (www.godaddy.com) to remember that your domain name is your identity on the web; Therefore, you should ensure that when choosing a domain, it should not only fit your company profile, but it also should be easy to find and promote.

The name should be catchy, not too long, clear and easy to remember. When creating a new site, words that would generate ambivalent associations or understatements should be avoided. Too much abbreviation and the use of acronyms can cause misunderstanding of the page name and lead to lack of optimality when finding the address by search engines. Simplicity is therefore of a value here.

When creating a name, you can assist yourself with the use of special applications and programs. Meet Matt on the blog "Digital.com" (https://digital.com) gives a ranking of several examples of domain name generators that can help you choose the perfect internet domain.

What about the “round-the-clockers”?

Companies offering services and products in the 24-hour mode often add the abbreviation "24" or "24h" to emphasize the 24-hour service availability. It is a marketing element popular among information portals (in the press, TV, etc.) or institutions, where availability 24 hours a day is justified, such as among medical facilities, taxi networks or pizza delivery services.

Nevertheless, the fact is that some business owners are abusing the "24" ending by adding it to pages, where the round-the-clock availability is not of much importance or necessity, e.g. "crocheting24" or "yoghurt24". Therefore, if the offer does not apply to all-day-round availability, you should give up the popular suffix.

Tabloidization of American “round-the-clockers”

As an internet surfer, I noticed a trend that, while in Europe and other countries around the world frequently more descriptive naming of 24/7 sites is used and the "h" ending to the number "24" is added, in American culture a simplified version is used.

According to my survey, the majority of consumers read the names of individual portals in the following way:

www.example.com - home page

www.example24.com - example number 24 (in the US 24-hour service)

www.example24h.com - the home page of the 24-hour service, along with information about the contact and full customer service (in the US, it is used occasionally).

Some consumers also use 24/7 and 365 abbreviations, which are recognizable in the vast majority of areas, although less frequently used.

Perhaps this trend has to do with the avalanche tabloidization of the media in the United States, and hence - with the simplification of reality, one-sided relation of events and a superficial approach to the issues discussed. It is not surprising, therefore, that Americans prefer a concise "24" and eliminate the risk that readers will understand the name ambiguously. European users, in a sense, expect a more complete description.

24h around the world

For example, a well-known American television series titled '24' has been translated in many non-English speaking countries as '24h' or '24 hours' (e.g. in French, Spanish, Polish). It is the action TV series with some elements of drama, which was broadcasted in the period of 2001-2010 by Fox TV. The title, however, is the most adequate, as the action takes place in real time, namely the individual episodes of the series cover an hour after hour the lives of the characters. It is worth mentioning that the series has been honoured with prestigious awards, such as Golden Globes and Emmy Awards.

Going further, the Swiss-French-language newspaper published in Lausanne in Vaud, founded in 1762 and being the oldest newspaper in the world with an uninterrupted publication, is called "24 hours" and its internet domain is www.24heures.ch. Radio France Internationale (RFI), a French state radio station broadcasting in Paris and around the world reports on the latest news at the web portal "www.rfi.fr/last_24h". It should be mentioned that the station boasts having over 35 million listeners and is one of the most popular international stations in the world. Car races, however, are being reported at www.24hseries.com.

There are many examples to mention. However the noticeable tendency is that in the non-American media the use of the expanded form "24" is preferred, by adding the letter "h" or using the full word "hour".

Financial Implications

The conclusion therefore arises as follows. If American companies want to make their website available globally, they should adapt to non-US consumer habits and use a more descriptive naming of their domains. Then their portals will be better searched and remembered by European customers. By the way, expansion can also have a global character. As a result, greater visibility on the market will increase the chances of generating more income from the offered services.

To support this statement, it is worth quoting several facts from the statistics carried out by the E-commerce Foundation (www.ecommercefoundation.org). Namely, since online shopping has entered the retail market, a significant number of companies have introduced their products and services to the web. Since 2010, there has been a steady increase in businesses entering e-commerce. Large enterprises in 80% of cases already their own websites. The trend indicates that more and more income is generated via the Internet.

Society on the web

In line with this year's European E-Commerce Report (www.ecommercefoundation.org/download-free-reports), the European population is growing every year - from 799.5 million (2013) to 811.7 million in 2018, and therefore the number of potential customers is growing. Internet penetration is on an upward trend, from 77.63% of users to 83.11% in 2018. Online purchases in some countries reach the level of 82%.

Looking at the data of the most popular international online stores, Amazon ranks first, reaching 25% of the market internationally, where in 2017 net income in North America reached USD 106.11 billion, in other countries as much as 54.3 billion, or over 51%.

Strategically speaking, Amazon and Alibaba (14% of their e-commerce market) focus on increasing investments in the development of e-commerce technologies and the development of the global market. International purchases are becoming more and more popular, as internet companies are eagerly looking for sales in lucrative markets. In total - 38% of buyers making purchases over the Internet ordered from the stores outside their home country.

More on e-commerce

The future of e-commerce can be seen in bright colours, looking at age trends, as young people and students are more and more willing to purchase products via the Internet (from 61% in 2014 to 70% in 2017). People with third level education definitely prefer e-stores (as many as 82% of regular clients). Therefore, it is worth to pay attention to your image and brand on the web and to take care of practical values such as searchability and functionality of the website.

What kinds of products do Internet users buy most? According to the data from 2017 in Europe, the main focus is on the clothing and sport market (36%), tourism (31%) and computer (31%). According to the 2016 measurements, North America chooses financial services (25.4%), Asia and the Pacific - mobile telephony (28.3%), Latin America consumer electronics (27.4%), and the Middle East alike (15.2%).

The future of domain creation

In summary, e-commerce is gaining popularity year by year. Society is more and more present on the web and this tendency seems to be irreversible.

Thanks to publicly available market research and user behaviour analysis on the Internet, domain owners can easily follow the current trends of Internet users. Considering the growing role of the online market, it is worth making every effort to ensure that the created names of portals are adequate, understandable and easy to search. The underestimation of domain names significance can have far-reaching consequences for the activities of a given institution or individual entities.

The essence of accurately identifying 24-hour portals is of growing importance. Nomenclature rules differ in terms of national preferences and when expanding internationally, an analysis of foreign practices should be undertaken. It would be a negligence to use local methods of naming in regions where they are non-communicative. Therefore, if the "24" endings are not understood in the global arena, American domain owners should bother adding the letter "h". Consumers prefer services where sellers meet their expectations. Since users are more likely to enter "24h" on Google, it is worth having prudence and working on your domain.