Back in May, we reported that British national daily newspaper the Guardian was planning to create a new global online identity, one that would serve as a home for its various digital properties around the world. This portal would be hosted at TheGuardian.com.
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Each local incarnation is navigable via a little ‘Edition’ box at the top of the site, and takes you to a /UK, /US or /AU page based on your preference. It will, of course, default to the country-specific edition based on your location.
The Guardian was founded in 1821, and was known as ‘The Manchester Guardian’ until 1959. Guardian.co.uk landed in January 1999, an online portal that hosted the whole Guardian Unlimited network of sites, which included News Unlimited, Football Unlimited, Cricket Unlimited and Jobs Unlimited. Later additions to the network include Film Unlimited, Education, Books, Shopping and Money.
In 2008, the Guardian Unlimited brand was replaced simply by Guardian.co.uk, which also served as the domain for its Sunday title The Observer. In 2011, GuardianNews.com was launched for the US market, before adding the Australia edition in May this year.
Though the Guardian is primarily a UK newspaper, only a third of its online visitors are based in the UK which is why it’s looking to capitalize on its international presence. Indeed, it’s an easy-win for a publication looking to increase click-through-rates (CTRs) – there’s an online population of billions, but only 60 million in the UK.
And having a single domain for all its properties simplifies things significantly. It seems the Guardian is looking to adapt its online model to mirror something like UK tabloid the Daily Mail which operates MailOnline – a single-identity .co.uk website that lays claim to being the world’s highest-trafficked newspaper website.
According to the latest comScore figures, The Guardian’s website drew in 40.5 million unique visitors in June 2013, and its recent coverage of the Edward Snowden-led NSA leaks will likely have played a big part in this.
“Our agenda-setting NSA revelations in recent months – resulting in record Web traffic and generating more hits from the US than the UK for the first time – proves that we are a truly global media brand, and that there is a worldwide appetite and market for our unique combination of open journalism, digital storytelling and investigative excellence,” says Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media.
In addition to the local editions, the Guardian’s mobile site will now be available via the new .com domain too.