How the global aspirations of companies are revealed via their digital footprints

What do Google, Amazon and Atlassian all have in common? 

From the onset, they each have a common aspiration of global scale built-in to their name:

  • Google is named after a large number known as a googol that was itself a term made up by a nine-year old girl as a label for 1 with 100 zeros (10100). Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin borrowed the term, to suggest the unfathomably large number of results their search engine could provide.
  • Amazon is named after the largest river in the world. While it wasn’t founder Jeff Bezos’s original choice (initially favoring Cadabra and Relentless) he chose Amazon as it is “not only the largest river in the world, it’s many times larger than the next biggest river. It blows all other rivers away.”
  • Atlassian is named by its founders after the Greek titan famous for holding-up the sky up to keep it from falling. According to its co-founders, Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes they chose this moniker to convey their intent to provide global support and legendary service.

A sense of ambition and global scale is the hallmark of many tech-sector startups. Previously this may have been revealed by number of patents lodged, trademark registrations or simply the number of offices they opened worldwide. Now however, it is now possible to see this by looking at a company’s digital footprint.

Can we measure the scale of a company’s global ambition?

Yes, we now can. In an article last year by founder Gary Brewer revealed the domains with the largest number of country-level redirects. You can see in this list many global brands such as IBM, Red Bull and Rolex are among the companies with the most country-level redirects.  A country-level redirections are when a company registers a domain within one of the original top level country domains such as Rolex in the UK (; Switzerland ( or France ( but point those to another site serving a global audience such as

Some companies, however, with massive global footprints such as Amazon, Google and Visa are notable absences from this list. Rather than redirect customers to a single domain they may run separate domains for each country for example Amazon runs separate websites in each jurisdiction they operate in outside the US for example in the UK this is, and in Germany it is, and in Australia

Fortunately, the family connections between these separately operating domains are also visible by examining common technology and tools used by families of related domains.

Using both approaches, my colleagues and I combined counts of how many country-level redirects and country-level related domains each of the world’s top ten thousand websites (using the tranco-ranked list) have. We tallied the total domains for each brand came up with a list of the World’s leading brands – ranked by the total number of countries their online presence covers.  The study covers all brands but excludes user generated content services such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Who are the most global online brands?

Not surprisingly, Google tops this new list that features many familiar names from the pantheon of global brands including those known for their online services (such as TripAdvisor #2, Airbnb #4, Amazon #11) and those better known for their offline products and services (such as HSBC #7, 3M #9, Porsche #17). There are also a few brands that may not be so familiar to many readers including the Romanian antivirus company Bitdefender (#6), Olx (#3) an online classifieds platform active in many markets owned by South African web juggernaut Naspers and the unified communications and collaboration company Poly (#16) who were formed from the merger of Plantronics and Polycom in 2019.

In this photo illustration the Shopee logo is seen displayed...
Shopee is among the most global brands online today.

Top 20 global brands ranked by online footprint

  1. Google
  2. Tripadvisor
  3. Olx
  4. Airbnb
  5. Pinterest
  6. Bitdefender
  7. HSBC
  8. Skyscanner
  9. 3M
  10. Nokia Corporation
  11. Amazon
  12. Nestlé
  13. Philips
  14. Red Bull
  15. Volvo
  16. Poly
  17. Porsche
  18. Emirates
  19. Intel
  20. Opera

Here’s the link to the Full Top 100 brands list that includes Shopee (#32) the Singapore-based shopping platform that is active in many markets outside the anglosphere throughout South East Asia and South America.

Source: Forbes

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