I'm in the process of consolidating several sites into one. Content that previously lived at http://example.co.uk/ will now live at http://example.com/uk/, content from http://example.fr/ will move to http://example.com/fr/, etc.
There are many technical reasons for making this change, but I'm coming up against opposition from local marketing teams who claim that having .co.uk or .fr (and consequently a national identity) in the URL has powerful emotive value for users, and that moving away from it will hurt adoption and conversion.
So I have four questions:
Has anyone ever had manage this type of transition?
Is there some reference data you found (or generated) that helped in your decision?
Can anyone suggest a reasonably practicable way that I might test the effect of a CCTLD on customer behaviour (without necessarily doing a site-wide A/B test)?
Or, can anyone recommend a reputable forum that's more focused on conversion rate and influencing factors?