Meet .co – An old country code with a new twist

A few months ago I wrote about the world’s most dangerous country codes.

According to security firm McAfee, .cm is the most dangerous ccTLD because people frequently and incorrectly input .cm instead of .com. And they land on bogus web sites designed to capitalize on these mistakes.

Well, folks, get ready for another new typo-friendly country code: .co

Colombia owns the country code but has long deployed it along the lines of www.presidencia.gov.co or www.dell.com.co or panasonic.com.co.

This approach makes it next to impossible for someone inputting Panasonic.com to accidentally end up at Panasonic.com.co.

But what if you got rid of the .com?

Enter .CO Internet S.A.S — the registrar behind the new (old) domain. According to their web site:

Associated globally with the words “COmpany,” “COrporation” and “COmmerce” – the .CO domain is easy to recognize, simple to remember and flexible to use.

The sunrise registration period for trademark holders is going on now. In July the domain is expected to be available to everyone.

The registrar has begun a “founders” program to highlight early adopters of the domain. I like the idea but the execution underscores the real reason most companies will be registering .co.

The first founder profiled is Transitions (as in Transitions Lenses), which recently launched www.getsighted.CO.

What is not mentioned is that Transitions also registered www.getsighted.com (which redirects to .co).

In other words, .co isn’t replacing .com, just augmenting it, which is why most companies are going to register it. Many companies with a .com domain will want to lock in the .co equivalent to capture those folks (like me) who accidentally leave off the “m” when inputting ,com.

And, just as important, locking up .co prevents anyone from creating bogus sites, though it appears that .CO Internet S.A.S is making a concerted effort to prevent this sort of thing from occurring.

I don’t expect .co to become one of the world’s most dangerous country codes anytime soon, but it could quickly become one of the most profitable.

UPDATE: The CEO of .CO Internet S.A.S commented below on this post. He stressed his company’s efforts to prevent any nefarious uses of .co and notes that they are not marketing this domain as secondary to .com.

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Tagged as: , ,

Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

4 thoughts on “Meet .co – An old country code with a new twist”

  1. Hello John,

    Thank you for your post about the .CO domain name extension. As CEO of the registry, I want to address your concern regarding the potential use of .CO as a typo of another extension. I’m obviously very optimistic and hope you don’t mind my joining the discussion and sharing my point of view.

    While there are plenty of TLD options out there, .CO is truly global and recognizable – as you referenced in your post, there is wide recognition of .CO to mean “company” or other commercial venture. Additionally it’s already in use in more the 20 ccTLDs (.co.uk, etc.) around the world. This differentiates us from other ccTLDs that have been marketed as TLDs and provides an important distinction for registrants who need a global footprint. Beyond that, there’s a credible and robust operation behind it; from our partners in technology to the people running every aspect of our business, if you do a bit of research on our site you’ll find that we are building this company for the long term.

    Regarding the typo issue: I cannot state it more clearly than to tell you that .CO absolutely cannot and will not be marketed as a typo to .COM. Our terms of service with registrars are very strict on this point. In fact, .CO must be positioned as exactly the opposite – a TLD that provides exciting new online branding opportunities with a truly global, recognizable and credible domain – you can see that in that landing pages of our deliberately small group of registrars: http://www.cointernet.co/domain/register-a-co . To reinforce that, we are implementing a Rapid Takedown Process to take action against websites in cases where phishing, pharming, malware, or other significant security threats have been identified. We are also developing policy to quickly suspend domains in instances where serial cyber-squatting can be established. The TM community has already recognized these efforts in several articles that have been published lately.

    I’m glad that you like the idea of a .CO Founders program. It should be noted that the site Transitions is marketing IS getsighted.co – and chose to protect that presence in one or more TLDs as is common in the online world (we’ve certainly done the same) . We’ll have other notable CO Founders coming online soon in different industries that will showcase the flexibility and reach of the extension.

  2. Juan — Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m happy to see your efforts to fight squatters, phishers, etc. Limiting the number of registrars is key.

    The key data point I would love to see (once we get into open registration) is what percentage of registrants are doing so to protect .com versus registering .com to protect .co. Given the fact that so many .com domains are already taken, I have to believe that .co will be primarily a redirect domain.

    That said, for new and promotional sites — like “getsighted.co” — perhaps we’ll see a surge in .co as primary domains.

    Please keep me posted as you progress through the general availability stage.

    Thanks.

  3. profit/greed…
    why are they charging 3 times more than for leftover (no keyword value) domain names and charged very havily for most of useful domain names!
    now they have pocketed huge sum of money… we should see that they remain proactive agains -ve uses of .co

Comments are closed.