.CO is the country code for Colombia, and registration was just opened up to the general public yesterday. Yes, there have already been some big sales like e.co for $81,000, Twitter acquiring t.co, and Overstock buying o.co for $350,000.
Who Is Buying Them
As far as the biggest sales go, it appears large corporations are grabbing them up for vanity purposes. T.co, for example, will be used by Twitter for some sort of link shortening service.
Like almost every new extension, a big chunk are being bought up by trademark holders. In case you didn’t notice, .co is extremely similar to .com so trademark holders buying their .co equivalent to protect their brand is pretty much a requirement.
The rest of every single last half-decent .CO domain are being bought up by domainers. I’ll admit, I did pre-register one of them: leland.co (for hopefully obvious reasons). It was picked up by a dropcatcher and probably being auctioned off right now.
Even total garbage domains like lowest-price-web-hosting.co are being registered. Look that one up on Whois.co if you don’t believe me.
Other Previous Extension Fails
This is not unprecedented. Lots of new extension releases in the past have been billed to be the “new .com” but guess what? They’ve all failed, and .com is still the undisputed champion.
- .cc – Remember .cc? It was one character shorter than .com, it was cool, it was hip, it was memorable. 10 years later I don’t think I’ve ever seen a .cc actually advertised in the wild.
- .ws – Oh man, “ws” stands for website! This will be a dot com killer for sure, since the internet is made up of websites, right? It wasn’t (a dot com killer, obviously the internet has websites).
- .mobi – The most laughable of the bunch. Dot mobi was supposed to dominate the “mobile web” but it didn’t. Probably for the simple fact that you can use any extension for a mobile website, not to mention smart phones can render mobile sites just like a normal web browser.
Yes, I’ll admit .co is very different than all of these due to the extreme similarity to .com, but the same old history is repeating itself once again.
With domainers buying up all the best domains in these new extensions, putting huge price tags on them, and no intention of developing them into actual websites they’re ironically killing the very ecosystem they’re trying to nurture.
As usual, the big winners in every new extension release will be the registry. They’ll get their yearly renewal fees from all the trademark holders, and domainers clingy and dumb enough to keep renewing names like lowest-price-web-hosting.co year after year.
And don’t forget about the big money they’re holding out on all the one character domains for auctions and such. They might take all the money and invest it into a new extension. Wash, rinse, repeat.
The general public will get it undoubtedly confused with .com. If someone saw it on a business card, they’d probably think it was a typo.
Some people might get rich off of it. Some people might blow their lifesavings on this pseudo “landrush.” In the end, .CO will be nothing more than a glorified typo.