Why .CO Is Destined For Failure

.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.

My Prediction

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.

11 Comments

  1. Oh Gods, not .Mobi please don’t remind me lol, I was part of the mobile coding community for several years until the .Mobi fan-boys moved in, saying that if mobile communities were to survive and prosper they had to have .Mobi domains, which quite frankly is foolish to say the least.

    Anyway as for .Co I can see where you are coming from, it’s a simple case of once the novelty wears off people will get bored of it and .Com will still be sitting on top of the pile, I have 9 or 10 domains now and most of them are .Com I have only strayed from that when the .Com extension wasn’t available.

    1. Yeah, personally I always go for .com unless there’s a rare exception (like leland.info for example).

      If the .com isn’t available, I try to find another .com. Going in another extension like .net just feeds more typo traffic to the .com that isn’t yours.

  2. Haha… time will tell what’s gonna happen with the .co. Registered mine. Just for the shit and giggles… think even here in NZ it’s quite confusing as we have the .co.nz (more typos??)

    1. That’s also a good point. With country codes like .co.nz, .co.uk, .co.in, and a few others I’m sure which I can’t think of off the top of my head there’s an additional layer of confusion.

  3. Time will tell. In a few years it’s very possible you will be eating your own words and looking like a fool.
    With the right uptake, development and marketing it can overtake .NET in a few of years.
    People tend to compare .CO to all the other failed ccTLD’s, yet they forget a few key factors.
    1.) treated as a global ccTLD by Google
    2.) .co has been around in business names for over 150 years.
    3.) .co is a shortener in a time when fast and easy is the key to success
    4.) .co is being backed by industry giants and it has a marketing team behind it very different than other failed ccTLD’s
    5.) The Sedo .co domain auction had garbage names available (mostly). The ones that did sell sold at a perfect proce for such a young (reinvented) ccTLD

  4. Guys, just wondering how you all feel about .co nowadays. I gather this is an “aged” thread… With prime .com’s getting harder to come by, .co does seem like a logical alternative.

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