Buying .CO Domains for Typo Traffic | DomainInvesting.com
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Buying .CO Domains for Typo Traffic

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As one would expect, there are many people who are buying .CO domain names with the hopes of capitalizing on typo traffic. These people are looking through Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, and other various traffic estimation tools in the hopes of purchasing .CO domain names that will get traffic intended for the .COM.

One thing people need to be cognizant of (aside from trademark issues which I am not going to discuss) is that many high traffic websites get significant search engine traffic, and there isn’t going to be leakage from that. If someone visits a website via search engine or other referral, there will be no leakage to the .CO unless the referrer makes the typo.

Yesterday evening, I was asked if I had an interest in Burbank.CO. A reader of my blog offered his position in the auction because I didn’t back order it, and I wasn’t interested. I’ve been very fortunate with SEO and referral traffic for that site, and at the present time, only about 14% of the traffic is from type-in.  Assuming 20,000 visitors per month total, that means under 3,000 are typing it in to their browser.  If .3% of this traffic typos it, that’s about 9 visitors a month that I am losing.  It just doesn’t make that much sense to pay more than $500, which is where this name ended I believe.

There are a number of .CO websites that are live, where the .COM website is also live. Sex.com/Sex.co, Porn.com/Porn.co, Porno.com/Porno.co, Hotels.com/Hotels.co, and Weather.com/Weather.co are five such comparisons you can do, as I would imagine these sites rely on significant type-in traffic, which is where the leakage would take place. Since I don’t know how long each .CO has been live, I can’t say whether it’s 100% accurate, but here are the Compete numbers and % of traffic:

  • Sex.com – 135,793 | Sex.co – 393 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .23%
  • Porn.com – 1,807,569 | Porn.co – 1,015 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .056%
  • Porno.com – 233,909 | Porno.co – 656 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .28%
  • Hotels.com – 4,822,172 | Hotels.co – 1,698 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .035%
  • Weather.com – 31,992,990 | Weather.co – 29,893 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .093%

As you can see, there isn’t much leakage to the .CO, so investing a lot of money with the intent only to capitalize on typo traffic isn’t smart. Of course .CO domain owners can (and many will) develop their .CO domain names like I am doing, however, relying on revenue from typo traffic here might not be a smart play.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (56)

    Rob Sequin

    .co owners need to get out quick before the speculation is over.

    Don’t worry, no one will visit burbank.co and no one will develop it.

    July 27th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    dcmike77

    don’t forget though, .co typos in finance/insurance/realestate can still be quite lucrative despite the small search volume.

    I believe they’d have stronger conversion than the other options, such as long-tail keywords or other extensions.

    July 27th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Elliot

    @ DC Mike

    That’s a good point. I would expect some of these higher RPC domain names selling at strong levels, especially the most generic names.

    July 27th, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Jp

    @Elliot

    Yea Burbank.co isn’t worth it for the traffic. The only justification would be brand protection if u give a crap about that, that is. I some douchebag goes an competes with you on that name then it may have been cheaper to have spent the $500 now rather than a udrp and who knows what else later

    July 27th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      Elliot

      “I some douchebag goes an competes with you on that name then it may have been cheaper to have spent the $500 now rather than a udrp and who knows what else later”

      @ JP

      My position is that it would be perfectly fair for someone to use a name like that to compete with Burbank.com. I would welcome the typo traffic though :) I am sure I am going to have a traffic leakage problem with Bahamas.co once it’s launched, but I will do my best to make sure people are aware it’s .CO and not .COM

      July 27th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    AB

    Great post Elliot, as it illustrates that while type-ins are great, they don’t represent the majority of visitors.

    I just thought of something though, what are your thoughts on .CO email addresses? People may be using search engines and bookmarks to find sites, but almost everyone types-in email addresses.

    What would the threat level be if someone setup up email address like customerservice@ finance@, etc… on a bunch of .CO’s to harvest email typos from the .COM counterpart?

    July 27th, 2010 at 4:07 pm

      Elliot

      @ AB

      It’s a good point, and I am sure it will be dealt with when someone messes with the wrong company :)

      July 27th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Priv

    Burbank.co and the likes will be at $100 or less soon enough. You should get it, just in case even though it’s means (IMO) Burbank Co Inc or something.

    I expect some lawsuits over this, for example Loan is not trademark-able but LoanCo may be . Normally the .tld is ignored but who knows. There was a Guestlist.me case

    July 27th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Bfitz

    It gets even worse when you look at monetizing typo traffic. 9 visitors a month typo onto your site then one every 33 clicks on an ad. That is about $1 a quarter in revenue.

    .CO owners must develop (IMO) to get the value of their investment realized (like Mr. S is with Bahamas.co)

    I have followed this blog for a week but learned enough to know my geo.CO’s are far from the lottery ticket I thought they were. I need to dump during this hype or develop. What to do, what to do…

    July 27th, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      Elliot

      @ Bfitz

      One thing I would hope you’d take away is that there is uncertainty with regards to .CO domain names. They could become very valuable or they might not. The aftermarket has yet to form and public auctions haven’t really taken place to show interest and valuation.

      July 27th, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Crazy Man

    I believe the Elliot is correct most of traffic is SEO not direct navigation. That is what makes .co just as valuable at SEO not Direct Navigation.

    So the $530 paid for Burbank is a steal.

    To many users, seeing burbank.co looks just like burbank.com as long as info is there.

    I BELIEVE google announced that they will treat .co as a global domain in the search engine.

    So I am probably WRONG again….

    July 27th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      Elliot

      @ Crazy Man

      You might be right :)

      July 27th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Snoopy

    “Of course .CO domain owners can (and many will) develop their .CO domain names like I am doing,”

    ////////////////////

    So given lots of people are talking about .co from a typo perspective, ie the extension is totally confusing for web surfers to the point where they type it in when looking for .com sites, how does it makes sense to build a site on a .co? Would the people talking about developing normally build a site on a misspell?

    The people looking at these names purely from a typo perspective have the right idea in my view. Agree the degree of spill will be low but there will be opportunities for some.

    July 27th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Elliot

    @ Snoopy

    If Google does treat them as international domain names and no differently than .org/.com, I won’t mind developing a very good keyword domain name like Bahamas.co. I wouldn’t spend the time or money developing a lower quality one, but that’s just me because I have too much other work.

    Will Bahamas.co be a big waste of time and money? I doubt it, but I will know in a year or two.

    July 27th, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Snoopy

    If Google does treat them as international domain names and no differently than .org/.com, I won’t mind developing a very good keyword domain name like Bahamas.co. I wouldn’t spend the time or money developing a lower quality one, but that’s just me because I have too much other work.

    /////////////

    Why wouldn’t they treat it as global in nature? some people seriously thought .co would be treated as a country code where almost all the sites are owned by domainers and developers outside of the country? It will be like .me, .wc, .cc etc.

    Regarding bahamas.co though, if you owned baharmas.com, beharmas.com, bahamas.c,o ba-hamas.com or something similar would you develop that?

    Personally I think the domain world has gone somewhat mad with talk of developing these names.

    July 27th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Elliot

    @ Snoopy

    I wouldn’t develop one of those typo names, but I am banking on the fact that consumers will know .CO in addition to the SEO benefit.

    July 27th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    domainer

    No disrespect Elliot but don’t all the geo .com guys love it when a .org and .net are developed and thus more traffic too .com site
    Com this com that and let espnboston form and more traffic to Boston.com

    The .co is similar case isn’t it ? I see a lot of similarities to this.

    I’m not saying it won’t succeed but .co was market very well and hyped up among domain blogs.

    I did not get one .co. Stick to .com. Speculation on .co its risky.

    Elliot your smart and realize things. Time will tell. But let’s say this if you couldn’t buy burbank or own it would you buy burbank.bet for 12k last year?

    July 27th, 2010 at 10:02 pm

      Elliot

      @ domainer

      I wouldn’t develop a .net. .CO is a big risk but there’s the potential for a big reward. At worse, it will be worth $1-2k based on current sales (like burbank.co for $530) and at best it will be worth several thousand +. I am taking a risk by spending time and money developing this, but it’s a very calculated bet.

      July 27th, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    domainer

    So your saying a .co developed vs a .net is a better route? How is this better ?

    I don’t like .net and try selling a .com to a net developed site and egos. I’m 0 for 3 with exact same name. I see the traffic on ppc income

    But back to point I think a lot of contradictions are being formed. Lost traffic weaker extensions let them be developed.

    Elliot you know I have tons of respect for you and your a true player and learning the ropes but for me to read your posts on .co and .com this com that your even contradicting yourself and geo .com guys

    I don’t mean to sound I’m trying pick a fight just disagree.

    Convince me if I’m wrong in saying this? You won’t buy a .net but buy a .co? Hmm. Why not buy a .me or a .tv? Or an org? But you go with .co

    July 27th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Elliot

    “So your saying a .co developed vs a .net is a better route? How is this better ? ‘

    @ domainer

    .Net has been stagnant for a while (IMO). I don’t see a whole lot of growth in that market. There is a higher risk with .CO and much higher potential reward. I happen to think that .CO is going to be more widely used in 5 years than .NET, and as a result, they will be worth more. I think it will be the alternative to .COM, but of course I could be wrong. Instead of buying a whole bunch of names, I have 6 + Bahamas.CO which is going to be developed.

    “your even contradicting yourself and geo .com guys”

    @ domainer

    Most geo developers focus on one or two .com names and aren’t that interested in expanding (Castellos, Pulcrano, Mercaldo aside). I don’t have the luxury of having the best of the best names (like Scottsdale.com or PalmSprings.com) so I am diversifying and taking a risk by developing Bahamas.co. If it fails to grow and make money, I lose out on my investment. If it does well and makes money, I will have a revenue generating website on a highly valuable domain name.

    I am taking a calculated risk.

    July 27th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    fizz

    Adding to domainer’s comment above, I’ve always maintained that if I had the chance of owning a generic domain such as burbank.com by itself, or burbank.com with so-called ‘defensive’ registrations of the org/net/info/biz/co etc, I would always choose the former as independent development of the others (or a solid sale) will add value to the .com. (Only if the name was a brandable, then I’d want to have all the gTLDs).

    July 27th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Elliot

    @ domainer and fizz

    When Burbank.net was offered to me a couple years ago (maybe last year) for several thousand dollars, I passed. I knew my money would be better spent building my brand on the better domain name than preemptively buying a domain name defensively.

    July 27th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    domainer

    Ok I needed to hear that more in detail. Makes sense but will revisit this topic when I get back home tomorrow

    I knew you passed on burbank.

    I agree on managing risks and capital. Hard to get killer names like those guys over night but in the 7 years you been doing this you came a long way and consider you as a power seller. You do your thing and built up a lot of contacts over the years

    Sorry sound harsh Elliot. Off to bed

    July 27th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Josh

    Surely the main value rather than typo traffic is for PPC advertising. Ie where what you are against many other competitors having something that does exactly what it says would be great. And it’s shorter than .com/.co.uk etc.

    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/359704/google-approves-co-domain-for-international-use
    With this, it means that people could develop sites even non colombia ones that will then be able to be found in other country searches.

    July 28th, 2010 at 3:35 am

    don

    the big missing component here is the marketing approach…if you are doing strictly seo then the .co really becomes irrelavant as you are going strictly for organic traffic…the only way an alleged .com benefits is with someone who transfers $ dollars into an advertising campaign trying to promote their site….while google has indicated they will treat the domains as a non international, they have not disclosed if there will be a sandbox penalty applied to all of these domains or if there are any other ranking algos associated with getting these sites indexed…

    July 28th, 2010 at 9:28 am

    BFitz

    @josh You are exactly right. I have restaurants and geo sites with mycity-restaurants.com They compete on search engines and the exact keyword match geo sites get 130% more clicks.

    July 28th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Christopher

    One thing to consider as per brand protection is email. You don’t want people going around emailing your clients with (generic).co. It may not be immediately recognizable to the client as a bogus email.

    July 28th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Christopher

    Also, Elliot…I have a few .co geos, mostly large african cities, that I would like to develop. Do you have many others like burbank.com that are based on a template?

    July 28th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Jason

    @Elliot,

    Nice statistical breakdown. I wouldn’t mind acquiring weather.co. That domain is a heavy-hitter. I would be happy with .25 percent of weather.com’s traffic. Weather.co can function as an international weather brand.

    July 28th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Jason

    @Elliot,

    How did you link to Candy.com? Your blog is in the third position of sites that are linking in to the website. I know that you can link to another using WordPress.com, as other owners may do to return the link. Thanks.

    July 28th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Elliot

    @ Jason

    Not sure what you’re referencing and confused by your question. I think we talked about links a few weeks ago.

    July 28th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    JuanC

    hey guys, have you ever though about a shorter domain name for Iphone or smartphones? Imagine people typing htv.co instead fo htv.com? Or now that LCD Tvs with wifi comes, how if you type Puntacana.co intesad of puntacana.com woth your remote control?

    I think the real value of this .co domain is brand protection and mobile/TV web sites.

    So, don´t miss your chances.

    July 28th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    420 Colorado

    We got http://420.co in land grab and it took and additional 9 days to show up compared to http://marijuanaphotos.co which showed up instantly on July 20 through register.com. .co is great as it is the prefix for Colorado

    July 28th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    PhotoHand

    I’m debating if .CO developed sites will rank well within it’s keyword base? I have a feeling that google and other search engines will have to treat them well…. especially due to the interest these domains are getting and new site/content developments…

    I think .co may be a winner here and not just due to the typos…..

    What do you think?

    Best,
    PH

    July 28th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Colin

    ^ I think it is pretty unlikely Google will rank them well in the short term, globally.

    You still cant specifiy them as a global domain in Google Webmaster Tools.

    July 29th, 2010 at 9:36 am

    cmartino

    I still strongly believe that .co will be the winner at last, why am I saying this? is very short and looks beautiful, easy to remember has been here before I was born for companies, many will feel okay remembering and relating to what there used to right from child hood. I might sound childish in my views but am telling you that .co dominance will be like tsunami.

    To me it looks like the .com killer.

    July 29th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    J

    .co will never over take .com. It’s like the US dropping off the map. Not going to happen. The $29.99 price tag is a determining factor to buy .com, the more appealing domain.

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Jason

    I would rather hand register 4 .com domains than to waste money buying another .co. I bought 3 .co domains, which I feel was a waste of money.

    I’m sure I can host them to generate revenue, but the real winner is the best domain – the .com. I have been unsuccessful in pushing another other extension besides .com and the .info.

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Jason

    Error on another. I meant “any” in last post.

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Elliot

    @ Jason

    I bought 6 .CO names for around $39 each, and I’ve already turned down a nice offer for the 3 letter name I got. I guess it depends what names you bought, which is the same thing for any extension I suppose.

    July 29th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Jason

    @Elliot,

    You must have some kind of lead generator to locate the three character domains. I can sit on the computer all day long and won’t come close to finding any 3 character domains.

    There’s huge demand for three digit domains. .029.com produced a nice sale for a cool $110K, but I have idea why anyone would pay that much for the domain. Unless the domain is going to be used overseas, then I don’t see how the domain can make a ROI.

    I purchased .com domains for Suisun, Bryant Park, and Pier39. I have a list of 10 .co domains put aside, but I’m sure those domains will be purchased by another domainer.

    July 29th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Jason

    I meant .co instead of .com in the last paragraph.

    July 29th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    cmartino

    Before the stock market crash many believed that everything was okay but never knew papers are being cooked up some how i did not buy stocks because i listen to my spirit more than relating with things physically, this .co will turn out to be what you thought it will be, is wrong to ignore it, in the next two years this .co will be far better than .org ,.info , and net . In the next five years is already competing very well with .com but in seven years and up ward it will be something unimaginable, why this will be so is because outside the united state many who thought the internet was a joke has waking up to realise is indeed controlling the way we live and now realise the cost of that ignorance just because the lost out of the .com era and were forced to register what was really not there desire name so this is the opportunity there waiting for. The only problem is domain pros that hijack they lunch. Google can only stop it from being international by refusing it from being advertise as website in adword so long the allow it, you cant stop again.

    July 30th, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Marco

    I wanted the domain mar.co for my blog since my name is Marco, now I see there’s 16 more people bidding with me… So unfair :(, colombian people should be prioritary ha!

    July 31st, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Josh

    Marco that makes me feel better that there are only 3 people bidding against me for the name that I want. Although I think that it’s unlikely I’ll get it as I’d imagine it’ll go for a lot of money.

    It does seem like some of the .co names have already done ok on auctions, I think I’ve seen about 3 different ones at about the £1000 mark.

    July 31st, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Marco

    Well I hope there’s no big company involved on this, my budget is 1500 USD and I plan to spend them for this domain, it’s just perfect for me. Hope your auction doesn’t get expensive.

    August 1st, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Jason

    @Marco,

    I wouldn’t share what you want to pay for the domain. These comments show up in the search engines. If you’re meant to own the domain, everything will fall into place.

    Some people will try to keep others from obtaining their wants. Domains that complete a word are usually popular. There are companies that use the digits MAR such as Maryland Association of Realtors, Marriots, Michigan Association of Realtors, Massachusetts Association of Realtors, and many more.

    If you’re up against a corporation, they may have set aside unlimited funds to win the domain. Remain confident. I accidetally located a real nice 3 digit .co for the cost of registration. I don’t plan to sell the domain, even though I know there’s a huge market for it.

    I wouldn’t discuss the domain too much. Try to downplay what you want. Buildining value into a domain will increase the price. Good luck.

    August 1st, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Ron Wells

    @Elliot,

    “I bought 6 .CO names for around $39 each, and I’ve already turned down a nice offer for the 3 letter name I got. I guess it depends what names you bought, which is the same thing for any extension I suppose.”

    I agree. I also turned down an offer of 500€ to sell a GEO service domain (I received this offer less than 24 hours after registering the name!).

    August 2nd, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Jacob

    An idea for helping customers differentiate .co from .com would be to use that .co yellow box trade mark thing on your site. It’s an idea that I think i’m going to try when developing my .co sites. (That trademark description sucks but i’m sure you guys know what i’m talking about.

    August 11th, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Jacob

    I think Cmartino has something interesting assumptions as to the future of .co. A disappointment if not fear of mind is that many of the domainers out there are going to buy some valuable names and semi valuable names and request exorbitant prices for them or just park them. .Com became famous because it was the only choice (i think) for many start ups during that time which allowed for the name to be marketed all over the U.S via t.v. I would think companies would need to purchase these names and market their business in these names for the average consumer to know it. I agree with CMartino views, I do believe that this domain has a chance but I would only purchase names that I intend to hold and develop. Pure speculation doesn’t sound so appealing for this extension at all

    August 11th, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Mike from Fl

    Facenook.com is a great example …

    November 18th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Jobs in Stratford

    Was there not a similar commotion about the .tel domains?

    January 5th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    cmartino

    I think .tel and .co are not same don’t confuse things here. if you want to know if .co is an average competition for .com check out http://www.africamarket.co,
    what do think?

    January 5th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Perfect Bound Books

    I can see why you might want to try and take advantage of this but surely you could do the same with a .net or .org

    October 17th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Josh Adams

    Very interesting – I just actually purchased a few .co domains for our businesses before finding this post, don’t feel it was quite as necessary now but suppose $12 isn’t much just to hold it and see if it was worth it.

    May 22nd, 2015 at 9:54 pm

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