.CO Brands Should Buy Matching .co.com Domain Names

.CO Brands Should Buy Matching .co.com Domain Names

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The .co.com domain registry, under the leadership of CEO Ken Hansen, began selling its .co.com domain names about a week ago, and the registry is currently in the landrush phase. Anyone can now reserve .co.com domain names at one of 13 domain registrars (like 101Domain), and more registrars are reportedly being onboarded in the future. General availability will take place in July.

I don’t plan to buy any .co.com domain names for myself, but I think companies who operate businesses on .CO domain names should consider purchasing the corresponding .co.com domain name for their business. .CO has been around for quite some time, and they’ve done quite a good job of growing awareness for .CO domain names. In my opinion though, I think there may still be some traffic leakage to other domain names.

The first likely source of any traffic leakage is to the corresponding .com domain name. I own Elliot.CO, and if I was marketing it as a brand, my bet is that there would be a percentage of people who accidentally visit Elliot.com thinking that was the website I was promoting. Because of the high value of a domain name like Elliot.com and the likelihood that a great domain name like this wouldn’t be for sale, buying that domain name might not be possible.

The second possible source of leakage is to the corresponding .co.com domain name. I would think that people might append the .com to any url as a habit, and if someone does that to a .CO domain name and the corresponding .co.com domain name is not registered, they will end up the .co.com registry homepage. If the corresponding co.com domain name is already registered by someone else, they will land on the other website, which may be used or monetized by an unrelated company.

Right now, the cost of a .co.com domain name is about $30/year, and I would think the cost might be lower once general availability starts. If the corresponding .co.com domain name gets 50 visits a year, the cost of the domain name would be recouped rather quickly compared to acquiring that targeted traffic in another way.

Whether you like the idea of .co.com or not, these domain names will be available, and I would bet there is a fair amount of traffic leakage. It’s probably a good idea for .CO businesses to purchase their corresponding .co.com domain names before someone else does.


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 (5)

    Ken Hansen

    Hi Elliot,

    Thank you for posting this information. We appreciate your help getting the word out!

    As you say, there is quite a bit of traffic in .co.com, and I know readers will find that interesting. Traffic is not, however, the primary reason we expect businesses to register .co.com domains, nor is it the only reason we believe domain investors should find .co.com interesting.

    Many small businesses were not even online when the very best .com names were registered. The introduction of .co.com provides a second chance for small businesses to get a short memorable domain ending in .com.

    The demand for domain names ending in .com, remains very strong. Each year, there are 30 million+ .com adds. Most of those names are long, hyphenated, or multi-word names. The preference for .com is still so strong, users are willing to accept their second, third or even fourth choice! For every 1% of those users that select .co.com rather than the longer, hyphenated choice, we will generate 300,000 registrations.

    Existing .co.ccTLD registrants should register a .co.com for their international marketing. There are 69 countries that offer .co.ccTLD domains and another 60+ that have ccTLD.com extensions. In the UK, for example, there are 7 million+ co.uk registrations. .UK is very appropriate for targeting potential UK customers, but is not ideal for targeting an international audience. As your readers know, a ccTLD is unlikely to rank high when a search is coming from an IP outside of the ccTLD country. All else being equal, a .co.com is likely to rank higher for international searches, and help businesses reach a global audience.

    My humble suggestion to domain investors, is to to consider the value of co.ccTLD and .com names when valuing a potential .co.com investment. There are MANY high value names available for hand registration. One investor wrote use yesterday to tell us they had hand-registered a name valued at six figures in .co.uk!

    There are also a significant number of .co.com premium names, which are currently listed on Afternic at “Make an Offer” pricing (we will be listing at other marketplaces soon). Most LLL and NNN names, well known city names, travel destination cities, counties and thousands of generic words are available. Investors can search for names at http://registry.co.com. If the name is premium, after clicking, they will have the opportunity to request a price.

    Hand registration pricing is currently in the $48 USD – $129 range depending on the registrar. Over 200 registrars have signed on, and many are still in the processes of on boarding. Our “Featured Registrars” can be found at http://registry.co.com/registrars.

    Thanks again for posting this story, and for the opportunity to provide more info here.

    Best,
    Ken Hansen
    CEO, co.com Registry

    April 15th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Leonard Britt

    Of note the default CCTLD for Colombia is .Com.CO – potentially another market for this TLD.

    April 15th, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Ms Domainer

    *

    The moral of this story:

    Don’t build your brand on .co or any other alternative gTLD.

    Find an appealing, easy-to-spell, and pronunceable .com.

    They can still be hand-regged (with some intensive search) or purchased on the aftermarket.

    *

    April 15th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I disagree with that.

      I think it’s important to protect a brand when possible, but there are plenty of success stories from companies who built their brand on a .CO, like Vine.

      In reply to Ms Domainer | April 15th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Ms Domainer

      *

      The success stories are very few and far between.

      The o.co debacle is more the norm. Perhaps in the future this will change, but for businesses doing business now, .com is best. I keep reading stories about start-ups that have built their business on .co, .me, or .io, only later to scramble to buy the matching .com at a huge price.

      Industry people are well-acquainted with alternate TLDs, but average John and Jane Doe are largely clueless about them and know .com, .net, and .org. (and, perhaps, ccTLD, except US customers, who still think that .us is limited to government entities).

      The new gTLDs will just confuse them. For now, they are totally unaware of them or don’t care.

      *

      In reply to Elliot Silver | April 15th, 2014 at 2:12 pm

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