Dotcoms are what people recognize most online with .BIZ and others taking a distant back seat. Yet when I heard the .CO domain names were coming I immediately saw how they would be similar enough to .COMs that perhaps they could become the second most-popular domain name suffix.
The new top level domains come courtesy of the country of Columbia who will be one of the beneficiaries of related domain name sales.
Depending on market reaction it is possible that .CO domain names could increase wildly in value like .COMs and further they may even erode the value of a .COM address. It is a bit soon to know where the market is headed but I wanted to dig a bit deeper to learn more and share the information as it could become quite important to companies looking to protect themselves online from competitive threats.
To learn more I went to 1&1 Internet, one of the 11 exclusive domain registrars permitted to offer .CO as a domain extension to the public and conducted an email interview with the company CEO, Oliver Mauss.
Here is what he had to say:
What do people think a .CO means based on your research?
Really and truly, .CO has been attributed to mean a long list of things. Its origins stem from Columbia; however it has transcended this definition and taken on several new meanings. I think it is safe to say that company, community and collaboration are common concepts attached to .CO, but they are by far not the only associations made by the public.
How can companies benefit from acquiring these names?
This is something actually that can be said for all domains, not just .CO. Registering a primary domain and variations of the same web address can help increase traffic to a website and provide an added layer of protection to a brand or name, especially for businesses. In other words, an important goal for any business with a website is to use it as leverage for broadening their customer base and increasing brand awareness. By acquiring different alternatives of the same domain, those searching for a specific site will most likely be redirected to the correct web address. As a result, owners of the original domain can be sure that only legitimate information, services or products are attributed to their name online.
For a business whose first choice domain is taken as a .COM, they now have the opportunity to register their desired domain as a .CO. With the success of .COM, this is a great chance for start-ups and entrepreneurs to get online and establish their business.
Will companies need to purchase a .CO if they have a .COM?
It is not so much a matter of need as it is a matter of providing your company with added security online. .CO is a great way for any business to protect their reputation and brand on the Web. Registering a .CO domain can help business owners ensure that others cannot use their company name maliciously while also driving more potential traffic to their site.
Do you expect there to be confusion between .CO and .COM?
I think at first, people weren't quite sure what the significance was of .CO. There are a lot of "definitions" for it floating around on the Web so some questions did arise about what it stood for, who it's intended to benefit, and where it initially stemmed from. The wonderful thing about .CO is that it can be molded to be beneficial for a very broad list of organizations and even individuals.
How expensive is this new domain name option?
1&1 is initially offering .CO domains for $29.99/year - competitively priced in lieu of the high demand. It will be interesting to see how the rise of .CO may affect other Top-Level Domains in the short-term.
Since the launch of this domain name what activity have you seen in the market?
For 1&1, we have seen quite a positive impact on domains. It received a very positive response and seems to have taken off, initially, as we hoped. From what we can tell, the market overall has seen a good reaction after the official .CO launch. Consumers and businesses alike are registering .CO domain names, but with the broad interpretation of it, I'm not surprised! I think .CO has taken its place in the market as expected - as the next truly global domain.
How can readers learn more about purchasing one of these domain names for themselves?
Those interested in registering a .CO with 1&1 can visit our website, www.1and1.com, or call us for information. The website www.cointernet.co however is a site developed to specifically provide general information about .CO domains.