If you haven’t noticed, we’re running low on .com domain name options. On the one hand, scarcity of good .com names has caused major frustration among countless entrepreneurs. On the other hand, it has forced people to get creative, well beyond just dropping a vowel here or there. And while this was the “hot” thing to do in the heat of Web 2.0, it seems we may have turned the page and a new trend has surfaced: the .CO domain name.
Last week was the 1 year anniversary for .CO. Haven’t heard of .CO yet? It’s been making a bit of noise lately as Google acquired the domain G.CO and 500 Startups founder Dave McClure announced they will be transitioning from a dot com to a .CO domain (500.co) very soon. Other major players who have jumped on the .CO bandwagon include Twitter (T.co), Overstock (O.co), Godaddy (X.co) and Amazon (A.Co, Z.Co, K.Co,Cloud.co). Prices for some of these highly-valued, limited letter domains have reportedly ranged from $350K to well over a million.
So what is .CO exactly? It’s actually the country code for Colombia assigned by ICANN, as all country code top-level domains (ccTLD) are two letters long. That said, there is a unique set of of these codes that are treated more like generic domains (.com, .net) and we’re seeing them pop up more and more, like .tv and .me. But .CO is even more interesting because the country of Colombia made a decision to share this resource with the global Internet community by adapting the registration policies for .CO to industry standards. They also entered an international joint-venture – .CO Internet SAS – to manage the marketing and operational aspects of this domain extension. .CO Internet S.A.S. is the Registry Operator for the .CO top-level domain.
To celebrate turning one year old, .CO wrapped up their Bulby Awards which went to some of the most interesting uses of a .CO domain in a number of different categories. This years winners where just announced. So if you are looking to start a company and your .com domain name is gone, you may want to look for a shorter alternative like .CO, and you could even get some additional publicity for doing it.