Cashing in on the .Co domain names

“The opportunity for us is to become the platform of choice for entrepreneurs around the world,” said Juan Diego Calle, chief executive of .CO Internet, a company based in Miami that operates the “.co” registry under license from the Colombian government. “To do that, we want to build massive awareness.”
……

For financially struggling governments, the sale of country code domain names is a boon. Colombia, for example, gets 25 percent of the revenue from sales of the “.co” name under its deal with .CO Internet. Last year, the company generated a total of $20 million from the sale of “.co” domains; this year, that is expected to rise to more than $30 million, Mr. Calle said.

More than 600,000 “.co” addresses have been sold, in more than 200 countries, he said. Only about 20,000 of those are actually from Colombia, with the most interest coming from the United States and Europe.

The company predicts that the total number of “.co” registrations will rise to five million within five years. Mr. Calle was hoping for a surge of interest after a prominent marketing pitch over the weekend. During the Super Bowl, the world’s largest domain name registrar, Go Daddy, highlighted “.co” in an advertisement. The spot, as is typical of the company’s TV ads, featured the “Go Daddy girls” in tight T-shirts and hot pants. But this time, Joan Rivers was one of them. Before the game, Go Daddy said it planned to introduce a new member of the team, a “ ‘.co’ girl.”

While some country codes have had a hard time attracting anything other than niche interest, analysts say the Colombian suffix may have a better chance to rival “.com” because the letters “co” are recognized in many languages as an abbreviation for “company” and are not merely seen as an abbreviation for the country’s name.

“As long as it doesn’t become well known that it’s just a bastardization of the country code for Colombia, it could take off,” said Josh Bourne, managing partner of FairWinds Partners, which advises firms on the use of domain names.” – NYT

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