Thursday, November 12, 2015

Is .CO the new .COM?

Can .co do for Colombia what .tv has done for Tuvalu?

I just checked the cost of the domain name will sell it for $799 and lists it for a bargain $695 -- too much. The country code top-level domain for Colombia is .co, so I checked that out and found a Miami based registrar,, offering the first year free -- I snapped up

But it wasn't really free. The name is free for the first year, but being able to manage the DNS costs $2 per month, so the real cost is $24 per year and the marketing gimmick seemed cheesy, so I checked with, a registrar I've dealt with in the past. They charge $24.60 for the first .co year and contracts for 2-5 years are $51.20, $77.80, $104.00 and $131.00. (I wonder what the algorithm is for calculating those small, uneven increases).

So, if you are willing to settle for .co rather than .com, you can save quite a bit.

Can .co do for Colombia what .tv has done for Tuvalu?

The island nation Tuvalu has profited from their country code domain name, .tv. In 1999, the Tuvalu government licensed .tv for $1 million per quarter with a $50 million cap within 12.5 years. They also retained 20% equity in the licensing company. Subsequently, Versign took over and, in 2012, renewed its contract to manage the .tv registry until December 31, 2021. The terms of the current agreement with Verisign were not announced.

There is money to be made on .co as well. In March 2014, Neustar paid $109 million for .CO Internet and they are trying to go beyond name registration to form a community of .co domain owners -- featuring promotional videos of .co company founders on their web site and offering coupons for discounts on products, services, conferences, etc. They also promote the .co brand -- running ads and lining up large companies for one-letter domain names. For example, Twitter uses for URL shortening, so millions of people see it every day.

They also pay the Colombian government a fee. Colombia has had a difficult time the last 25-30 years with revolutionary guerrilla armies, government death squads, drug cartels, murder and kidnapping, but the Economist says Colombia is close to a historic peace agreement that will transform its prospects. Perhaps popularizing the .co domain name is a small part of that transformation.

Update 11/12/2015

Here is a short video promoting the notion of a community of .co companies: