One-word .CO domains are hotter than ever with startups

No matter where in the world I go, I see a startup branding on a one-word .CO domain name. In July I was in Denmark and one of the top scooter companies there, Wind was branding on Wind.co.

Then, I get back to SF and I’m walking to the office, and there it is again, another startup, another one-word .CO, this time with Nura.co a new headphone company.

Today I was taking a look at DNJournal’s list of top domain name sales and there’s .CO again, taking the #3 and #4 spot with Generate.co selling for $39,500 and Octane.co selling for $27,500.

As we all know, .CO has been popular with startups for a long time but I have definitely seen the popularity grow a lot and it really seems to be on fire now.

This of course make a lot of sense, .CO is short, easy to remember, and is a generic TLD so doesn’t peg a startup to a specific niche like many of the new domain name extensions do. And then there’s price. A domain like Generate.com would likely sell for six-figures so buying the .CO for under $50k is a great deal.

I can still remember the early days of .CO, I was there with Juan, Lori and team at TRAFFIC in 2010 when they were getting everything off the ground. It’s been amazing to see the growth and I still get goosebumps when I travel halfway around the world and see a .CO name being used by another innovative startup.

Congrats to the whole team over at .CO and congrats to all the startups crushing it using .CO domain names!

{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Mark Thorpe August 14, 2019, 8:46 pm

    Back on the .co bandwagon. What happened to the .io bandwagon?
    You pivot more than a basketball player. Lol

    Reply
    • Morgan August 15, 2019, 9:45 am

      Mark – I think .CO and .IO are good choices for startups, I’ve been pretty consistent on that, still see .IO everywhere too just thought it was time to give .CO some love since I’m seeing it a lot lately.

      As I’ve said many times, as a domain investor I’ve never pivoted – I focus only on .COM with the bulk of my focus being two-word .COMs. I’ve been focused on investing in .COMs for 12 years, no changes there.

      I write a blog about domain names so when I see .CO domains increasing in popularity seems fair game to write a post about it right?

      Reply
  • Snoopy August 14, 2019, 9:42 pm

    This extension peaked years ago and is now on the slide down,

    Namebio data

    2019 – 194 sales (which annualises to 311 sales)
    2018 – 469 sales
    2017 – 726 sales

    The problem is all the alternate extensions are sharing the same small market, every new extension takes share from the older ones and that tend to go out of fashion as well (like .me, .ly, .tv).

    Reply
    • Ethan August 14, 2019, 10:06 pm

      Namebio is a good source for analyzing domaining, not for analyzing end-user usage. That’s because not all end-user’s .co are reported on Namebio. So if your opinion is based on that data, it might not be accurate in this case.

      Check this for some of the end-user usages: https://www.go.co/case-studies/

      Reply
      • Snoopy August 14, 2019, 11:53 pm

        When it comes to alternate tlds, you are the master of thinking up different excuses why the data should be ignored. Keep playing the violins as the ship sinks.

        Reply
    • Snoopy August 15, 2019, 12:11 am

      btw here is the same data for .io (also in decline but at a slower pace) and .ai (taking market share from both tlds as the new trendy cctld). I would suggest people buying .ai, .io, .co etc need to factor in that these names will have a short lifespan much like .ly and .me had.

      .io

      2019 450 (or 723 annualised)
      2018 916
      2017 1160

      .ai
      2019 1262 (or 2029 annualised)
      2018 311
      2017 51

      Reply
      • Jon August 15, 2019, 4:44 pm

        OR is it that platforms like DAN are becoming increasingly popular with domain sellers so less domain sales are reported… In-turn giving us the impression that sales have declined… Hmmmm….

        Reply
  • MapleDots August 15, 2019, 5:51 am

    The namebio data only makes sense to domainers because it only tracks sales, it does not track new registrations. I can see .co growth continue to grow at a decent pace because a lot of startups simply don’t have the funds to pay for the .com until the revenue stream comes in.

    As a startup a two word .co is an easy registration and a one word is still a reasonable purchase.

    Now as Snoopy says the domains might have a shorter lifespan because the successful startups will eventually pursue the .com but the not so successful sites will have no choice but to use .co or similar. It just basically comes down to economics, in other words, what can they afford.

    Reply
    • Snoopy August 15, 2019, 3:55 pm

      The reason why those extensions have a short lifespan is because the trend only lasts 5-10 years. After that people move onto the new trendy cctld and the old one looks dated. This all started with .ws and .cc 20 years ago. Factor in that you might get a few ok years and then declines in interest like .co and .io is now seeing.

      Registration numbers aren’t going to give a good picture, it takes something enormous for registrations to fall in any extension and by the time they are falling it has already been over for years.

      Reply
  • Rand August 15, 2019, 7:48 am

    .CO is a great universal extension. I wish I owned Bitcoin.co but the developers of Bitcoin (bitcoin .org) own it. That would be my dream .co

    Reply
  • Michael August 15, 2019, 9:01 am

    I believe there is an alternate explanation that may better fit the data Snoopy presented in all three ccTLDs

    1. .Co – as of summer 2018 the .co registry began clawing back domains it considers premium, not allowing them to expire and are now selling these direct at premium pricing. These sales aren’t reported.

    2 .Io – my observation has been that the number of good quality one-word .io coming down the expiry pipe are getting thinner and thinner over time, consequently there are less big sales happening on Park.io which has historically reported the lions share of .io sales. Additionally, Dynadot in the past year or so has cut into their market share by getting into .io drops, and they don’t report on namebio.

    3. .Ai – conversely, .ai drop auctions have mushroomed since the registry changed its backend operator and then employed Park.io as a white-label auction platform for their expiring names. This occurred in Nov or Dec of 2018.

    Reply
    • MapleDots August 15, 2019, 9:38 am

      @Michael

      If there was a like button I would have used it for your post 🙂

      Reply
    • Snoopy August 15, 2019, 3:58 pm

      People have a choice, either

      A. Think up an excuse as to why reported sales are falling 20% each year like the above, or
      B. Accept that sales are actually falling.

      Reply
      • Ethan August 15, 2019, 5:54 pm

        The problem with your ideology is that you conclude end-user usages based on the data of domaining sales, while many end-user usages are new registrations and aren’t included in the data of domaining sales.

        My main website uses .co, too, and it isn’t included in Namebio’s data because the domain was a new registration.

        Reply
        • Snoopy August 15, 2019, 5:59 pm

          The data is very clear, sales in .co and .io and falling quite quickly, over 20% per year. I think if you continue to put the blinkers on you’ll continue to have no sales….your choice.

          Reply
          • Ethan August 15, 2019, 9:14 pm

            And the data is domaining data, not end-user data. Right?

          • Snoopy August 15, 2019, 10:49 pm

            The data is both.

          • Ethan August 15, 2019, 11:23 pm

            I don’t deny that the data covers a portion of end-users. But it evidently does not cover all end-users.

          • Snoopy August 16, 2019, 12:02 am

            …..yet another excuse.

          • Jon August 16, 2019, 8:55 am

            “The data is very clear, sales in .co and .io and falling quite quickly”

            I would say: “The data is very clear, REPORTED sales in .co and .io and falling quite quickly”

            I do wonder if its due to platforms like DAN that are becoming increasingly popular with domain sellers so less domain sales are actually reported. This would mean the data is incomplete when comparing year on year.

          • Snoopy August 16, 2019, 6:05 pm

            John, if you look at overall sales reported, the number is growing,

            eg .com

            2019 – 58,827 (or 93,736 annualised)
            2018 – 69,896
            2017 – 66,272

  • Matt August 15, 2019, 6:57 pm

    I also get excited when I see .co’s out there too Morgan – I thought it was only me!

    Personally, I find the extension edgy. It has the energy that you’d expect and want startups to have. There is an inherent efficiency of shortening the TLD which puts a little more emphasis on the left of the dot too (which is often a more powerful keyword-brand).

    But most of all, I interpret startups using a .co as saying:
    “I don’t care that you think we should have a .com! We’ll get you there quicker. We have a faster product. We have a better team. We are new. We are not stale. We are exciting. Our value is in who we are, what we do and how we do it.”

    Fundamentally:
    1. Domainers will think one way – Will someone buy it from me after I buy it? So again .co probably isn’t for domain investors. There may be opportunities but much bigger risks (longer hold time, more expensive registrations and renewals, more likelihood of noone ever wanting to buy it from you).
    2. End users will think another way – What are the opportunities and risks with branding, customer experience, SEO? How do I FEEL about the domain?

    A founder’s efficacy can be affected by how they FEEL about their business name and domain name (whether they love the .co or .com or .any-other version of their domain name).

    Reply
  • Snoopy August 15, 2019, 8:18 pm

    “I don’t care that you think we should have a .com! We’ll get you there quicker. We have a faster product. We have a better team. We are new. We are not stale. We are exciting. Our value is in who we are, what we do and how we do it.”

    /////////////////

    No startup choose an alt tld for that reason Matt. They do it because they couldn’t get the .com and they don’t have full awareness of the issues they will face using it.

    Reply
    • Matt August 15, 2019, 8:24 pm

      I know that this is nuanced Snoopy, but that isn’t what I said.
      Read it one more time, give yourself another shot.

      Reply
  • John Napoletano August 31, 2019, 8:20 pm

    Anyone here think a shorter usage of www reduce to ww would help balance out the marketing look and feel?

    ww.wind.co
    ww.nura.co

    For print ww.nura.co and on the website can just 301 redirect both www and ww to nura.co if desired for example. I bring it up because the longer prefix always looks unbalanced when three www are used in print.

    Reply

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