Well I thought today would be an appropriate day for this post – why people love to hate .CO. While I’m a fan of .CO myself, I’m looking at it from the eyes of a domain developer – someone who buys domains to develop and monetize. With the .CO launch yesterday the blog and Twitter community has been buzzing with people for and against .CO. Now I’m from Berkeley, California – we’re big fans of freedom of speech so I’ll start by saying that everyone is entitled to their opinion – this is my blog so I’ll share mine 🙂
First I thought I’d let you know why I am buying .CO domains. When I hear .CO I think of “Company.” That’s the first thing that pops-into my head and the first thing that most people think of when they hear .CO (or corporation). So forget that you’re a Domainer who reads Domaining blogs and pretend you’re an end-user, like everyone else in the world! To an end-user this sounds like a new domain extension for companies or corporations. When an end-user visits the .co site they are presented a clear marketing message – .CO is a new web address that offers people and companies more choice in branding their online presence with a truly global, recognizable, and credible domain name. (More about .CO)
That’s directly from the .CO site. Notice it says nothing about Colombia, or ccTLDs – to an end-user .CO means something completely different than to a Domainer. To an end-user .CO is a great way to get the domain name they always wanted. Think beyond buying and selling domains and think of what domain names were created for – destinations. There are individuals and small-businesses all over the world with lame domains, .CO even has an entire section on their site for having a Domain Intervention with someone that has a crappy domain.
I’ll give you an example from my own life. Remember, don’t think of .CO as a Domainer – think as an end-user. We’ll get to the Domainer part of the story a bit later in this post. So last night my girlfriend came home from school (she is doing her PhD in Immunological Approaches to Cancer Treatment and really wants to build a few sites of her own in her niche) and we started talking about the .CO launch. She found some okay .net’s and .org’s when she first started looking for domains but nothing she loved and of course nothing available in .com. She doesn’t have a huge budget, she just has great ideas and wants to get them out online. She looks at all the great domains she wants and sees parking pages and wonders why she can’t put something meaningful there!
Last night Daina registered Antibody.co – she was truly excited and still is about creating a website on the name and sharing her knowledge and experience in this area. In the science world Antibodies are a BIG deal and she and everyone she works with uses Antibodies every day. She bought a few more .CO domains that she wants to develop as well. The idea here is that it’s not always about buying a domains so you can flip it or re-sell it in a year for a huge profit. Let’s not forget that an Internet full of parked domains won’t be very useful and in the end these pages don’t exist since most of the time they don’t show-up in search results.
I bought .CO domains that had high exact-match Local Google search results and high CPCs. I also was able to get a few names that mean a lot to me like Bimmer.co and ComputerEngineering.co (my Masters Degree is in Computer Engineering). I have no intention of selling these names, ever. Sure, if someone offered me six-figures for either of them I’d take it, but that’s not why I bought them. I also bought some names that I want to develop into detailed information sites. I’m working hard to develop high-quality credit/debt information sites with fresh unique content. Since I’ve had good experiences getting my .US names to rank well I’m expecting to see similar results with .CO.
Okay, so I’ve made my point about end-users – I honestly think .CO will help a lot of people get a domain they really want. Most end-users aren’t trying to make money with their website, they just want to make a website – that’s what the web is all about!
Now, what does .CO mean for the Domainer? Well Domainers traditionally are people that buy and sell domain names. However now there are a lot of Domainers like myself that buy and develop domain names. For me there is HUGE value in getting domains that exactly-match high-value search terms. I’ve been doing SEO for over 15 years so my expertise is getting sites to rank – an exact-match domain helps me rank much quicker – I didn’t believe it back in 2007 but I quickly proved it which is why I’m still here!
So for Domainers developing domains I think there is a lot of potential here. However it’s going to take actually developing the domain and in popular niches having lots of well-written unique content. That’s right – you’ll actually have to build a real website, not a mini-site! I use mini-sites on domains with keywords that have a search volume between 1,000-10,000. Above that I think you really need to build an actual website on your domain. A good example of this right now is Kayaking.org which has over 20 pages of unique content and is constantly being updated. Yes – it’s a lot of work to develop domains in this competitive of a niche but there is great potential there and the exact-match domain gives you an SEO advantage. That alone makes it worth it for me to buy .CO, no other reason.
One of my earliest .US purchases makes over $x,xxx/month and that was when everyone was (and still is) poo-pooing .US. Since then .US has become the foundation of my business so I’m excited to add .CO to the mix as I have a formula that I know works.
Okay – now for the Domainer that most people in the industry are right now, the Domainer who buys and sells domain names.
How good of an investment is .CO to re-sell at a later date? That I couldn’t tell you and I absolutely think there is a risk to buying .CO names if you are only looking to re-sell at a later date. While I don’t think .CO is anything like .MOBI, it’s hard to know how the re-sale market will be for the new extension. If your income is based on buying and selling domain names I’d stick to .com – that’s been proven as the top-seller and will most likely always be the king of TLDs. If you like to speculate and take risks then go ahead and jump-in, but know that you are taking a risk and don’t expect to make anything.
I think the real reason people hate .CO is actually because they are projecting a negative experience they had with another alternative TLD in the past. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “I lost a fortune with .MOBI so I’m not going to buy .CO.” Stop projecting and just decide whether you want to take a risk or not.
So to sum this all up, there are three kinds of people that are buying .CO:
- End-users that want to develop meaningful websites for themselves or their businesses
- Domainers that develop and monetize domains
- Domainers that buy and sell domains
If you are in the first two categories I think you are making a very wise move. If you are in the third category you may or may not be making a wise move. It is too early to know and while I hope .CO turns-out to be a valuable TLD, anyone buying these for resale has to be aware of the risk they are taking. That being said, this isn’t like .MOBI in any way, nor is it like .US or .ME, this is a completely different extension being marketed in a completely different way. Only time will tell but one thing is for sure, the .CO era is here whether you like it or not!
Do you love .CO? Hate .CO? Think I’m a stupid idiot? Don’t be shy!
Comment and let your voice be heard!