Why People Love To Hate .CO…And Why I Love .CO!

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!

{ 38 comments… add one }

  • Paul J. Kapschock July 21, 2010, 10:11 am

    If Google doesn’t index .CO…well, very very tough going if you depend upon search engine traffic for visitors/traffic/sales etc.

    Sure, paid advertising and social media and other avenues will drive traffic..but without search engine indexing…well…

    Should be fun!

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:16 am

    Why would Google not index it well? We know for a fact that Google does not take TLD into account when ranking sites. As long as its Geo-Targeted to the US it will be the same as a .com, .net or .org.

    Reply
  • jeff July 21, 2010, 10:24 am

    if that is the case morgan how come we aren’t seeing .ws or .us up in the results if they geo target to their english audience in the u.s.

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:26 am

    @Jeff – we do see .US up in the rankings all the time. Look up “Stimulus Check” on Yahoo and you’ll see my site StimulusCheck.us outranking StimulusCheck.com 🙂

    Also just for reference .US automatically Geo-Targets Google US. As for .WS – not many people liked this extension or developed sites on it which is why you don’t see them much…but it doesn’t mean they can’t rank, just means that not many developed.

    Reply
  • Andrew Douglas July 21, 2010, 10:32 am

    I don’t like it. Not because I hate alt extensions, but because it comes off as being a bit … well… scammy isn’t a word, but that’s how it feels to me. A common argument is “it’s a typo of .com”, which many people are using as a reason to buy it, but that isn’t something I want to be a part of. If you are hoping to brand on it (“building real websites not just minisites”), then I don’t see how .co stands up to any of the other extensions. “Because it’s available for hand registration” isn’t really a valid reason either.

    People laughed at .tel because you couldn’t build “real websites” on it, but it at least had a justifiable existence as “aiming to replacing phone numbers and contact lists with domain names and dns”. It hasn’t been a resounding success or anything and I’m not invested in .tel at this point, but it at least had an “angle”. It also had a decent “brand” that was relevant to what it was being used for.

    .ME, .TV, even .IN are words (or initials) that have meaning and that can be used to brand. .US is the ccTLD of the United States and can be used to brand. Extensions like .cc, .ws and .bz are all examples of extension that had no solid reason for existing outside their country, had no branding and they’ve all be relegated to the dust bin.

    .Co’s angle should have stayed as the ccTLD of Colombia

    If you’d had such success with .US and .ORG, I think your time will be much better spent on those tld’s.

    Reply
  • Mojito Recipe July 21, 2010, 10:33 am

    I will stick with “.com”, “.net”, and “.org”.

    Reply
  • Mojito Recipe July 21, 2010, 10:35 am

    By the way, I really like the header images you create. In the case of kayaking.org (and the other sites you have disclosed), where do you get your background images?

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:35 am

    Thanks for sharing @Andrew – I appreciate you sharing your opinion!

    Quick question for you: Do you think an end-user will think of .CO this as “company” or “corporation”?

    Reply
  • George July 21, 2010, 10:36 am

    I honestly see no reason why .co will be any different than any of the other extensions that have come and gone. All had their day and there was excitement at the ability to get generic terms that were not available in other extensions. I was able to get some good domains in previous landrushes and made some money selling them, and now, years later, I am glad I did sell them because I would really hate to be sitting on a bunch of .biz domains right now.

    In fact, .biz is a great example. Since you mentioned that .co can represent “company” why is that any different than what everybody was saying about .biz years ago. I remember the very same arguments back then. Does anybody want a .biz today? Will anybody want a .co a few years down the road?

    Reply
  • Johnnie July 21, 2010, 10:37 am

    “That being said, this isn’t like .MOBI in any way, nor is it like .US or .ME,”

    You’re right, it’s not like .us or me, those actually make more sense than .co. .co is just another extension where you can get some nice keywords and rank in the search engines, like any other extension out there. It’s horrible as far as branding because it’s simply going to get confused with what people are familiar with, the .com. It’s just another extension you can use to rank with, nothing more.

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:38 am

    Thanks for sharing @George – good questions and ones that I don’t think anyone knows the answer to!

    Like I said, buying .CO to resell is definitely taking a risk.

    If you have a .CO name that gets 10,000 visitors a month and makes $500/month I can promise you won’t have a hard time selling it…although you might not want to. I develop my names into online brands and I think .CO is much stronger than .BIZ when it comes to branding – as for search they both have an equal chance!

    Reply
  • Andrew Douglas July 21, 2010, 10:43 am

    @Morgan – End users can be convinced of just about anything, but .co is at a disadvantage because of its similarity to .com.

    Reply
  • Andrew Douglas July 21, 2010, 10:46 am

    And until proven otherwise I’m not convinced it will rank equally. Google has shown biases before, even for exact match domains. Particularly when the extension is a ccTLD.

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:46 am

    @Andrew – why would it’s similarity be a negative? I personally see this as a positive, they can get the name they’ve always wanted and it’s as close as you can get to .com without getting a .com.

    I think end-users have more fears around extensions like .US which are completely different and foreign to them. I think there’s something familiar to people about .CO being that it is so similar to .COM.

    Although it’s really just guessing right now so we’ll just have to see how it develops 🙂

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt July 21, 2010, 10:49 am

    Do you think there will be 200 thousand developed .CO sites over the next year?

    Reply
  • Kevin M. July 21, 2010, 10:50 am

    Morgan, buying to develop a specific keyword in a new extension is a great plan, especially for a developer who knows what they’re doing like yourself. Both development wise and long term planning wise. But in reality, over 60-70%+ of .co names that were bought, were more than likely bought for spec/resale. (Panic ‘I need some too’ buys can be included here also.) And though yes, .co has ‘company/corporate’ branding identity, being again realistic, unless all the (especially big) corps and companies that now use .com, change-to or re-brand themselves with the .co, I don’t see how any saturated public acceptance will develop to push it to a level of such public recognition. Look at .tv (10 years later) and it’s market share/usage/trusted recognition today. (The only place .tv seems to really be ‘thriving’ of late, is at NP.) And as sweet as Daina is, she probably wouldn’t of known of .co, and would of been just as happy to get a great keyword in any extension, had she had your experienced enlightenment to do so accordingly at the time. So like any extension, be it .info, .biz, .tv, .me, etc., sure some .co’s will get developed into great worthwhile sites. And some will sell some ‘early’ and make some nice roi. But like .info, .biz, .tv, .me, etc., the ‘It Stands For..’ (think .ws) of .co, will more than likely be just another promotional sales hype of another tld ‘landrush’ money grab, and .co will be one of many extensions filling up the drops. (jmo of course)

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:50 am

    @Andrew – fair enough, ranking will have to be proven, definitely agree there…don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t though.

    I’m a glass half-full kind of guy. So I see that .CO being similar to .COM is a good thing. I also will assume it will rank just as well as my other domains are until proven otherwise.

    I understand the skepticism though and I’ve put less than $500 total into .CO so I’m not breaking the bank on this, but I do believe in the names I bought and look forward to reporting some nice revenue numbers on them over the next year!

    Stay-positive! 🙂

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:51 am

    @Leonard haha – great question! Nope, I don’t think there will be, plenty of Domainers are speculating in this space so there will be tens of thousands of parked domains wasting-away preventing small-businesses from getting them at a reasonable price.

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 10:53 am

    Thanks for sharing @Kevin!

    Reply
  • Paul Kapschock July 21, 2010, 10:55 am

    Yes….. sorry, I should clarify.

    Google will send bots and your site will get indexed and all that happy stuff but will Google display the results in their serps? Your site shown in the top 10 positions or even first 100 positions?

    There was talk on a blog about Missouri.me and the .ME extension. Someone mentioned that Missouri.me isn’t in the top 1,000 positions for Missouri on Google! I find that hard to believe, with all the blogging and press links it received. Bruce’s site has seo and is relevant and alive and no Google love. I checked it out and did a limited search, ab0ut 100 or so and couldn’t find it.

    Now, are different keywords showing up with .me….I don’t know …didn’t search.

    That would be my concern with .CO…will your developed site show up in relevant serps on Google? Like .ME.

    There is no problem with .US.

    Sorry for any confusion.

    Reply
  • Mike Juegor July 21, 2010, 10:57 am

    Ok. You guys are discussing geo-targeting here. Morgan, did you already add a .co domain to the webmaster panel and try to see if it can be geo-targeted?

    For .me domains, it took more than a year before Google let this happen. I am sure it will be quicker for .co but still I would not assume the exact match boost will be as powerful as the 3 gTLD’s.

    I also like the sound of .co domains for branding and the first year will be the real hassle for the marketing team which did an excellent job so far.

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 11:04 am

    Thanks @Paul for clarifying.

    My site, PayOffDebt.me shows-up on the first page of Yahoo when you search for “Pay Off Debt”. It outranks some sites that have been established for MUCH longer than it with more content and backlinks.

    I don’t have as much experience with .ME as I do with .US but I think the reason you don’t see more .ME sites in search results is because there aren’t nearly as many developed .ME sites as there are .com, .net, and .org.

    Food for thought but we won’t know until I have a .CO on the first page of Google 🙂

    Reply
  • Steve July 21, 2010, 11:11 am

    Morgan,
    My only concern is “how stable is the Columbian Government?”.
    After spending buckets of money on developing a .co domain and the Columbian government goes “schizoid”, you may be left in the dust. “I just heard the Columbian government was changing the registration rules for .co. Only Columbian citizens will be able to register .co’s and existing .co’s will be pooled and re-released to the Columbian population.”
    I wouldn’t want to see that press release. Questions about the .cn , .ru, etc. are all very real especially if the government in question decides to change the rules. And as we know governments never change the rules. 🙂
    Best.

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 11:12 am

    @Steve – a valid concern and a risk we all take. At under $500 invested if the government steals all my domains it will have been worth the risk…and hopefully by then I’ll have made a few thousand dollars with them too!

    Reply
  • Paul Kapschock July 21, 2010, 11:25 am

    “My site, PayOffDebt.me shows-up on the first page of Yahoo when you search for “Pay Off Debt”. …….yes…..that is great with Yahoo.

    Go get them with .CO :}

    I am big time .US lover too!

    With all the new private extensions (.travel, .nyc, .sports, etc) coming out, will be very crowded serps!

    Reply
  • Steve July 21, 2010, 11:39 am

    Morgan,
    $500 loss would be a bonus if that was it. In reality we both know the amount of work involved in building out any site properly. I have many .cn’s that so far are all fine but in a heartbeat the government in question could change the rules with no regard for how it affects existing owners. I really like cctls and idn.countrycode domains (so does google) but all should have a local market that can use the domains and are capable of buying something. India, China, Russia, Mexico all have major populations with a growing middle class that has money. Columbia, I am not sure if there is a middle class. If you can grab some quick scratch from .co parking/minisites then great but it sounds like your .us sites are doing amazing and I would spend your valuable time on those.
    Best Regards.

    Reply
  • Michael July 21, 2010, 11:40 am

    To those that think search engines penalize the extension, or only give it preference when the searcher is in that country, you are wrong. I’ve seen tons of .us, .me, .cc, etc. rank well. Sure, you see it less often, but that is only because there are less quality sites developed on those extensions.

    To Morgan, I have to disagree with your logic that the average internet user will understand the extension just because they are familiar with the “Co” abbreviation. If that were true, .tv would be huge. I once sent my mom an email telling her that her first name, Susan, was up for sale with Susan.mobi. She is a very savvy internet user, and even understands a bit about the domain/development industry from me telling her about my own adventures. Her response was “That’s cool, but what’s the .mobi on the end?”

    I’m not trying to knock ccTLDs because there are margins in anything (although in alternate extensions the worthwhile profits are usually only seen in the ultra-premiums). But I see .co as worse than .tv because it is so close to .com. Half the people will think it was a typo and should have been .com, and the other half will type type the “m” on the end out of habit. If ever an alternate extension would bleed traffic to its .com counterpart, this is it imho.

    Reply
  • RH July 21, 2010, 1:42 pm

    I bought one Nueve.co 9 in Spanish. I did think of some others. Perfect example I had everywhere in the cart and kept refreshing. Then hours later someone in New Zealand regged it. I kept thinking what will I do with this name.

    I then thought Twitter got T.co under the founders program. Why did Overstock pay $350,000 ? Doesn’t seem logical.

    Typos go both ways. I can say in 14 years I have never forgot the m when typing a domain. But I will bet JoeAverageInternetUser will see the .co and say “Oh they forgot the M” And he will add the m because he will think its .com.

    Morgan I have much respect for you and I agree with the positivity and a lot of people just like to say anything sucks. But some of the names you mentioned don’t make sense with CO like the scientific ones. So someone could have found those in any cctld and developed imo.

    I am looking at one other which is English but is for a business so might reg that. Best of luck to you and your girlfriend with your .co development.

    Reply
  • Chris Robbins July 21, 2010, 2:32 pm

    Morgan,

    The only problem is we don’t want the big G to geo-target the US. We want it to recognize it as a global brand.

    Reply
  • Morgan July 21, 2010, 2:52 pm

    @Chris – .com is Geo-Targeted to the US so it puts .CO directly on par with .COM. There is no TLD that targets every single country – it has to target one specific country and the US is one of the best ones to target!

    Remember, in Germany there are ads and billboards with URLs ending in .de and in Australia the same is true for .com.au. .COM has always been a US brand since it is targeting Google US by default.

    Reply
  • Mark July 21, 2010, 4:25 pm

    Hey Morgan:

    I appreciate your optimism! We need more of it. And in no way to I question your development skills. However, I think you might be caught up in a current hype.

    Six billion people know .com. Perhaps sixty thousand know .co.

    Just my humble opinion.

    Hope you make lotsa $$$$ regardless. We need another Bimmer on the roads in LA :).

    Mark

    Reply
  • Dotmainer July 22, 2010, 1:38 am

    have you forgott M there ? Should be coM

    Reply
  • Duane July 22, 2010, 4:50 am

    ” .com is Geo-Targeted to the US ”

    Sorry to step Morgan, but this is not exactly right! Dot COM is a completly open TLD and not targeted to any specific country. Google Webmastertools gives you the option to target a specific country if you want. If you dont target a specific country, google will automatic recognize which language is on site and therefor target which country’s fit to the content.

    “Remember, in Germany there are ads and billboards with URLs ending in .de”
    This is also a “catch 22” because large international company’s like to use .COM!

    I will also state the exapmle why!
    As a example the German language. You have 3 country’s and some which speak German. Austria, Switzerland, Germany and so on. If using a .COM with German content written, Google will rank you on Google.de , .at , .ch ! If your using a .de it can be negative when wanting to target Austria (.at) , Switzerland (.ch) because they automatically target the ccTLD’s to the specific country without giving you the option.

    My proven expirience.

    PS: I like the .CO but only invested in 5 of them which I will develope and see how things turn out.

    Reply
  • Chris Robbins July 22, 2010, 7:01 am

    Just came upon this article this morning that should ease some: Google approves .co for international use: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/359704/google-approves-co-domain-for-international-use

    Reply
  • David July 22, 2010, 3:29 pm

    So many haters 🙁

    I think that .Co is going to do better then any of the other ccTLDs out there. It might take some time for people to get used to it, but eventually I think corporations and businesses are going to start seeing the value of a .co domain.

    I agree with Morgan on that a lot of end users who have always wanted to a particular keyword domain are going to be more than happy to purchase a .co domain with their particular keyword. Heck, thats what I did! 🙂 I always wanted a News domain and my last name for email, I now I was finally able to get the domains 🙂

    I really do believe that .Co domains are going to be at least equal in value to .net/.org domains, and with 200,000 domains already being bought, people are for sure going to notice the extension.

    Instead of arguing if the .Co extension is good or not we should introduce it to the internet users, and eventually it’ll pay off 🙂

    Reply
  • David July 22, 2010, 3:31 pm

    Ooops typo… I agree with Morgan on that a lot of end users who have always wanted to *have* a particular keyword….

    Reply
  • Mazhar August 19, 2010, 1:21 pm

    Hi gentlemen. As I kept reading your views, I just ran my .CO domains, namely
    Bakeries.co and Chiller.co. Each of them was the very first one to appear in the box.

    Reply
  • Fred McCaughey December 2, 2010, 4:27 am

    I purchased the listed address. I used to own and run http://www.idsupply.com. I sold it six years ago. Now I will compete again. I actually live in Asia now, but work using the web. My partner in the US gave me all this negative feedback from his current host and web developer telling me .co would not work. I like rolling the dice and we need another usable extension. Now that I see that Google and Yahoo are treating .co like a .com if you specify it I know how right I was. You were too. All the naysayers of the world will be proven wrong this time. Always enjoy your writings!

    Reply

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