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What does the Overstock commercial mean for .co?

Kevin Murphy, November 5, 2010, 11:57:08 (UTC), Domain Registries

Judging by the number of exclamation marks being deployed over on the .CO Internet blog today, it’s a fairly safe bet that the company is rather happy with Overstock.com’s latest TV commercial.

It’s the first high-profile commercial to feature a .co domain, in this case o.co, which could go some way to raise the newly relaunched TLD’s profile in the US.

While it’s a nice first step for .CO, I wouldn’t say its TLD has necessarily “arrived” yet, on the basis of this ad, for a few reasons.

First, what’s this “shortcut” business?

Overstock.com commercial

Should this be troubling?

The biggest marketing coups .CO has inked to date have been for x.co and t.co, URL shorteners offered by Go Daddy and Twitter respectively. Now, Overstock is using its o.co as a “shortcut”, which bounces visitors to overstock.com.

True, Overstock’s .com domain is its brand, and that’s not about to change, but its use of o.co as a “shortcut” may perpetuate the short-term perception that .co’s primary purpose is short URLs.

On the upside, the company is actively encouraging customers to type a .co domain into their browsers.

Getting this “type-in awareness” is something I know that .CO Internet is looking to foster, something that the Twitter deal does not necessarily bring to the table.

It’s also encouraging that Overstock feels comfortable using a .co domain where it does not own the equivalent .com. That said, nobody does. Most single-letter .com domains are still reserved.

While this may be a branding risk for Overstock, could it actually be helpful for .CO, training fat-fingered users the difference between .com and .co domains? It seems possible.

It’s interesting to note that Overstock is using “www.” for its .co, but not for its .com, presumably in order to train viewers that “this is a URL”, much the same as .com domains were once uniformly advertised with the www prefix.

A reliable sign that .co has “arrived” would be when an advertiser feels happy to drop the www.

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Comments (14)

  1. Rob Sequin says:

    Not sure why overstock would want to rebrand themselves as o.co which is what they are doing.

    I give it about one month.

    Overstock customers have no idea what o.co means and unless Overstock puts MILLIONS into advertising the o.co url, it’s DOA just like all the other .co domains.

    MAYBE o.com MIGHT work for overstock if they are trying to get away from the word overstock but for what they would have to spend to get people to understand o.co, they should buy o.com for whatever price they have to pay.

    Chalk this one up to a marketing blunder.

  2. Will says:

    .com is not the only extension Internet users has ever seen. I’m optimistically investing in .co domain names, so I applaud Overstock’s initiative and wish them success.

  3. kandyjet says:

    i like to see google using g.co 😀

  4. marti. says:

    Yes your correct!
    bit.ly is so pupuler. this does not promoted .ly as the next choice of people after .com. so this kind of promotion will have less impact and people will start to think .co is another url shortner like imo.

  5. chris says:

    Personally, I believe that if overstock markets this right, and provides commercials that are properly marketed, they will succeed in branding .co extension. All they need to do is provide a commercial which will make people remember the product, such as the old spice guy – or the allstate commercials with Dean Winters. They have the money to market – the just need to do it properly

  6. idntraffic says:

    Overstock is simply working up to getting O.com if/when it is up for grabs. They’re training the media and public for it atm.

    It’s a strategic move on their part.

    Watch this space…

  7. Gazzip says:

    “Overstock is simply working up to getting O.com if/when it is up for grabs. They’re training the media and public for it atm.

    It’s a strategic move on their part.”

    idntraffic nailed it, they’re after the O.com and Overstock already have a few live trademarks for O.com in place.

    Smart but sneaky 🙂

  8. Joe says:

    This is just the starting point for .CO to become known worldwide. The road to success is very long, but we’re here waiting for it.

  9. Don says:

    This is huge for .co

    >co are selling like crazy in the private market. They will never get o.com I mean really if google can’t get g.com you think overstock will.

    They will never be released in my opinion. Just wait unitil the .co starts getting indexed in all the search engines across the universe.

  10. Kevin,

    I suppose I really outdid myself on the exclamation points in my most recent post. I do tend to be quite enthusiastic about .CO — but I suppose I may have gone a little overboard in my use of my favorite punctuation mark this time. ; )

    Re “what the Overstock commercial means for .CO,” I think it is simply another step in the right direction. It’s a great vote of confidence by Overstock, and a fantastic opportunity to generate broad based consumer awareness about the .CO domain.

    Have we “arrived” yet? I’m with you — absolutely not. While we’ve had a great first 4 months, “arriving” requires much more than a great “start” — it needs a great middle and end, too. For now, we’ve barely just gotten out of the gate. So all I can say is, “stay tuned.” We have big plans in the works – and every intention of doing great things in the years to come.

    Lori Anne Wardi
    Director, .CO Internet

    LOL
    (Notice the lack of exclamation marks in this reply. It was hard to restrain myself, but I managed)….

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