Overstock.com’s shock rebranding move yesterday is not only a big marketing coup for .CO Internet, it also may be good news for new top-level domains in general.
This is good evidence, if it were needed, that the very same trademark interests currently opposed to ICANN’s new TLDs program are also keenly aware of the benefits.
Overstock has had its eyes on O.com for over five years, and fought unsuccessfully within ICANN to have single-letter .com domains released from the VeriSign reserved list.
It was not until .co relaunched last summer – essentially a new TLD – that Overstock got the opportunity to register a domain (almost?) as good as the one it wanted.
I find this interesting because Overstock, like many other major brand owners, has been a vocal opponent of new TLDs.
In a July 2009 letter to ICANN (pdf), for example, Overstock expresses many of the same views about new TLDs that are still being expressed by the trademark interests currently holding up the program.
I’m not suggesting that Overstock’s eagerness to use O.co negates its specific criticisms of the new TLDs program, but its conflicting behavior does seem to suggest a certain degree of cognitive dissonance.
On the one hand, it opposed new TLDs. But when a new TLD launched, it grasped the opportunity with both hands and rebranded the whole company around it.
If what I hear is true, many of the companies publicly opposed to new TLDs are also the ones simultaneously investigating their own “.brand” domains.
Could Overstock’s latest move represent a pent-up demand for new TLDs among big brands? What does that mean for the future of .com as the internet’s premium real estate?