Today is the one-year anniversary of the .co top-level domain entering general availability.
As you may recall, .co got off to a flying start, selling about 100,000 names in its first half hour and over 200,000 registrations during its first day.
The question is: how many of those domains will start expiring today and drop over the next few months?
A recent HosterStats survey, from June 1, apparently found that approximately 41% of the 593,622 .co domains it was able to detect were presumed parked.
The survey was not exhaustive, as .CO Internet reports over one million registered .co domains today, and HosterStats acknowledged that its breakdown may differ from the actual numbers.
Still, the data suggests that .co is likely just as heavily speculated as other TLDs, and that some short-term speculators will let their domains expire over the coming days and weeks.
HosterStats’ John McCormac wrote in a comment on an earlier DI post:
What typically happens just after a Landrush anniversary is that the percentage of PPC in a new TLD falls as many speculative domains that could not be flipped or monetised are dropped. The developed websites percentage increases but getting development started in a new TLD is a slow process and takes a few years.
Of course, .CO Internet is all about encouraging development. It has pumped millions into marketing the TLD as somewhere for entrepreneurs to get a good name for their sites.
But with a substantial base of speculative registrations, it seems inevitable that .CO is going to take a hit today, as the first-wave land-grab begins to die out.
I’m not sure whether this will massively impact the number of domains .CO Internet reports, however.
My estimate is that .co currently stands at over 1.1 million domains. It grew from around 600,000 in late December to one million in May, according to registry publicity.
Even if it starts to lose tens of thousands of speculative domains this week, I don’t think .CO will have to stop saying it has more than a million registrations any time soon.
The company does not publish its exact numbers. Chief executive Juan Calle has stated that he thinks registration volume is a poor metric for judging the “success” of a TLD.
UPDATE: The original version of this article stupidly used the word “drop” quite a lot, when “expire” was the more correct word.