O.co, the company formerly known as Overstock.com, has bought the domain name o.info directly from registry manager Afilias for an undisclosed amount.
It’s the first single-character sale Afilias has announced since ICANN gave it the go-ahead to release one and two-letter names from reserved status in April 2010.
What makes it particularly interesting is that O.co has agreed to build a separate web site at o.info, using the domain for the purpose suggested by the TLD string.
The idea of allocating a valuable name to a big brand in exchange for a use commitment – the “founders program” model – is of course now a standard part of a TLD registry’s marketing toolkit.
It’s more unusual too see the same tactics used to promote a decade-old gTLD.
O.co CEO Patrick Byrne said in a statement:
We will use O.info as a website destination to consolidate useful consumer information. The .info domain is the logical destination for visitors to find product information, user manuals, buying guides, manufacturer and brand reviews, video demonstrations and recall notices.
The price has not been disclosed. It could easily be in the six-figures, extrapolating from the $350,000 the company dropped on o.co last year.
On the other hand, it could be lower.
I feel certain that .CO Internet would have handed over o.co for free if it had known how much great publicity it would bring; it’s possible Afilias may have sacrificed part of its windfall in the hope of reaping some marketing benefits too.
It has 25 more letters to sell, after all.