Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Paul Goldstone puts co.com up for sale

Kevin Murphy, March 8, 2012, Domain Sales

The domain name co.com has been put up for sale by domain investor Paul Goldstone.

The domain, which received 4.5 million unique visitors and 14 million page views in 2011, will be brokered jointly by DomainAdvisors and SellDomains.com, according to a press release.

I can immediately think of two companies that should be interested.

It might be a very smart move for .CO Internet, the .co registry, to buy the name and wildcard the third level in order to capture .co typo traffic.

It’s also exactly the kind of address CentralNic – which sells third-level names under domains such as us.org and uk.com – likes to use as a pseudo-gTLD.

If these two and others get into a bidding war, Goldstone could wind up making a packet.

DomainAdvisors CEO Tessa Holcomb said she expects the domain to fetch a “multi seven-figure” price.

O.co loses 61% of its traffic to O.com

Overstock.com’s decision to rebrand itself O.co had a disastrous effect on the internet retailer’s traffic, according to its CEO.

Patrick Byrne told financial analysts yesterday that “O.co was my bad call” and that “about eight out of 13 people who were trying to visit us through O.co, eight were typing O.com”

It’s not clear what the source of the data is, or why the measurement given was out of 13, but it works out to 61%.

Byrne noted that people may have typed o.co instead after figuring out that o.com doesn’t work – it’s currently reserved, alongside most other single-letter .com domains, by Verisign.

His comments came as Overstock reported 2011 revenue down 3% to $1.05 billion and fourth-quarter revenue down 10% to $314 million.

Byrne said on a conference call with analysts:

There were some bad decisions for which I take responsibility in marketing O.co. O.co was odd in that it worked on one level. It did get out there into people’s heads, but what we discovered, and we turned it up slowly and we actually had nice adoption from the beginning of last year, gradually people shifting to O.co and then, but we got into the Christmas season and it worked terribly for people who were not familiar with us. There was a tremendous amount of traffic diverting to O.com and I think we’ve figured out that it was about eight out of 13 people who were trying to visit us through O.co, eight were typing O.com. Now some of them may have come, trying anyway.

The company bought o.co from registry .CO Internet for $350,000 in July 2010, during the .co relaunch. It later said it would rebrand the company on its new domain.

It even bought the naming rights to the Oakland Coliseum, which is now known as the O.co Coliseum.

Until quite recently, Overstock was an important .CO Internet reference customer. Now, I’m guessing, not so much.

Overstock has “slowed” its rebranding, reverting to referring to o.co as a “shortcut” rather than its primary address, which remains overstock.com.

The company bought o.info last year and this week launched the site as an information portal for its products. It also operates o.biz as a business-to-business site.

Startup America obtains s.co and offers free .co domains to entrepreneurs

Kevin Murphy, February 2, 2012, Domain Registries

Startup America, an initiative to encourage entrepreneurship in the US, has relocated to S.co and will offer a free one-year .co domain registration to registered members.

For .CO Internet, the .co registry, this is a pretty sweet marketing coup.

The Startup America Partnership is a private initiative created a year ago in response to White House calls for grassroots economic stimulus.

It’s chaired by former AOL chief Steve Case, and has over a billion dollars in support commitments from tech heavyweights such as IBM, Intel and HP.

Signing up to the program grants entrepreneurs resources such as discounted accounting software and access to workshops. Now, they’ll also get a free .co domain for a year, if they want one.

As part of the deal, Startup America, which was located at startupamericapartnership.org, can now be found at s.co.

While .CO has been commanding prices for single-letter .co domains of, anecdotally, over a million dollars, I’d be surprised if any significant money has changed hands here.

For a Colombian TLD to become part of a flag-waving American initiative such as this, giving it access to its core target customer base… well, let’s just say that even if it gave away s.co for free, which I think it probably did, it would still be a very smart deal from .CO’s end.

.me beating .co in start-ups?

Kevin Murphy, February 1, 2012, Domain Registries

The .co top-level domain may have more registrations, but more tech start-ups are opting for .me domain names, according to an informal study.

Doctoral student Thomas Park compiled a list of 1,000 start-ups added to TechCrunch’s CrunchBase database last year and found that entrepreneurs chose .co 1% of the time, versus 1.7% for .me.

As caveats, the difference between the two TLDs only works out to seven companies and .me, which launched in 2008, does of course have a two-year head start over .co.

I’m also guessing that CrunchBase has an English-language bias, which could skew the results. While .co has meaning in more countries it lacks the call-to-action punch of .me in English.

Nevertheless, I think the results are interesting because .CO Internet heavily targets start-ups in its marketing and currently has twice as many domains under management (over 1.1 million) as doMEn, the Afilias/Go Daddy joint-venture .me registry.

Park’s results show that .me had a 0.50% share in 2010 and a 0.80% share in 2009 while .co managed to get one company (0.10%) on the list during the half of 2010 it was live.

The survey found that .com is the runaway first choice for entrepreneurs, with about 85% of the start-up market, but you knew that already.

Go Daddy to advertise .co at the Super Bowl

Kevin Murphy, December 5, 2011, Domain Registrars

Go Daddy plans to advertise .co domain names during the Super Bowl broadcast for the second year in a row.

The company has bought two 30-second slots during the show, one of which will plug .co and will feature celebrity spokesmodels Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels.

Scripts for both ads have been approved by NBC censors already, Go Daddy said.

It will be the eighth consecutive year the company has advertised during the inexplicably popular sporting event, which had a record-breaking 111 million US viewers this February.

The 2011 ad revealed Joan Rivers, her head spliced onto the body of a much younger glamor model, as the .co Go Daddy Girl.

I estimated at the time that .CO Internet took roughly 30,000 to 50,000 extra registrations due to the Super Bowl commercial.