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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.

Om Malik switches from .me to .co

Kevin Murphy, November 14, 2011, Domain Registries

High-profile Silicon Valley tech blogger Om Malik has switched from a .me domain name to a .co.

His personal blog, found at omis.me, is now redirecting to om.co. It’s a personal “rebranding”, according to a blog post this evening from .CO Internet CEO Juan Calle.

Calle was responding to reports today about Overstock.com’s decision to slow down its transition to the O.co brand, which is arguably .CO Internet’s biggest customer win to date.

Malik is best known as the founder of GigaOm, a professional tech news/analysis blog. If it’s any gauge of his influence, he has almost 1.3 million Twitter followers.

GigaOm is sticking with its .com.

Overstock.com slows down O.co rebranding

Kevin Murphy, November 14, 2011, Domain Registries

Overstock.com is throttling its transition to the O.co brand after discovering consumers typed o.com even after watching the company’s commercials, according to a report.

The company’s $350,000 purchase of and subsequent rebranding around the o.co domain was possibly the single biggest single marketing coup for .CO Internet, the .co registry, to date.

But now it intends to keep the Overstock.com brand in the US for the time being, while using O.co overseas and on a new iPad app, according to a report in AdAge.

The O.co Coliseum, the stadium in Oakland for which Overstock bought the naming rights, will continue to bear the O.co name.

AdAge quoted Overstock president Jonathon Johnson saying that “a good portion” of people viewing its commercials tried to visit o.com, which is a non-resolving registry-reserved name, instead.

“We were going too fast and people were confused, which told us we didn’t do a good job,” he told AdAge. “We’re still focused on getting to O.co, just at a slower pace… We’re not flipping back, we’re just refocusing.”

This is obviously bad news for commercial new top-level domain applicants, many of which will be looking for all-important anchor tenants to validate their brands at launch.

Marketing people like to refer to the measurable results of others before pulling the trigger on new initiatives. The O.co case is unlikely to create enthusiasm for new TLDs.

On the other hand, it’s commonly believed that when it comes to breaking the .com mindset in the US, it will take more than a trickle of new TLDs such as .co. It will take a flood.

.CO Internet has always taken the position that .co adoption will take time, and that the ICANN new gTLD program will help its cause by raising awareness of non-.com domains.

Open .co landrush re-auctions — the full list

Kevin Murphy, October 4, 2011, Domain Sales

.CO Internet is putting 100 .co domain names that failed to auction during its landrush last year up for “re-auction”, and it looks like there are a few possible gems on the list.

The company said last week that the 100 names are the last of the domains that went to auction but failed to change hands due to a lack of bidders or non-payment by the winner.

While the first auctions were restricted to only those who had paid the landrush fee, this time around anybody can participate. Pool.com will again handle the auction.

There are some potentially nice names, such as accidentlawyers.co, injurylawyers.co, seoul.co, comicbooks.co and businessintelligence.co.

Click here for the full list of names.

On its birthday, .co has a 66% renewal rate

Kevin Murphy, August 16, 2011, Domain Registries

Two thirds of .co domain names due to expire in July were renewed, according to the registry.

In its monthly newsletter, .CO Internet said that its renewal rate was 66%.

A company spokesperson confirmed that this figure is for the entire month, which includes the July 20 one-year anniversary of the repurposed ccTLD going into general availability.

What this essentially means is that about one in three .co domain names registered for a year during the initial landrush a year ago were allowed to expire last month.

According to HosterStats, which categorizes over half a million .co domains according to how they’re being used, about 73,000 .co domains – roughly 13% of the total – are now classified as expired.

.CO Internet says it has over one million registered domains.

If the company was publicly traded, investors and analysts would be looking to the renewal rate as an indication of the financial health of the company.

VeriSign typically reports a .com/.net renewal percentage in the low-to-mid 70s. If .co has a similar ratio, that’s not necessarily positive.

If 41% of .co is parked, how many domains will expire today?

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.

Go Daddy and Joan Rivers win .CO awards

Kevin Murphy, July 20, 2011, Gossip

The .co registry .CO Internet has announced the winners of its inaugural Bulby Awards, given out to the best .co sites.

Key registrar partner Go Daddy won an award (for x.co), as did the companies’ joint Super Bowl spokesmodel Joan Rivers (for joan.co).

Go Daddy’s Bulby was for the Best Use Of A Single Letter Domain. It beat Twitter (t.co) and Overstock (o.co). Rivers beat the singer Charlotte Church for Best Personal Site.

Sociable.co beat domain blogger Elliot Silver (bahamas.co) to the Best Content award.

The winners were tallied up from votes submitted online, .CO said. The results can be found here.

Afilias does something similar for .info domains every year, but its awards have cash prizes.

Yawn… Google buys shortcut g.co for millions

Do I have to write another 19 of these stories?

.CO Internet has announced the sale of the domain name g.co to Google. It will be used – shock! – as a URL shortener for Google’s services.

While the selling price has not been disclosed, I believe the starting bid for single-character .co domains is around $1.5 million. I expect Google will have paid more.

Google said on its official blog that only Google will be able to create g.co short links and they’ll only redirect to Google sites, unlike goo.gl, which is its customer-facing shortening service.

This is excellent news for .CO, of course. It gets yet another super-high-profile anchor tenant that will spread .co links (and, hopefully for the company, awareness) around the web like a virus.

Amazon acquired a.co, z.co and k.co, Overstock is of course now known as O.co, Go Daddy got x.co and Twitter is using t.co as its official URL shortener.

By my reckoning, that leaves another 19 one-letter .co names to sell. The registry’s windfall could quite easily amount to a year’s revenue for just 26 registrations.

That’s not including the numbers, of course.

Speaking of numbers, .CO also announced today that Silicon Valley incubator 500 Startups is to use 500.co, instead of 500startups.com, as its official domain.

Entrepreneurs, not URL shorteners, are .CO’s target market, vital for its longevity, so it was a very smart PR move to combine these two customer wins into one announcement.

Go Daddy dominant in .co domains

Go Daddy is responsible for more than one third of all .co domain name registrations, according to new research from HosterStats.

HosterStats has managed to track down 616,227 .co domains, and found in its first .co report that 32.69% of them point to domaincontrol.com, Go Daddy’s primary name server doman.

Another two Go Daddy domains, secureserver.net and cashparking.com, handle 3.89% and 3.42% of known .co domains, the report says.

The registry, .CO Internet, does not publish its zone files, so HosterStats does not have stats covering the over one million .co domains that have been registered.

Still, it’s a pretty decent sample size, and probably a reasonably reliable guide for estimating Go Daddy’s .co market share.

It’s pretty much in line with Go Daddy’s overall market share, and comes as little surprise given joint marketing initiatves such as this year’s Super Bowl commercial.

Sedo’s sedoparking.com was the second-largest .co host, with 5.21% of the names.

Tallying up percentages from name servers exclusively associated with parking services, it appears that at least 10% of .co is parked.

I suspect the real number to be much larger.

DomainMonster gets .co accreditation

DomainMonster has announced that it’s the first UK-based domain name registrar to get a .co accreditation.

The partnership comes as .CO Internet expands its registrar channel beyond the initial 10 that were approved when it launched a year ago.

The registry announced in April that it would add 20 new registars over the next 12 months.

DomainMonster has been selling .co domains as a reseller of Colombian registrar Domino Amigo for the last year.

The company says did a pretty brisk trade on the first day of .co availability, securing more .co names in the first 10 minutes than any other registrar, with a 90% success rate.

I’ve heard from a few places recently that Go Daddy may have even asked DomainMonster to submit launch-day registrations on its behalf.

The company also has a new reseller platform of its own, DomainBox, which will also make .co domains available to partners.