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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.

Thousands of short .co domains available

The .co registry may have sold over a million domains since it launched a year ago, but there may be quite a bit of potentially valuable real estate still available.

.CO Internet said in its registrar newsletter this week that, as of May 31, 51.2% of three-letter domains and 71.1% of three-character combinations were still available.

On the back of the envelope I’m looking at, that works out to about 9,000 three-letter names and about 33,000 three-letter/number domains.

No three-letter domains are available for the basic registration fee in .com.

Three-letter domains are often considered fairly safe investments by domainers, from a cybersquatting risk perspective, but UDRP panelists don’t always agree.

UPDATE: In response to a few skeptical reader comments, I pinged .CO for clarification. It turns out that the quoted percentages include the seven Spanish IDN characters that .CO allows — á, é, í, ó, ú, ñ, ü.

Domains including these strings would presumably be far less appealing to registrants, and not all .co registrars offer IDN characters.

The number of pure ASCII three-letter domains available in .co is presumably much, much lower than my envelope math suggested.