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.CO quiet on Super Bowl sales

Kevin Murphy, February 18, 2011, 16:27:19 (UTC), Domain Registries

Judging from its CEO’s latest blog post, .CO Internet doesn’t want to talk about how many new .co domain names were registered following its Super Bowl commercial with Go Daddy.
I take this as a sign that the event did not have an earth-shattering impact on its registration numbers.
Making some basic assumptions, reading between the lines, and using some back-of-the-envelope math, I estimate that the number of new .co domains registered was likely less than 50,000.
That’s not terrible, but I think it could take quite some time for the company to see a return on its investment, given that its margins on the promotional pricing would have been pretty thin and that at least a quarter of those registrations will likely disappear a year from now.
I doubt it made enough cash on the day to pay for Joan Rivers’ boob job.
But in Juan Calle’s post, he makes it clear that .CO is playing the long game. He wrote:

The most common success metric that many registries use is the total number of domain names registered. Although we are certainly enjoying our incredible growth – the number of .CO domains registered is simply not a metric we believe is robust enough to measure the kind of impact we fully plan and expect to have in the world over the long term.

You can be fairly sure that if .CO had doubled the size of its customer base last week, or broke through the million-domain milestone, Calle would not be talking in these terms.
He’s not keen on using secondary market prices to define success either, saying he expects it will be four or five years before the .co aftermarket matures.
Sedo’s .co auction, which ended yesterday, saw the majority of domains fail to meet their lofty reserves. But that’s not necessarily a slight on .co – auction activity in general has been sluggish recently.
Calle has some fetal ideas about how to measure the success of a TLD. He wrote:

To gauge the impact of the .CO extension, I think we will need to consider a combination of factors. Imagine, if you will, a sort of “Gross Domain Product” or “GDP,” measuring not only the total number of .CO registrations, but the number of websites developed, and the broader value of the economic activity happening within the .CO space.

It’s an interesting idea, but there’s a reason why most people judge TLDs based on their number of registrations. It goes something like: registrations = revenue = profit.
Selling domains is generally a registry’s only revenue stream. A registry with few registrations won’t turn a profit, and stands less of a chance of staying in business.
And for the aftermarket, a TLD retaining a large number of registered and renewing domains over the long term means there’s demand, which leads to higher prices.
Fortunately for .co, it is off to a great start, with probably something approaching 700,000 domains under its belt in just seven months, if my envelope-back is reliable.
Calle’s post gives every indication that the company plans to keep up its aggressive marketing spend, so the TLD stands, I think, a pretty good chance of breaking through the one million domains mark this year.

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Comments (11)

  1. JS says:

    Would be interesting to know what Calle is expecting in terms of renewal rate. The way things are going, I believe a good deal of .Co renewals will be due during the same few months when some new TLDs will launch.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      The industry norm for renewals in established TLDs is usually about 70-75%. For a new TLD, I expect it will be much lower, especially given the premium pricing.
      I’m pretty certain .CO has planned for this.

  2. em says:

    I think everything is par for the course. They will get their 1 Mill. registrations. This year. Superbowl ad was nice but not earth-shattering, right. It is the better way to go. To allow the aftermarket to mature rather than have big numbers right of the bat and experience a crash.

  3. MS says:

    I risk guessing that the maximum amount of registrations for .co after the renewal period would be under 450k and the only one who can consider this a success is .co really, imo no TLD would ever even noticeably dent the position .com is in, which happened unplanned and naturally.
    Long game? Game over.

  4. Joe says:

    I’ve talked to Lori Anne Wardi who told me what they’ve done so far to promote the extension is just the beginning and they will be rolling out many new campaigns throughout the year (the first one being the billboard on Times Square in NY).
    As for the July 20th, what we’ll see will be people dropping all the garbage they have and renewing only the valuable ones. At this point I’m sure many have already renewed some of the best domains using the Christmas promotions (for example at GoDaddy) like I did.

  5. SEO PPC says:

    If I remembered properly, the .mobi received more hype and response during its heydays than what .co is getting now. The marketing campaigns for .mobi lost momentum after the initial gung ho unfortunately.
    .co can only succeed if they don’t repeat the same mistake of .mobi by burning all the marketing and promotion budget within 1 to 2 years. If the inertia can be built for 5 years down the road, then the chance of success is real.

  6. Rob says:

    Read the post and do the math Kevin, they gave the sales figure without actually disclosing it….
    If .CO sold 600,000 domains in a year (365 days), then they sell on average 1643 domain in a day. Suppose this is a high average for Sunday, so on a normal sunday, sales are probably closer to 1000 domains pero day.
    Now multiply what Mr. Calle says about 35x the average by 1000 and you get about 30,000 .CO domains sold on SuperBowl sunday.
    Ballpark figures, I guess they’re doing pretty good, strange they keep so quiet though…

  7. […] extra 30,000 domains is the same ball park as .CO Internet received following its commercial on Super Bowl Sunday last […]

  8. […] 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. […]

  9. […] 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. […]

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