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

Kevin Murphy, July 20, 2011, 19:58:33 (UTC), Domain Registries

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.

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Comments (18)

  1. I think we will see a lot of drops, but this TLD will still be going strong. Juan is right about the registration volume not being a good metric.
    With big companies like Google and Twitter behind the TLD, it’s safe to say it’s here to stay.
    Check out for some bargains before the drop!

  2. andrew says:

    I assume .co domains have a grace period, pending delete, etc? We may not know for some time how many will drop.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      You’re totally correct. Since you left this comment I have edited the article to remove the word “drop” in instances where I was wrong to use it.
      Thanks for the headsup.

  3. It is going to be tricky to predict because there are different types of PPC. There’s the classic undeveloped domain parked by the registrar (typically using Sedo’s domain parking program but others such as Godaddy have their own in-house PPC parking) and then there’s the domainer/PPC operator domain. Automatic renewals might lessen the hit but the ones to watch for significant deletions will be the PPC operators. With PPC, a domain typically has to cover the registration fee so this segment will see a hit – possibly on the type-in domains. But a lot of highly speculative junk domains will drop. Some domainer blogs have already lit up with .co domains being put up for sale.
    I agree with Juan about registration volume being a poor metric for assessing a TLD. Usage is a far more important factor because it is only through usage that the public becomes familiar with a new TLD. Development takes time. It is measured in years rather than months because it is expensive and time-consuming. There is development taking place in .co ccTLD but it is at gTLD rates because most people will still be concentrating on their .com or .cctld primary website. Targeting entrepreneurs is a very clever strategy because of the novelty factor of .co and its closeness, typographically, to .com. It is effectively a clean TLD without the baggage of gTLDs. However measuring usage in a TLD is a difficult task made more complex by the fact that websites are developed at different rates.
    The ccTLDs generally have a higher usage because they are selling to a local market. The gTLDs have a lower usage than .com TLD because of .com’s historical market position. Since the gTLDs (info,biz etc) arrived much later in internet time, there is a higher percentage of brand protection registrations. There is a very interesting brand protection element in .co where .co domains are actually redirected to exact match domains in other TLDs. These tend to be small businesses protecting their brand rather than the big players with trademarks. Mapping usage in a TLD is a difficult task and when it is properly executed is the precursor to building a search engine index. However a TLD in its first year of operation (pre-Landrush Anniversary) is quite different from a mature TLD. An undeveloped domain is more likely to be PPC parked because the large registrars do this automatically.
    I mapped the numbers of new .eu registrations against the difference between monthly .eu domain counts from 2007 to 2011 and it shows a repeating high drop figure on the Landrush anniversary since 2007. This is a classic example of an overspeculated TLD and many of the speculative domains are still washing out of the zone five years after the initial Landrush. The .asia was less speculated but the speculative dumps really only lasted over the first and second anniversaries. This repeating deletion spike may not happen to .co ccTLD but it depends on motivating registrants to develop sites. (EUrid’s efforts in this respect have been lamentable and .eu is considered a gateway TLD for reaching the EU market at best and a brand protection registration at worst.) The .co registry is putting a lot of effort into motivating registrants to develop their .co domains.
    From a marketing point of view, if the drops are confined to PPC parked domains, it would be best. However other categories of domains will drop too. Shifting the focus from registration volume to development is a smart move but it is a long term play. One interesting factor is whether the number of new registrations will be sustained throughout the Landrush anniversary period. Because of the .co registry’s very effective marketing there will be a number of small deletion spikes over the next year and these will coincide with the various promotions.

    • Daavo says:

      God you drivel on regardless of the forum or blog you are in don’t you?
      My eyes were closing as soon as I got a few lines into your short story.
      .CO is not another .MOBI or .ME.
      If you had any intelligence and chose to talk about the topic and not just fluff you would eventually come to that conclusion.
      Of course there are going to be drops at anniversary time.
      Of course 40 percent is parked, it’s the same for .COM and .NET.
      Give it 5 years… that’s all you needed to say. Enough with the drivel.

  4. Michael says:

    I don’t think that many of .co domains will drop, because everyone is screaming about picking up domains that will expire on July, so many will get scared to losing even more money so they will keep them for one more year.
    Of course not everyone will do this, but I am sure than many will.
    Btw: I think I have made impact in the statistics as I do have 7 .co domains and all are developed and won’t be dropped anytime soon šŸ™‚

  5. Joe says:

    When will .CO domains registered on July 20th, 2010 enter the Restorable Period if they are supposed to have expired on July 19 at 23:59? I ask this because a friend of mine renewed one of his .COs a few hours ago without having to pay any redemption fee.

  6. Samit Madan says:

    @Joe – LoriAnne replied to this question on my blog –
    You really can’t fault .CO’s marketing, it’s been picture perfect. And that’s one thing most domainers complain about with ‘unsuccessful’ extensions.
    Even then you can assume a 20-30% drop because a lot of what has been registered isn’t really worth developing, let alone selling or renewing.
    And the people who get these type of domains usually don’t have a long term plan, if they can’t flip it, they drop it.
    @John – Keep in mind ppc itself has changed, stuff like / whypark / epik etc allow you to continue to use ppc albeit in a different method. The question I have, and this would define drops, is whether CO Internet’s figures of “less than 1% of registrants have more than 10 domains” is correct.

    • Yep Samit,
      The Javascript and IFRAMEs inclusions and feeds really have altered how PPC works. The simpler methods of just associating PPC with various IPs or nameservers do not work well anymore and they give an artificially low view of the PPC percentage in a TLD. Differentiating PPCed content from genuine advertising supported content is complex but not impossible but it does require checking each site individually.
      I haven’t seen COINTERNET’s full registrant percentages breakdowns (the number of distinct registrants and domain names would be key figures) but the relatively high cost of registrations does have that effect on registration trends and it can limit speculation.
      The more experienced domainers will target the higher value keywords (they may hold them for at least two years) but the less experienced domainers may go for less valuable domains. Some of these less experienced domainers may just use the nameservers of large retail hosters like GoDaddy etc. These might be the ones to watch for the main drops but automatic renewals might lessen the number that could drop. The marketing on this ccTLD has been quite brilliant and the recent Google announcment could even encourage people who would have dropped their domains to renew.

    • Joe says:

      Hi Samit,
      thanks for taking the time to reply. Unfortunately it still is not clear because, according to Lori Anne Wardi (from your blog):
      “Please note that if you do not renew your .CO domain name(s) prior to the expiration date, the domain name will cycle through two key phases: Suspension Status for 1-30 days after the expiration date; and/or Redemption Grace Period (RGP) for 1-15 days after the deletion date. Within each of these phases, a domain name is placed on a ā€œPendingDelete-Restorableā€ status with the .CO Registry.”
      So a domain should be in ā€œPendingDelete-Restorableā€ from the day following the expiration date, while all the .CO domains expiring on July 19th 2011 that I’ve been checking still have either the status of “OK” or “clientDeleteProhibited”.

  7. Santiago says:

    Several people are wondering about the renewal process, so here is the info:
    It’s basically a 45 day suspension perido after which a 15 day restore grace period (RGP) comes and then a 5 day deletion process. All-in-all a 65 day process.

    • kandyjet says:

      Thanks for the link. really want to know that as 25th is the expiration date for some of my domain but i am afraid i could arrange revewal fees by that date šŸ˜€ . So still have enough time !!!

  8. theo says:

    John McCormac you have any insight on usage ?
    From my point of view there is a huge push develop but i doubt it is from locals. And that makes this ccTLD still an investors domain extension.
    ccTLD’s are a good investement.. But from my point of view this is a bubble..
    There are tons of underdeveloped unexplored ccTLD’s out there that will flourish in time with natural growth.. .CO is not one of them.

  9. @Theo The usage in .co in the survey is close to gTLD levels. (I haven’t published the full details of the surveys yet.) This should work out between 100K and 200K developed websites (as opposed to PPC parked, holding pages or For Sale sites) in .co based on the 1M domains. I am running the July websurvey at the moment.
    From looking at various sites, the quality and stage of development in .co varies considerably. There’s a push on development but there is an established set of subdomains ( etc) where a lot of local activity is taking place. (The survey focuses on detected .co domains.) The development percentages should be higher in this section as it is targeted at the local Colombian market.
    It is difficult to say if it is a bubble TLD at the moment since the Landrush drops figures haven’t been published. As with any new TLD launched in the last few years, there is a high level of speculative investment.

  10. Theo says:

    Thank you for the comment John.
    100-200k developed that’s some high numbers and perhaps i am very wrong in my assumption there is a bubble. I guess we’ll see what is going to happen soon. Tho with those developed numbers i doubt the drop percentage willbe high then.

  11. Tom G says:

    Where can I find good stats on what % of total domains are parked vs developed?

  12. Tom G says:

    across all generics

  13. Sulfen says:

    I wonder what the current stats are. Most of the good domains are taken so it looks like the .co TLD has gained a lot of traction.

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