.co

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Dotco.JPG
Status: Active
country: International, Colombia
Manager: Colombian Government
Registry Provider: .CO Internet S.A.S
Date Implemented: 1991
Type: ccTLD/gTLD
Key People
Juan Diego Calle, CEO

Eduardo Santoyo, Corporate Vice President
Nicolai Bezsonoff, COO
Lori Anne Wardi, Vice President
Crystal Peterson, Director of Channel Marketing

.co is the country code top-level domain name (ccTLD) for Colombia as per ISO-3166-1 code. A government supported entity was created between Arcelandia S.A. and Neustar, .CO Internet SAS, which manages .co as an open ccTLD. [1] Domain name registration is open to all entities worldwide and it is marketed as a great alternative to the .com domain space.

An October, 2012, interview with COO Nicolai Bezsonoff put the current registration of .co at 1.35 million. Sedo has reported that .co has the highest average secondary-market price, with the first being .com. Renewal rates for domains registered during the launch period, and before general availability, are very high, well above 90%. The average rate of renewal for first and second year renewals of domains acquired during general availability is 62%.[2]

Taco Bell, a sizeable fast-food restaurant, chose .co upon revamping its website. The company is using ta.co, and while this url currently redirects to tacobell.com, the shorter name is seen as a nod toward mobile users who wish to order customized meals online with as little inconvenience as possible. [3]

History

The .co ccTLD was originally delegated by IANA to the Universidad de los Andes on December 24, 1991. The University initiated the idea of opening the ccTLD to the global internet community for commercial purposes in 2001, however the plan was blocked by the Colombian Ministry of Communications with legal action. The objection was disputed by the University, which informed ICANN that it intends to continue to commercialize the domain name by appointing a subcontractor that will serve as the registry operator for the domain name.[4] Mrs. Angela Montoya HolguÌn of the Ministry of Communications brought the issue to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), asking if the .co ccTLD has a public nature and if the Colombian government has the authority to regulate it. On December 21, 2001, Radication Number 1376 was issued stating that .co is assigned as a Colombian public interest, its administrations is a point intrinsically related to telecommunications and the Colombian government, through the Ministry of Communications, is competent to regulate its functions without prejudice.[5]

On February 12, 2002, the university informed ICANN that its plan to commercialize .co will no longer proceed, as it was experiencing great difficulty managing the operations of the ccTLD after the Council's decisions in 2001; The university was planning to terminate its administrative and operational responsibilities. The University also offered its' full cooperation with ICANN in the smooth and successful transition of the ccTLD to a new administrator. On May 7, 2010, a resolution was issued by the Colombian Government, which states that ".co is a public asset in the telecommunications sector, the administration, maintenance and development of which shall be planned, regulated and controlled by the State, through the Ministry of Communications." Three days later, a meeting between representatives from the University, the Ministry of Communications, and ICANN was conducted regarding the future administration of .co, which resulted in an agreement that the University will continue to handle operations of the domain space. However, on August 12, 2003, the Colombian Minister of Communications informed ICANN that it will take over the administration of the .co due to a directive issued by Council State of Colombia.

On July 29, 2006, Law 1065 of 2006 was enacted by the Colombian Government stating that the Ministry of Communications is responsible for administering registration services of the .co ccTLD and it may award a 10-year contract to private parties to handle it in accordance with the law. The agreement was to be renewable for one term only. On June 2007, ICANN Root Zone Management Staff explained the requirements for the re-delegation process for the .co domain name to the Ministry of Communications and encouraged the Ministry to carry out an open and transparent bottom-up consensus driven approach in selecting the next trustee for the .co ccTLD.[6]

On August 19, 2009, .CO Internet S.A.S. was selected by the Ministry to serve as the next administrator of the domain.[7] IANA received a re-delegation request from the Ministry on September 17, 2009. The ICANN Board approved the re-delegation of the domain to .CO Internet S.AS. on December 9, 2009.[8] 40,000 pre-registrations were received through the company's sunrise and launch phases.. The global launched was conducted on July 10. During the global launching of the domain, Juan Diego Calle, CEO of .CO Internet SAS said, the ".co domain will create new opportunities in global commerce, content development, social media and other forms of interactivity, which will enrich the overall internet experience for everyone.”[9]

Policies

.CO Internet S.A.S. implements the following policies for .co domain:[10]

  • Any person, business or organization may register domain names for a period of 1 to 5 years directly through the company or to any accredited registrar or reseller.
  • Registrants are allowed to transfer their .co domain names to another registrar after 60 days.
  • Registrants may renew their domain names before the expiration date of the registration. All expired domain names will be be removed from the registry database and will be made available for others to register.
  • A Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is implemented to protect owners against trademark and cybersquatting abuses. Domain name complaints willbe handled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and National Arbitration Forum.

Companies Using Single-Letter .Co Domains

Some of the companies and organizations using a single-letter .co domains include:

  • Overstock.com- The company purchased the single-letter domain O.co for $350,000.[11] It fully implemented the change from Overstock.com to O.co, including on the O.co stadium in Oakland. After a marketing campaign promoting the switch failed to educate consumers that the "m" in .com was no longer necessary the company returned to using Overstock.com in American markets. The rebranding began in June, 2011, and was reversed in November of that year.[12]
  • Google- g.co was purchased by the company for $1.5 million to be used as official URL shortener.[13]
  • Twitter- T.co is used by the company as its official URL shortener to prevent malware and phishing attacks.[14]
  • Amazon.com- The company purchased A.Co, Z.Co, K.Co as well as Cloud.co.[15]
  • Startup America- an organization dedicated to helping new companies to grow and create jobs in the Unied States registered S.co.[16]

.Co TLD Market Share

A 2011 survey conducted by a doctorate student named Thomas Park regarding TLDs used by 1000 start-up companies that were established from 2005 o 2011 show that 1% of start-ups are using the .co TLD. The survey showed that in 2010, .co had only 0.10% market share. It's market share increased by 0.90% in 2011 as a result of the strong marketing campaign targeting start-ups. However, it seems that .me, the open ccTLD of Montenegro, has a stronger position among start-ups with its 1.7% market share in 2011.[17][18]

Further Development

In January 2013, .CO Internet announced that it was immediately implementing IDN capabilities enabling second-level .co domains in 5 Scandinavian languages, including Icelandic, Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian languages.[19]

References