.CO Internet S.A.S.

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.co Internet logo.png
ICANNWiki Member
Type: Private
Industry: Domain Administration
Founded: 2009
Ownership: Neustar (acquired in 2014)
Headquarters: World Trade Center
Calle 100 No. 8 A - 49
Torre B of. 507
Bogotá, Colombia
Website: .cointernet
Facebook: .co on Facebook
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@dotCO
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
Jasmine Begg, Director of Sales and Marketing, EMEA

.CO Internet S.A.S. is a Colombian company founded by Juan Diego Calle, began as a joint venture with the U.S. company Neustar Inc., for the purpose of developing and operating the .co top level domain registry. In 2014, .CO was acquired by Neustar for US$109 Million, and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Neustar.[1] It is responsible for the promotion, administration, and technical operation of the .co TLD.[2]

While .co is officially the ccTLD of Colombia, .CO Internet was created to facilitate .co becoming an open ccTLD, and since July 2010, has been available to the general public outside of Colombia.[3]

.CO Internet had decided to work with only a dozen registrars in its first year.[4] In its first 6 months (July-January 2010), some 600,000 .co domain names were registered;[5] GoDaddy has registered about 250,000 of those.[3] The company has also partnered with Deloitte in order to ensure that brand owner's rights were respected throughout the registration process.[5]

At the beginning of 2012, when .CO Internet was recognized as a World Finance 100 Business Leader of 2011, it was noted that the prior year had seen them register over 1 million addresses in 200+ countries.[6]

.co's History

In 1991 .co was recognized as Colombia's ccTLD by IANA. Around a decade later, the Universidad de los Andes, the official registrar of .co, began to research the benefits of broadening the availability of .co for commercial purposes. This began a long back-and-forth between the University, the Colombian Ministry of Telecommunication, and ICANN. Finally, in August 2009, the Ministry announced that it had been awarded oversight of .co as an expanded gTLD.[7]

Open ccTLD

The decision to make .co an open ccTLD took a decade, with .CO Internet becoming involved in 2006. .CO Internet has always stressed the expansion of the national .co brand as a strong entry point for Colombia into the international Internet, although it has quickly moved beyond national recognition. In a poll 80% of people considering registering domains thought that .co was short for "company", and only 3% thought that it was Colombia's ccTLD.[8] They have successfully marketed .co as a valuable national asset to the Colombian government as well as the ideal new international extension for the international Internet community.[9][8]

Both .CO Internet's founder and CEO, Juan Diego Calle, and Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, addressed the 39th ICANN meeting in Cartagena, Colombia. President Santos announced plans for a $2.8 billion dollar initiative to improve the nation's Internet infrastructure and quadruple the number of Internet connections. This new policy seems to be encouraged in large part thanks to the success of .co as an open ccTLD.[8]

Hype

.co's Popularity in Context

.co was expected by many to be one of the most successful new gTLDs. Its similarity to .com is referenced as one reason, while its association with the words "company", "corporation", and "commerce" in many languages is another. .co's CEO, Juan Diego Calle, notes that unlike other gTLDs, .co is not marketed directly at a niche market. So, unlike .mobi, .biz, and .info, it is both globally recognizable and versatile.[10]

Furthermore, "co" is already being used to designate "company" within third-level TLD extensions for ccTLDs; that is, .co.uk is already a recognizable brand for companies within the United Kingdom. Thus, much of the branding effort was done before .CO Internet took the extension to the open market.[10]

Publicity

The excitement surrounding the general availability of .co has been demonstrated in a number of ways. GoDaddy was reported to be preparing to specifically push its .co domains through its advertisements, with particular hype surrounding its role in GoDaddy's notorious Super Bowl ads.[3] Indeed, GoDaddy's 2011 Super Bowl ad was billed to be the unveiling of the new ".co girl";[5] the ad later surprised audiences by featuring the not-so-girly Joan Rivers as the .co spokeswoman.[11] She later acknowledged that the ads featured her face superimposed onto a model's body.[12] .CO Internet later noted that the airing of the ads triggered a record-breaking surge in Internet traffic and boost in .CO domain name registrations within minutes of airing.[13] The 2012 ads helped GoDaddy post its best Super Bowl Sunday sales numbers, and a notable increase, even ten-fold, of .co registrations.[14]

.co ran a "Create Your Opportunity" campaign with a $50,000 USD prize to the individual or company with the best business plan utilizing a .co extension.[15] The winner was RentCycle.[16]

For a second year in a row, it was announced that GoDaddy would highlight .co extensions with its traditionally risqué Super Bowl ads, the two ads were pre-approved by NBC to be broadcast during the 2012 event.[12] The ads will once again feature GoDaddy Girls, Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels.[13] Before the airing of the 2012 ads, a CBS special on the best Super Bowl ads highlighted the previous GoDaddy & .co commercials.[17]

.CO Internet attended the 2012 SXSW festival, specifically its interactive wing, to court entrepreneurs and sell its extension as the the home for new innovation. It also presented its new site and hashtag, the social media aggregator, StartUpLife.co. The site aggregates posts on different media using the #startuplife hashtag, and thus creates an online community for tech start-ups and related companies.[18] Weeks later it was announced that .CO Internet would be offering free domain registration for a year to all the startups involved in Startup Weekend.[19]

Famous Registrants

It was widely reported when a one-letter .co domain name, www.e.co, was sold for $81,000 by Sedo. The domain auction benefited charity and was won by Lonnie Borck of B52 Media, and Uri Kerbel from Bookmarks.com.[20]The sale was held as a charity benefit.[21]

Twitter also made news for using a one-word domain, t.co, to provide additional services to its customers.[22]

Overstock.com has begun to use "O.co" for all of its international branding purposes, and featuring the new URL in TV advertisements.[5] It was reported that Overstock.com spent some $350,000 on "O.co" and other related URLs.[23] It was announced months later, in November 2011, that Overstock was having problems with consumers understanding the switch. Apparently, many consumers were trying to visit "o.com" even after seeing the ".co" branded commercials. The Overstock executives blamed themselves, and promised not to abandon the new name; however, it was decided to slow down the U.S. transition to the .co name and instead focus first on Europe and also using the .co name in its apps.[24] Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock Inc., went on to say that re-branding his company's website from Overstock.com to O.co was his own bad decision. The company's 2011 revenue declined by 3% over the previous year. He explained that 8 out of 13 internet users who wanted to visit the company website typed O.com instead of typing O.co. The company is no longer advertising O.co as the new web address for the company but as a short cut for Overstock.com, which remains the primary website of the company.[25]


There has been a significant amount of interest surrounding the sale of the "i.co" domain.[26]

Google has been using its .co, g.co, as an internal link shortener. It apparently paid 7 figures for the domain, which it acquired in July 2011. The first reported uses of the g.co shortener was for internal links within its Google Maps features; they hope the new space will assure customers of the safety and security of their links.[27] In November, 2012, G.co used in a public campaign that allowed people to submit their own photos to an open gallery that would also be shown on a jumbotron in New York's Times Square.[28]

Launch

Soon after its launch is was reported that about 98% of .co registrants only bought 1-2 domains; 1% bought less than 10, while another 1% registered over 11. This was encouraging to the .co team as they had strove to excite real end-users about the potential of .co rather than play into the hands of the domain speculators.[5]

Timeline

  • In 1 minute some 8,000 .co domains were registered.
  • In 22 minutes some 100,000 .co domains were registered.
  • In 1 day some 233,000 .co domains were registered.
  • In 2 days some 280,000 .co domains were registered.
  • In 1 week some 336,160 .co domains were registered.
  • In 1 month some 444,977 .co domains were registered.[9]
  • In 3 years over 1.5 million .co domain names were registered.

Pricing

.CO Internet has received some criticism for its higher pricing strategy. Their CEO has noted that they are trying to attracted dedicated entrepreneurs and businesses that will actually develop the site as opposed to buy many cheaply priced domains and not develop them. They have stressed that they are trying to keep the quality of the .co brand high as opposed to registering extraordinary numbers of domains.[29]

Auctions

.co held a number of different specialized auctions to sell its premium domains, its auction services provider was Pool.com.[30] One commentator, Kevin Murphy of Domain Incite, initially guessed that .co auctions could top $10 million dollars. The actual figure is hard to verify given that they decided not to release the sale figures for porn related domains, those likely to be involved in UDRP cases, and other controversial domains.[30] Its auctions were confirmed to bring over 1 million, with notable sales including:

  • Aspen.co - $22,500
  • myhealth.co – $18,500
  • allergy.co – $16,286
  • jackpot.co – $12,500
  • locksmith.co – $10,000
  • zoom.co – $10,000
  • breckenridge.co – $8,499
  • mall.co – $8,350[31]

Awards and Recognition

In April 2011, it was announced that .CO Internet's CEO, Juan Diego Calle, was named top technology executive of the year by the Miami Department of Commerce's "Technology Leaders of the Year Awards."[32]

In January 2012, .CO Internet was recognized as one of the World Finance Top 100 Business Leaders of 2011. They joined such other major companies as 3M, Google, Facebook, and others. The award recognizes "the very finest businesses and business leaders over the past year," and is given to those innovative companies that are able to diversify their standing and outcompete and innovate past the competition.[33]

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.[34]

References

  1. Neustar Pays 109 Million for .CO Internet, DomainIncite Retrieved 24 March 2014
  2. CoInternet FAQ, CoInternet.co.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Godaddy Domain, USAToday.com. Published 2011 Janaury 16.
  4. .CO Internet Registrars, COInternet.co.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 SullysBlog.com
  6. WorldFinance100.com.
  7. Reports, IANA.org. Published 2009.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 DNJournal.com. Published 2010.
  9. 9.0 9.1 How to Become an Internet, HuffingtonPost.com.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About .CO, TheDomains.com. Published 2010 May 16.
  11. Sportsline, CBSNews.com. Published 2011 February 26.
  12. 12.0 12.1 GoDaddy to Advertise .Co At the Super Bowl, DomainIncite.com.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Super Bowl Sunday Here We Come, CoInternet.co.
  14. GoDaddy Super Bowl Ads, DomainNameWire.com. Published 2012 February 6.
  15. Online Contest, PRWeb.com.
  16. Pitch.co.
  17. GoDaddy Co Stars In The CBS TV Show Super Bowls Greatest Commericals, TheDomains.com. Published 2012 February 2.
  18. StartUpLife.co.
  19. Startup Weekends Latest Perk Free Domain Names, GeekWire.com. Published 2012.
  20. Media Booksmarks Buy Single Letter Domain Name e.co for $81,000, TechCrunch.com. Published 2010 June 10.
  21. E.co Domain Sells For 80K, Ecorazzi.com. Published 2010 June 11.
  22. t.co
  23. .co Domain, LATimes.com. Published 2010 July.
  24. Overstock.com slows down O.co Rebranding, DomainIncite.com
  25. O.co loses 61% of its traffic to O.com, DomainIncite.com.
  26. .co Registry Announces Upcoming Private Auction Coveted i.co, Freshnews.com.
  27. Google Now Using G.co on Maps, ElliottsBlog.com.
  28. gCo Hits Times Square by Letting You Put Your Picture Message in Times Square, TheDomains.comRetrieved 25 Nov 2012
  29. mo.com
  30. 30.0 30.1 Open co Landrush re-auctions, DomainIncite.com.
  31. Co Landrush auctions top 1 million, DomainIncite.com
  32. Juan Diego Calle Named Technology Executive of the Year, COInternet.co.
  33. Co Internet Recognized as World Finance 100 Business Leader, CircleID.com. Published 2012 January 5.
  34. Co Registry Announces Global Scandinavian Internationalized Domain Names, CoInternet.coPublished & Retrieved 15 Jan 2013