Oct
21
2010

Beginners take heed; why .co may not be for you

He who has ears, let him hear or in this case, he who has eyes, let him read.  Sorry if this post comes rather late but it is better late than never. I have been asked by a lot of people about my opinion on the .co domain extension. Most of the questions where simply conversations in passing while a few of them were actually beginners and fellow domainers who wanted to sample my opinion on the now popular .co extension 
Before you read further, please be advised that anything you read here is simply one man’s opinion. I will however try as much as possible to back my  reasoning with facts and lessons learnt from history.

First lets, make something clear .co is not the next best thing after .com, It is not the .com url shortener, in-fact it is the cc tld (Country code top level domain) of  Colombia, population approximately 44 million.  Just like “dotTV does not stand for television, dotME is not about you and dotCM is not typosquatter heaven. They are the ccTLDs for Tuvalu, Montenegro and Cameroon – and if you think that will never matter down the road think again” (David Castello, Castello Cities Internet Network,  ElliotsBlog.com,  October 8, 2009, Success Advice from the Most Successful Domain Owners of All Time).

Fact is a very few select people will make money but most will be left holding semi-worthless domains. Yes it is possible to make some money off these extensions and many have already done so by off loading there domains on the next dummy around the corner but does that mean you too could make a killing out of .co? probably not. Ron Jackson mildly put it in ElliotsBlog (October 12, 2009) by stating “first world ccTLDs like .de and .co.uk are proven winners but there is almost no chance of finding buyers for third world ccTLDs like .ws and .cc.”

History has shown that with the lunch of every new extension comes marketing hype which lasts only for a short while since these new extension have generally proven to not hold value or at the least rarely appreciates in value, just like a knock off Rolex seldom appreciates in value.

During the .cc craze, everyone and there second cousin fell for the hype especially after the heavily publicized sale of beauty.cc for $1M (Some domainers say this sale was engineered, some say it was dealt, others say it appears to have sold) Even yours truly acquired one or tow .cc domains then. One of them was  Jot.cc (wanted to develop this into a  web journal) After holding this domain for a couple of years, I quietly let it expire as the popularity of .cc wained. By the time I let it expire, I could not even get reg fee from the popular domain forums.

Some domainers fell for the .ws hype. I did not, the wounds of .cc was still very fresh. Even as recent as .Mobi one of the most hyped extensions of our time. I thought like many .mobi might have a chance and registered 2 or 3 mobis but the fact remains that the money to be made from .mobi has already been made.  dotName, dotTel all have similar stories, so much hype very little substance in the end.

You noticed I did not limit my analogy to just cctld’s  so if you have not gotten what I am eluding to, here it is in plain words, stick with quality, stick with the extension that have remained true over the years, as  a beginner stick with .com. You get more bang for your buck with .com. It is also easier to sell a junkyard in lower manhattan than it is to sell 20 acres of land somewhere in kalahari desert. As a beginner, you are most likely going to have limited capital, most beginners do, you want to invest your cash wisely.  In a nutshell, my .co advice is “don’t do it”

If you a beginner think that you will prosper from investing in .co domains, you have a right to be wrong.

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Written by Frankie Aladi in: Domain Talk |

31 Comments »

  • ettelouR.com says:

    The advice is a double edged sword; it is unscientific, however. The only chance a beginner with few cash has is to in fact invest in .CO, of course taking some risk while doing so, so if .CO enjoys any modicum of success, the newbie will become a hero. The newbie has no chance of purchasing an aged .COM; the newbie with no money has no chance in hell with .COM. The newbie will be ripped off by domain parkers; the newbie will be shunned by old domain pros, except an occasional advice on .CO.

    1. .CO doesn’t have to knock of .COM to be successful
    2. .CO is acronym for COMPANY, universally.
    3. Many countries have .CO in their ccTLD (.co.uk. .co.com, .co.de etc)
    4. .me, .cc, cm, are not .CO; .CO registered over half a million dollars in a couple of months, during a recession, at 300 – 400% of .COM’s price, thats a factor of over 1000 if the tangents are calculated.
    5. >CO may not be shortner for .COM, it is definitely a shortner for .CO.UK, .CO.DE, .CO.COM, etc. The Europeans will rush the .CO, trust me, they just want sneak in on it. By this time next year, I predict the rush will be on. They will convert wholesale. Just my opinion. DOT will be CO-captain with .Com in five years. So, go on newbie, jump in. No guys, no glory. If you never gamble, don’t get into this business.

  • zn says:

    i am a new domainer and i did not had any chance of bying a decent .com for a low badget. so .co came as a magic. glad to tell i invested 500$ and yesterday i flipped a .co for 1988$ possibile and end user who contacted me!!!

    I am sure when people in uk when introduced the .co.uk, nobody would have question ‘what Britons have to do with columbia…”

  • Rob says:

    With respect, i couldn’t disagree more, i started of with cctlds, including .in and .tv and have done rather nicely over the years, never had more than a couple of dot coms, you can get great keyword cctld in growing extensions like .in and .tv and make a VERY tidy profit.
    The uk use .co.uk and Germany .de, neither care much for dot com,.TV is everywhere in Europe and experiencing some very nice sales of late,the .in market is growing, the facts are that dot com whilst still the daddy in USA is over populated and saturated and some countries prefer their own cctld over it.

    Just another dot com article, trying to protect their dot com portfolio imo.

  • em says:

    This argument is so unconvincing. Reeks of protectionism. The .com game has been played to death. The two above commenters couldn’t have said it better. .co is perfect fo newbies. Beware newbies…its the hardcore .comers that want you to feed from the scraps of their tables. Looking for new opportunities is the way to go instead of letting some .comer lead you around with a piece of meat in their hands. The world is a big place with many opportunities. Don’t let .com cronies stop you from doing something new and innovative.

  • tim says:

    although the argument will only be proven with time, it’s interesting to note the incredible list of .co and .com names that were dumped on auctions.epik.com Looks like someone is selling out with no reserve!

  • Alan says:

    Very presumptuos article……I just can’t understand
    why some people insist on giving us “their opinion” on
    something that only the world wide market will decide.
    Have you ever gone to Sedo and seen some of the sales
    for .co.uk extensions?????? I am sure at the time the .co.uk extensions were offered, there were a lot of
    people who said it will never take off, stick to .com which is something many of us would prefer to do, but there is very little chance of getting anything decent.
    Any new extension is a gamble, but I would encourage
    people on the .co extension simply because of the over
    whelming responce to .co.uk in the market place.Indeed, at Latonas recent MiamiBeach auction, Coches.co fetched $15,000……..not a bad profit for a $30 reg fee.
    Like anything else, .co is a gamble, if you are right
    I lose $30 bucks or so……………but what if you are
    wrong???? Oh, and by the way……..ahh………..er………”this is just my opinion”

  • Will says:

    And the earth is flat… and man will never travel to the moon… Sorry, Mr. Aladi, I’ll continue to invest in .co names. I believe .co is intuitively appealing, is recognizable internationally, and is a great opportunity for new domainers to succeed financially.

  • Rob says:

    I should add that while i have no .co names and do not invest in the extension, i applaud those that continually diversify and move with the times,seeking out new opportunites, as i said i have made good money in .tv, and wish those speculating in other cctlds the very best of luck.
    @em whilst we differ in our extensions, i agree about the old guard dot com lot trying to protect their investment.

  • Sex.com just sold for $13 million. My brother and I have a seven figure deal in the works. There is nothing to “protect” about dotCOM. Yes, I hope ALL investors in ALL extensions make money, but the truth of the matter is that, even though it is possible to make money in any extension, dotCom is the Gold Standrad for domains and will be for quite some time (and will be more so after the new gTLDs are released).

  • Robin Ong says:

    When a new wave comes along, there are chances that various hindrance may come and try their best to ripple off the wave. Hindrance like David Castello and the old guards. Remember the classic case study of IBM placing their bet on mainframe instead of PCs. At least IBM woke up after letting the new rave rolled it over.

  • @Robin
    You sound a lot like one of the old dotMobi proponents. If anyone said anything negative about dotMobi they swopped down like a squadron of Stukas on Warsaw in September. And where are they now? Exactly.

  • L. Butler says:

    Have to say the arguments are solid. There seems to be a good market for .cc’s and, of course, a huge flipping market with .co’s of late. Good for all domainers, regardless of niche, I might add.

  • Chris says:

    OK first things first:

    @ettelouR.com

    “CO may not be shortner for .COM, it is definitely a shortening for .CO.UK”

    No it is NOT, well at least for the UK anyhow. NO-ONE in the UK uses a .co domain over a .co.uk !!!

    In 2003 the .co.uk domain market was a little like some of these new markets today, plenty of untapped domains, some of which I registered. However had I known the uptake I would have registered many, many more.

    So, personally I will register .tv, .cc, .co but only on very good names on the assumption that I will have to wait over 5 years for existing domains to start to become in short supply, pushing up demand.

  • em says:

    david,

    I think you have a very ethnocentric view of the internet real estate world. In years to come IDN.IDN will play a much larger role in the internet world. .com is really not as popular around the globe as you might think. .com is the American extension and it will have less and less significance with more and more IDns coming out. And who are the biggest proponents of the American Extension? of course, Americans. I don’t hear the Japanese or Russians ballyhooing over .com the way North Americans do.This will inevitably lead to a substantial decrease of .com value , given supply and demand. Eventually .com will become a collector’s edition.

  • Robin Ong says:

    @David, when I read my comments yesterday, I do sound a bit emotional. Maybe you are right by comparing .co to .mobi, but time will tell. I hope I will have the last laugh though.

  • Laurie says:

    Interesting thread.

    Given the technology advancements [minimizing web development], todays economy [necessitating home employment] and the up and coming demand RE; keystroke efficiency by todays youth, the .co is 33% more efficient than a dot com.

    The younger generation sees no boundaries [having been raised on computers] and; as such, seem to seek the fastest, quickest, most efficient way to their intended destination.

    While the whales chase the presumed Holy Grail of the .com, the younger generation is developing catchy and/or domain hacks alternatively. The pendulum has swung, IMO.

  • Laurie says:

    @ em

    SPOT ON!

  • @em
    You lost me when you said dotCom will become a Collector’s Edition. You can’t possibly be serious. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of media history can easily see what’s really going on here. To simply refer to dotCom as another TLD is wrong. In fact, it is the brand for a media pop revolution and has already long insured its place in marketing for years to come. Regardless, you all know my name (most on here remain anonymous) and I have no idea knowing what kind of money the posters on here are generating to back up their logic. To claim dotCom would lose its value because dotCo is 33% “more efficient” than dotCom leaves me at a loss for words.

  • Laurie says:

    @David-
    You misread. Dot com lucrative beyond measure. A point not in dispute. To what extent – and for how long- the issue as far as I read.

    Development and sales of .cn’s, .cc’s, .co.uk’s and .co’s (and others) are rising.
    The bottom line , IMO, domain extensions have multiplied based on overwhelming need and their ultimate potential, do you not agree?

  • @Laurie:
    “…extensions have multiplied based on overwhelming need…”
    Uh, NO.
    The only overwhelming need has been to make money. Seriously, Laurie – there was a need for dotTravel? Were they lining up for dotPro? Contrary to the screams of speculators, there are enough dotCom, dotOrg, dot Net and numerous ccTLDs out there for years to come. The figure domainers need to watch is not the number of domains bought, but how many are actually developed. And things will get really interesting when the new gTLDs come out because there will be too many names for speculators to artificially inflate demand. And then guess which TLDs will soar in value? That’s right – dotCom, dotOrg, dot Net and ccTLDs.

  • Laurie says:

    well said. Couldnt agree with you more RE: .travel, .pro etc. but clarify for me your point regarding “Uh, no … The only overwhelming need has been to make money’ comment.

    You meant through registrars rather than development?

  • @Laurie
    Yes, the “overwhelming demand” has been nearly 100% from registrars and speculators. The general public really couldn’t care less – and in the end they matter most. The more my brother and I speak the more obvious it becomes that domainers live in their own bubble. A very dangerous climate for any investor. As I said, always keep your eye on the number of names developed AND used as the primary brand for a business or individual. Those numbers never lie.

  • ettelouR.com says:

    @Mr David Castello
    “As I said, always keep your eye on the number of names developed AND used as the primary brand for a business or individual. Those numbers never lie”.

    Except, past is prologue. People such as Domain King (Mr. Rick Schwarz) were able to buy, hold, NOT develop, and made a killing. Now, I’m not saying that you are wrong, I’m saying that there are many ways to kill a mouse; you can trap it, poison it, etc. It is hard to generalize. A lot of domainers, rightfully have respect for you and your brother, and other successful domainers, so I’m holding you to a higher standard here. Unless it’s scientific, statements should be better qualified.

  • Laurie says:

    @ ettelouR.com and David —
    A plethora of good advice. Thank you both. Please excuse my ignorance but…. where exactly does one “get” those numbers? [of domains developed]

  • @Laurie
    You may have to Google for the info. The legacy TLDs (DotCom, DotOrg and DotNet) have the largest number of developed sites. Was it because they were/are better? Of course not. It was because they were first and one should never, ever, ever underestimate the importance of that fact when dealing with the general public.
    @ettelouR.com
    Careful with the “past is prologue” rationale when an industry is as young as ours. However, you are correct in that there are other ways to make money in this business. You can park, develop or flip/sell. My brother and I have never said which was best for others. We simply prefer development for ourselves and have the hard stats to back it up.

  • ettelouR.com says:

    BTW as we debate this .CO valuation, the market is already doing it’s magic! Put the proverbial newbie in the investors seat here. Over at Latona T.R.A.F.F.I.C extended auction, two .CO have just received Bids:

    Lot : #1610Total Bids : 1 Pisos.co
    Spanish for “apartments” or “flats”. Global Monthly Searches: 3,350,000; Local Monthly Searches: 74,000; Estimated Avg. CPC: $0.71; Competition: 0.06
    Category: Non-English
    Current Bid: $15,000

    Lot : #1610Total Bids : 1 Pisos.co
    Spanish for “apartments” or “flats”. Global Monthly Searches: 3,350,000; Local Monthly Searches: 74,000; Estimated Avg. CPC: $0.71; Competition: 0.06
    Category: Non-English
    Current Bid: $15,000

  • @David Castello,
    Thanks a lot for chipping in here. It pays to have someone with real world success chime in. Congratulations on the pending deal.

  • Aristianto says:

    The biggest problem I see with .co is:
    If you develop domain.CO as a brand, basically you are doing a free promotion for domain.COM. This is because people are much more familiar with .com, so when they hear “hey visit this website.co” they will automatically go to “website.com”. Perhaps this will change in the future, but I doubt it considering the billions of advertising dollars that have gone into promoting .COM

  • kandyjet says:

    @Aristianto

    yes, your comment is good for until 3 months a ago :)

    why i am telling that is, think the babies who born in the core era (nower days). in few years lator, if you say them to goto twitter, they will ask “twitter.com or twitter.co?” coz in few years both extensions are popular on the market. each extenstion promotion others wise versa.

    just IMHO :)

  • Jeffcool says:

    IMO the equation is quite simple :

    .com = display major or worldwide identity
    .cctld = display national identity

    Sometimes it’s not completely stupid to use things for what they are aimed for !

    Alternative uses (as for .tv) can be randomly but not soundly lucrative and will always remain periphal phenomenons (call it niches if you prefer). Even .net and .org are not so convincing in terms of branding (which .net or .org successful business doesn’t try to get his .com at some point ?).

    I have a few decent .mobi .do .co .mx .ws or even .bz (don’t laugh) because I am a dreamer. Never sold one unfortunately.

  • ettelouR.com says:

    KandyJet & Jeffcool:

    Those are fair points. .CO is different.
    Remember, it depends on what you mean by a successful endeavor with domain names. I believe that .DE and .Co.UK, while they are not .COM, (no other TLD even, is), you can see those ccTLDs sell for handsome profits everyday on Sedo.
    If one invests $30 on a good .CO today and hold on to it for a couple of years, I trust they will not lose any money.
    All it will take for .CO to go viral and wild is one major, cool company using that platform to launch a great service that everybody needs, be it Social media or whatever. You must agree that .CO goes with Company like horse and carriage, or love and marriage.

    You should not use the fact that Domainers haven’t started buying .CO from each other at thousands of dollars to measure this thing; most domainers don’t have a boot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of right now. Most end-users do NOT know what’s going on for now. .CO is a tinder box! One thing I’m guessing: domainers who didn’t buy back in July are regretting it, I know I would. I wish I grabbed 5000 of them. I would have held them for 5 years before selling even one. It will be a hit, in my opinion. Remember, I have thousands of .COMs; I’m a .COM guy that doesn’t mind other TLD’s or ccTLDs living a little.

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