You Can Spin TLD Data In Any Direction You Want: Here’s An Example

Jan 26 2014

Yesterday Raymond Hackney (one of the best and most prolific writers in our industry) wrote an article yesterday about dot co that was a synopsis of another article written about dot co.  To me it merely showed the marketing prowess behind dot co and the way that data can be gathered and assembled to make things seem grand.

Here is the snippet from the article

In less than four years, more than 1.6 million individuals and businesses, mostly start-ups, have created a website with an address ending with .co. That is a staggering number for a new top-level domain (the last bit of a web address). Contrast that with .biz, which was introduced in 2000 and by April last year had chalked up just 2.4 million registrations.

People went to .co because, on .com, with over 111 million registrations, the short, simple names are mostly taken. They went also because .co is one letter shorter than .com, which matters in the age of Twitter. But most of all, they went because some very canny marketing convinced them that it’s where sexy, innovative start-ups go.

Of course, .co is not a new top-level domain like the 1,000 or more being introduced this year; it’s the one that was assigned in 1991 to Colombia. Juan Diego Calle, a Colombian-American entrepreneur, won the contract to run it in 2009, after years of effort and a 1,165-page bid. In exchange for exclusive rights to market .co, Calle pays a fee to the Colombian government that goes towards improving the country’s internet infrastructure.

I could easily turn this around using the same information and a little ad lib and turn it completely negative.  It’s really all in whom you want to support.

Dot Co, despite being assigned back in 1991 still has only 1.6 million registrations. Compared to dot biz which has only been around since 2000 and has 2.4 million registrations.  The numbers of dot co also have had the advantage of a 30 million dollar plus worldwide marketing plan and the backing of the world’s largest registrar, Godaddy, and yet still has not eclipsed dot biz.   Dot biz has achieved their numbers despite not having a  marketing budget in at any time in the recent past. While no data exists, some believe without the support of Godaddy, dot co perhaps would have seen less than 50% of these numbers.  With the new introduction of 1000 new tlds, there is fear that Godaddy will turn their attention from dot co to the more lucrative and fresh gTLDs.  First evidence of this is the lack of a dot co Superbowl commercial for the first time in years.   Growth seems to have settled down as well according to a recent CENTR report, with do Co not listed in the top 5 of growth rates of ccTLDS.  China continues to dominate the numbers

I’m not a dot biz buyer either but from my little made up article is sure seems to be doing well. It appears that I have become an opponent of dot co but it’s not the truth.  What I have become is a realist in a bunch of PR stories that have been written over and over and will start to appear more often with the new introductions.  Dot co MAY have become a tld for new startups, but it absolutely has been a terrible investment for 99% of domain investors.  I know this because I see the sales results every ….single…day.  And on those days there is hardly ever a dot co.  There is very little resale market for the tld.  How often do you see dot co domains come up for sale and sell successfully on Namejet, Godaddy, or Flippa?  I have talked to many domain investors at the conferences over the last two years and I have yet to talk to anyone that has made any consistent money in the tld, except the people that have blogs and take the advertisement money ( I took their money early).  Ask Jake Ackerman how his big dot co investment went?

Success is absolutely not defined by the domain investment industry.  I understand that. But the marketing department of dot co is still pushing towards our industry.  I agree that the NEW registrations are their target market.  I do agree that new tlds will become commonplace and people will remember and feel comfortable typing in other endings.  . And that’s fine but let’s not pretend it’s doing better than any other tlds.    Look at it compared to other ccTLDS.  It’s way down on the list.  And Dot co is trying to market themselves as a top level TLD not a country code.

And all this negativity I seem to be spilling out is based on data.  I haven’t even gotten into my personal feelings as a business person.  As a startup and or business owner I want to define and brand my company on the web.  Of all the tlds and endings in the space, and especially with the new names coming out, why would I want to take any chance that a user or customer would accidentally type in dot com? I would much rather have a uniquely defining name like .club or .bike.   Ray from Hybrid Domainer says in the comments that he owns a dot com of a popular dot co and he NEVER gets type ins.   I find it hard to believe that NOBODY ever types it in wrong.  With this generation typing in dot com for so long it’s memory muscles at this point.  Again, this will change as the new generation comes on.  There will be less dot com ingrained but that will take a while.

In short, this isn’t about dot co.  These types of marketing pushes are about to explode with the introduction of new gTLDS.  It will bring in new investors, and entice old ones.  My opinion is to pay attention to the aftermarket not the articles.  Let someone else set the initial market.  If something develops like the recent market for dot infos, jump in.  If I’m walking down a dark tunnel that might lead to riches, I’m going to let someone go in front in case there is a cliff.  If I’m going to lead, I’m walking very slowly and taking a bright light.  Either way if there is treasure at the end,  I’ll at least get my piece and I won’t get killed on the way.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Robbie

    You are correct, it is a bad investment, the premium names that are not being held back by the registry, are mainly domainer held, and they have not received enough interest to even command 10 cents on the .com dollar sales.

    Nice article, and point proven.

  2. Aron -

    .co has 1.6MM registrations WITH Super Bowl ads and major marketing by GoDaddy, as you said.

    How in the world will the new gTLDs get anywhere near this amount of registrations, one might wonder.
    None of the new gTLDs will have the eyes of the world on them during a Super Bowl, and they will have the competition of 1000 other extensions.

    .co completely made sense as an alternative to .com, for those who were frustrated by the lack of availability in the .com space.
    Not many of the gTLDs make as much sense as .co did, they have MUCH more competition than .co had, and they won’t have huge “Super Bowl type” marketing campaigns.

    YET, they believe they can do better than .co? We’ll see.

    It will be interesting.


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  4. Robet Cline

    You’ll see. .CO is on a trajectory to take over .com, all the new TLDs, and the world.

    .CO is the new avant garde, the new frontier, the new paradigm that will change the optic from which we see business.

    .com is Fools Gold! Wake up people or you will find that all your coms are worthless

    Just kidding, I am not Robert Cline, but just felt his presence is needed here and I thought I would fill in. 🙂

  5. Leonard Britt

    Regarding .CO I will add that because of its association with Colombia one would think that Spanish .CO domains would make sense. However, I have noted that in the Spanish domain sales thread on a Spanish domainers forum one very rarely sees Spanish keyword .CO domains. .CO sales are overwhelmingly for English keywords. My wife and I took a trip to Colombia in the spring of 2012. I saw more .COM domain ads than I had expected and of course many .COM.CO domains. I only saw one .CO and that was on the plane in a magazine on the plane ride back to Miami.

  6. Raymond Hackney

    Thanks for the mention Shane, good counter point of the article.

    I think that is the thing moving forward, registries are going to be focusing on getting registrations and not whether there is resale value for domainers. Certainly an extension like .luxury has no interest if domain investors can make a return on their $799 a year investment.

    It was a commenter AJ that owns a .com of a developed .co not any of my domains.

  7. Kassey

    If .co can be celebrated, then .mobi is really a surprise. Despite being condemned by domainers, it continues to grow — currently at 1.1m. No ad, no promotion, but all negative comments on the Internet by domainers. People continue to register .mobi. Of course, there is no resale market of .mobi right now.

  8. Konstantinos Zournas

    “Success is absolutely not defined by the domain investment industry.”
    Maybe but if domains are consistently sold for high prices then the TLD is desirable, hence it is successful.

    Also let’s not forget that .co owes part of it’s success to other ccTLDs around the world such as that have made the .co mainstream. These ccTLDs worked hard for years before .co “arrived”.

    .luxury is a joke. Prices will be down to $50 or even $10 in 5 years. Only suckers (TM holders and their consultants) can keep such gTLDs going.

  9. Raymond Hackney

    I can tell you Konstaninos that dot luxury has no plans for that, I think they are making the mistake that many in .tv have spent over a decade trying to get Verisign unwound. Why any new tld wants to adopt these unfavorable pricing policies is just nuts when you need to compete. Dot Luxury is $799 a year not just upfront so that will be very hard to get any traction.

  10. Steve

    “advantage of a 30 million dollar plus worldwide marketing plan”
    You could promote .anything with that kind of money to burn.
    Apparently one of the readers, aj, thinks the CEO of Overstock is delusional and naive?
    You can dress up and put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.

  11. Kate

    The .co story has shown that marketing can go a long away, especially if you can get a heavyweight like godaddy on your side.

    Before the “relaunch” .co had something like 30K regs maybe. It did not start from scratch but from very little.

    Registries don’t care if domainers or end users diss them – as long as they are making a profit.

  12. eric rice

    Right, so Go Daddy pushed the heck out of this extension, so even Go Daddy can’t make more than a handful of the 1000 new tlds successful at any one time. These companies that are spending hundreds of thousands to 100’s of million of dollars could have just bought companies based on EBITDA with very little risk with the same money.

    The registrars will do well in this because they are just brokers. They make money if anything sells.

  13. Melissa D

    It is very interesting to see some of the counterpoints you mentioned Shane. It’s hard to argue that .co has not done well with its marketing as many outside of the domain industry are aware of them even if they don’t choose them. Whether they are successful is a different conversation.

    Personally, I just bought my first ever .co but it was for a specific use rather than investment potential. I’m doing the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics later this month and my donation page link is a mess. Not something that can easily be provided to someone. For me being in Colorado, having the ability to use is fun and has a better chance of sticking when I say it to them.

    But as has been discussed, I would be concerned about losing traffic to the .com. Part of that is a concern that if I type it somewhere, does someone who doesn’t know .co think I just mistyped and forgot the m. I bought a backup as well, but this is my first trial. It’s just so easy to see .co and assume .com because there is only one letter difference.

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