.CO Internet S.A.S.
|ICANNWiki Bronze Sponsor|
|Ownership:||Arcelandia S.A, and Neustar Inc.|
|Headquarters:||701 Brickell Ave.|
Miami, FL, USA 33131
World Trade Center
Calle 100 No. 8 A - 49
Torre B of. 507
| Juan Diego Calle, CEO|
.CO Internet S.A.S. is a company formed by Arcelandia S.A., a Colombian company, and the U.S. company Neustar Inc., for the purpose of developing and operating the .co Internet registry; it is responsible for the promotion, administration, and technical operation of the .co TLD. It has been funded by, and there are staff overlaps with, the holding and investment company, STRAAT Investments.
.Co Internet has decided to work with only a dozen registrars in its first year. In its first 6 months (July-January 2010), some 600,000 .co domain names were registered; GoDaddy has registered about 250,000 of those. The company has also partnered with Deloitte in order to ensure that brand owner's rights were respected throughout the registration process.
At the beginning of 2012, when they were 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.
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 of 2009, the Ministry announced that it had been awarded oversight of .co as an expanded gTLD.
The decision to make .co an open ccTLD took a decade, with .co Internet becoming involved in 2006. .co Internet have 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. They have successfully marketed .co as a valuable national asset to the Colombian government, and the ideal new international extension for the international Internet community.
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.
.co's Popularity in Context
.co is 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.
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.
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. Indeed, GoDaddy's 2011 Super Bowl ad was billed to be the unvieling of the new ".co girl"; the ad later surprised audiences by featuring the not-so-girly, Joan Rivers, as the .co spokeswoman. She later acknowledged that the ads featured her face superimposed onto a model's body. 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. The 2012 ads helped GoDaddy post its best Super Bowl Sunday sales numbers, and a notable increase, even ten-fold, of .co registrations.
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. The ads will once again feature Go Daddy Girls, Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels. Before the airing of the 2012 ads, a CBS special on the best Super Bowl ads highlighted the previous GoDaddy & .co commercials.
.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 was presented its new site and hashtag, 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. 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.
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.The sale was held as a charity benefit.
Twitter has also made news for using a one-word domain, t.co, to provide additional services to its customers.
Overstock.com has begun to use "O.co" for all of its international branding purposes, and featuring the new URL in TV advertisements. It was reported that Overstock.com spent some $350,000 on "O.co" and other related URLs. 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.
There has been a significant amount of interest surrounding the sale of the "i.co" domain.
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.
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.
- 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.
.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.
.co held a number of different specialized auctions to sell its premium domains, its auction services provider was Pool.com. 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. 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
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."
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.
Result of .co TLD to Companies
Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock Inc. said that re-branding his company's website from Overstock.com to O.co is a bad decision. The company's 2011 revenue declined by 3 % compared to the previous year. According to him, Overstock lost 61% of traffic from internet users who want to visit the company's website. He explained that 8 out of 13 internet users who want 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. 
- ↑ CoInternet FAQ
- ↑ USA Today
- ↑ .Co Internet Registrars
- ↑ Sully's Blog
- ↑ USA Today
- ↑ SullysBlog.com
- ↑ WorldFinance100.com
- ↑ IANA
- ↑ DNJournal.com
- ↑ Huffington Post
- ↑ DNJournal.com
- ↑ DNJournal
- ↑ TheDomains.com
- ↑ TheDomains.com
- ↑ 
- ↑ Sullysblog
- ↑ CBS News
- ↑ GoDaddy to Advertise .Co At the Super Bowl, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ Super Bowl Sunday Here we COme, CoInternet.co/blog
- ↑ GoDaddy Super Bowl Ads, DomainNameWire.com
- ↑ PRWeb.com
- ↑ Pitch.co
- ↑ Go Daddy to Advertise .Co At The Super Bowl, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ Super Bowl Sunday Here We COme, CoInternet.co/blog
- ↑ GoDaddy Co Stars In The CBS TV Show Super Bowls Greatest Commericals, TheDomains.com
- ↑ StartUpLife.co
- ↑ Startup Weekends Latest Perk Free Domain Names, GeekWire.com
- ↑ Tech Crunch
- ↑ Ecorazzi.com
- ↑ T.Co
- ↑ SlullysBlog
- ↑ LATimes
- ↑ Overstock.com slows down O.co Rebranding, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ Freshnews.com
- ↑ Google Now Using G.co on Maps, ElliottsBlog.com
- ↑ SullysBlog
- ↑ The Huffington Post
- ↑ mo.com
- ↑ Open co Landrush re-auctions, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ co Landrush Auctions Could Top 10 Million, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ Co Landrush auctions top 1 million, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ .CoInternet
- ↑ Co Internet Recognized as World Finance 100 Business Leader, CircleID.com
- ↑ O.co loses 61% of its traffic to O.com