Enforcement

.COme on Now

The debate over .CO – whether it can be a viable alternative to .COM or if it is just a gimmick – continues. For example, Overstock.com, the popular online retailer, recently introduced the new O.co domain name, but is billing it as a “shortcut” to the Overstock site rather than a standalone brand.

While reading the TechCrunch blog, I recently came across another example of a company using .CO for an interesting purpose. Go2 Media is a service that connects mobile publishers, local audiences and advertisers through content and location-based advertising. It owns the domainGo2.com and uses it to host its consumer-oriented site. However, the company does not ownGo2Media.com – this domain is registered to a Korean man and has no content other than a link to DomainCA, a Korean domain registrar.

Instead, Go2 Media owns and leverages Go2Media.co for its business-oriented site, where it hosts information for publishers and advertisers. What likely happened was, the company saw that Go2Media.com was already registered, and sought a solution. But instead of attempting to reclaim the domain Go2Media.com through UDRP (a search on UDRPsearch turned up no filings over that domain) or other means, the company chose to register Go2Media.co as an alternative. When push comes to shove, though, Internet users in the U.S. are conditioned to affix .COM at the end of Internet addresses, and as such, Go2Media.com receives traffic – undoubtedly visitors seeking the company, not some Korean squatter’s site. At the end of the day, .CO is not a substitute for .COM.

Marketing

.CO Garners More Hype, Plus One Unexpected Spokesperson

Since it first became open to public registrations on the second level last summer, the Colombian ccTLD .CO has garnered a good deal of attention.  Some have speculated that it will become a viable alternative to .COM, whereas others have written it off as a gimmick.  In a recent New York Times article that explored how different ccTLDs are used by commercial entities, FairWinds’ Managing Partner Josh Bourne offered his opinion on the .CO issue: “As long as it doesn’t become well known that it’s just a bastardization of the country code for Colombia, it could take off,” he stated.

One entity that has been touting the virtues of .CO is domain name registrar Go Daddy, which offers registration services for .CO domains.  The company, known for featuring attractive spokeswomen in its commercials, even decided to introduce a new “.CO girl” to promote the extension.  In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl this weekend, the company produced a series of ads to generate buzz about who this new mystery woman would be.  And in the ad that ran during the Super Bowl, Go Daddy finally revealed her identity:

The new .CO girl is…Joan Rivers?  Or at least, Rivers’ head digitally transposed on another woman’s body?  I’ll be honest, I don’t think I want to go to GoDaddy.co to find out more.  The commercial was weird enough for me on its own.

This kind of stunt, in my opinion, definitely points more toward gimmick than legitimate.  This sentiment is echoed in a recent Fortune article, which points out that, as we’ve seen at FairWinds, the majority of registrations in .CO thus far have been defensive.