Earlier posts cautioning against falling for unsolicited invitations to purchase foreign domain names [see: 3/7/11 post and 10/28/10 post ] assumed that a U.S. company that has obtained necessary rights to the .com, .net and .org variations of its chosen domain name has put itself where it should be in the Internet domain name marketplace. As every 21st century entrepreneur knows, having the .com top level domain (TLD) for your name is what is most important. In fact, we have seen start-up businesses so attuned to this concern that they have moved from their preferred name to another one because the .com TLD was not available for their first choice. This is indicative of the fact that the .com world has become a very crowded place.
Enter, stage left, Madison Avenue and its ability to create demand for something no one needed before the sales pitch. Anyone who paid attention to the important part of the Super Bowl, the ads, saw the launch of a concerted effort to sell .co domain names as an alternative or add-on to .com ones. With a somewhat refurbished Joan Rivers as the GoDaddy.co girl, billboard ads in Time Square and other fanfare, domain name registrars are investing heavily in promoting .co TLDs.
Even though .co is actually the TLD for the South American country of Colombia, this promotional campaign relies on most people seeing it instead as standing for “corporation,” “commerce,” or “company.” It’s too early to say how successful this campaign will be, but the point to be noted is that all of this has launched a previously ignored country code TLD to prominence as a suggested alternative to the .com 500 pound gorilla in the TLD room.
So, while it is still best to ignore unsolicited offers to purchase domain names you don’t need, any U.S. company with a .com website might want to consider wrapping up the .co TLD for its Internet name as well. And any U.S. company that was disappointed to find that the .com TLD was not available for its chosen Internet domain name should consider reserving the .co version. –Robert E. Smartschan