'.co' extension just a big have

'.co' extension just a big have

Is it just me or was the recent '.co' virtual land grab a complete waste of time, money and server space?

For those who missed it, this domain name extension was recently made open to all. Here’s what one enthusiastic reseller had to say (and it sort of covers what most of those financially involved were pitching):

“… [it] will provide fantastic opportunities for individuals and businesses who wish to register exclusive domain names, where .com and variations have previously been taken. We think this will be one of the most important new domain launches in the past 25 years …”

Quite frankly, I think that’s crap. If you think dishing out bus-lane fines is a have, try selling a dot and couple of letters.

For a start, the .co extension is nothing new. Until recently it had been the domain name for Colombia. The difficulty was there were restrictions on ownership – and quite rightly, too, if you ask me. Country extensions should be limited. It annoys me when I see overseas speculators grabbing .co not because they want to use it, but simply in the hope of making a fast buck. Some countries allow it while others don’t.

For a while now, Colombians had had first dibs on .co. I guess, however, somebody somewhere thought it would be a good idea to let us all have a crack at it. After all, it’s a great extension. Short for company or corporation. It’s global and credible, and it makes sense.

But to say it opens up a whole new range of names seems a little bit of a self-serving fib. Most of the big boys would have already registered the extension anyway – Twitter, Microsoft, Google, Nike, Amazon, Ford, IBM, Panasonic, Apple, eBay, McDonalds et al.

I’ve seen it reported that 70 percent of the Fortune 500 had done it.

The trouble I have with this whole thing is what happens to the rest, especially all those companies already trading online in good faith? As ever when a new domain name comes out, companies need to carefully think about protecting their brand equity. Rather than opening up opportunities, doesn’t this move simply force them to buy another domain (which they probably won’t use)? Or run the risk of having some spotty speculator snap it up first, blatantly cybersquat, and then either try to extort money for the pleasure of handing it over or use it for misleading ends.

Okay, so it will open up some options. The more combinations a company can secure, the more likely it is people will find you online. However, judging by the flurry of activity any name worth its salt will be long gone. Try it for yourself. I’ll bet you can’t find even a half-decent .co name that hasn’t been taken.

What was the point, other than to have another domain that companies are having to fork out good money for? Is there any real point of difference from .com or .biz?

Personally, rather than the generic .co, I’d prefer to see more workable, functional, and targetable extensions. Things like .mag, .hotel, .cafe. Wouldn’t they have made more sense?

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