I will be taking a closer look at the multitude of new general top level domains (GTLDs) in the next few days. I think history is a good teacher. So in order for us to have an informed view as to how the new GTLDs will perform, I it is best to take a quick look at some of the top level domains (TLDs or domain extensions) that were launched in recent years.
I want to start on a positive note. As such I will start with the .CO TLD (.CO), as I believe it has been the most successful new TLD in recent years.
Here are five quick reasons why I believe .CO was a winner from the start:
It is a fact that the .COM TLD (.COM) is the king of all the domain extensions. .COM also has the most registered domain names, and naturally the most developed websites and brands using it.
This means that if any TLD is to do well, they will need to have viable strategy in order to successfully compete with the .COM.
.CO in my opinion was reasonably priced, or has always enjoyed decent promotional discounts at the top registrars. This means that it was not overly expensive and didn’t have a “high” maintenance cost (domain renewal fee).
I believe that the nearer a TLD is priced to the .COM, the more of a chance it has to effectively compete with it.
.CO is as short as any TLD can be. I believe that the less that a user has to type on the right side of the dot, the better. .CO is obviously shorter than .COM. It has a natural combination of letters for web users, as the most popular TLDs, especially the country codes start with “.CO”.
3. .CO is short for “Company”
“.Co” has always been used as an abbreviation for “company”. Quite a few companies worldwide end with “Co.”, for example “Brown & Co.”.
This I believe, is why .CO has been so successful with startups. Even if an ebusiness brand is launched on .COM, the .CO domain would be quite useful to use as the name of the company or the corporate website. This makes .CO quite brandable and easy to promote.
It is for this reason why I personally registered my first and only .CO domain name, Aeroplanes.co, to be used in conjunction with Aeroplanes.com.
4. Successful Marketing Campaigns
The .CO guys really did a fantastic job at marketing the new TLD. There were no senseless gimmicks and hype. They simply presented a credible case as to why companies, entrepreneurs and startups could use .CO to brand their ebusinesses.
.CO also had the right partnerships and campaigns, such as with Godaddy.com and their Super Bowl ads.
5. Real Brands Using the .CO TLD
The points mentioned above are mostly inherent, except the price and the savvy marketing. The most impressive move that the .CO guys did in my opinion was to make the extra push to get real sites developed on the .CO TLD.
Most other TLDs depended on domainers registering and hoarding the domains on a new TLD, rather than targeting real brands and entities. This strategy will only help the registry with cash flow in the early days. It is not viable, as the domains will be allowed to expire when they are not sold on the domain aftermarket or successfully monetized via domain parking.
Domains are meant to brand websites and even companies. For a TLD to be successful in the long run, it needs to have real brands using it. When real brands use a TLD, then more web users become aware of its existence. More awareness brings more usage and registration.
This then has a positive knock on effect on the food chains in the domain industry, such as registration, aftermarket sales and monetization.