A second look at .CO with Lori Anne Wardi

A second look at .CO with Lori Anne Wardi

Back in early 2011, I interviewed Lori Anne Wardi, now Vice President at .CO, the company behind the .CO domain extension.  I thought it would be great to check in with her, nearly 3 years later to see how .CO has positioned itself in the domain industry.

Mike:  When we last spoke, .CO had grown to 600,000 domains registered.  What does that number look like today?

Lori: As of today .CO has over 1.5 million domain names registered by individuals and businesses in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Mike:  What factors do you attribute to the growth of .CO in this period of time?  

Lori: There has been a huge surge of entrepreneurship worldwide.  People are hungry to take control of their lives and careers, and thanks to the Internet, starting and growing a business has never been easier or less expensive.  Unfortunately, until now, there was still one very big problem.  It is still very hard for any new business to acquire a meaningful, memorable .com domain name that isn’t already taken — and wouldn’t require a huge investment of cash or equity to acquire.  .CO solves that problem.  With a wide open name space, .CO offers short, credible, global domain names that innovators, entrepreneurs and startups can use to brand their businesses, products, services, apps, and communities online.

Mike:  Do you have any other stats or projections for .CO?

Lori: Unlike the rest of our team, I’m not so big on stats or numbers — so I’ll spare you any projections on those fronts. Since I tend operate best on intuition and instinct, here are my predictions: .CO will continue to innovating in the domain industry, surprising and delighting our customers — and building a thriving community of movers and shakers who celebrate and support each other’s success. Before you know it, .CO will become, without question, the premier domain choice for the innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses and brands who are building the future online.  Of course, I may be a little biased, but this is the future — as I like to see it!

Mike:  What is your perception of the hundreds of new TLDs on the way?  How will this impact the growth of .CO in the years to come?

Lori: The Internet is about to get a whole lot more interesting!  Until now, there has been precious little innovation to the right of the dot.  With the exception of .CO, and a few other domain industry leaders, most of the innovation in domain names, to date, has come from what’s to the left of the dot.  With new gTLDs on the horizon, businesses and brands will soon have a world of new naming options to choose from, and the false scarcity that once drove the price of domain names to artificially high levels will diminish. The best domain names will certainly still have premium values, but the value will come in a lot of different shapes, sizes and flavors, depending on the needs of the user.  We believe that the onslaught of new domain options will help to generate awareness among consumers that there is more to the Internet than .com — and this will most certainly help the .CO cause.  However, with the massive increase in competition, the influx of new TLDs also means that .CO will need to innovate like never before just to stay relevant and competitive.  All I can say is that our sleeves are already rolled up — and we’re ready for the challenge!

Mike:  I’ve seen several sales of .CO names on the secondary market.  Do you have a pulse on how .CO is doing in the after market?

Lori: I’m happy to say, .CO is doing very well on the secondary market. Sedo, the world’s largest premium marketplace unveiled a study detailing the growth and success of .CO over the years since our launch. The study found that the YTD average sales price of .CO domains surpass even the most well established legacy TLDs, including .com, .net and .org. The mean average sales price for .CO domain names at the time of the report (July 2013) was $2,486 (a 37% increase since our launch in 2010) – and higher than even .com.  The median sales price of .CO domains was $570 USD, up 14 percent since 2010, and higher than all the reported TLDs except for .com. It’s beyond exciting to see that we’re achieving average and median sales prices on the secondary market that are on par with or surpass industry heavyweights! You can read through Sedo’s complete .CO Market Report here.

Mike:  I can only imagine that this list has grown since we last spoke, but what are some of the premium .CO names that are in use today?  Do you have any favorites?

Lori: Yes, it’s grown a lot since we last spoke so this is a tough question!  Twitter launched its new video-sharing app earlier this year on Vine.co and already has more than 40 million users. At UP.CO you’ll find the online home of UP Global, the result of Startup Weekend and Startup America (S.co) joining forces to better serve entrepreneurs around the world. A fun side note about UP Global is that they just recently rang the NASDAQ closing bell and had an ad boasting UP.CO lighting up Times Square. Only a few weeks later and Google had its own billboard in Times Square touting its new music service, featured on g.co/playmusic. Then there’s Summit.co, Brit.co and Work.co – which are three more of my favorites. I could go on for days about all the cool things happening on .CO domains – but, don’t worry, I won’t!  You can check out some more of my favorites in this fun graphic we created to celebrate our 3rd birthday in July 2013.

Mike:  I’ve seen some great one letter .CO names such as O.co (overstock), g.co (Google URL shortener).  But also others such as Y.co (Yachting).   Any other great ones?

Lori: We’re really proud of the amazing companies that are using .CO single letter domains.  As you can imagine, with only 26 single letter domain names — these are the crown jewels of our portfolio.  We have only allocated 10 of the 26 letters — so 16 still remain.  The Startup America Partnership, a national network of startup communities dedicated to advancing the success of American startups (founded by Steve Case and the Obama administration), upgraded its online presence from startupamericapartnership.org to the short and memorable S.co. Another exciting single letter use case is Y.CO, a superyacht brokerage and management company. Y.CO made the announcement of their rebrand from ycoyacht.com to the perfectly on brand .CO domain at the famous Monaco Yacht Show. It was quite a sight to see the whole Monaco marina with .CO urls everywhere! Other great single letter domain use cases include Twitter (t.co), GoDaddy (x.co), Amazon (a.co), Google (g.co) and Overstock (o.co).

Mike:  Why is .CO a good choice for individuals and businesses?

Lori:  .CO is an outstanding choice for those who want to be part of something greater. Why? Because it’s more than just a domain, .CO is a thriving community of movers and shakers who are inspiring the future of the Internet – celebrating and sharing each other’s successes, one URL at a time. Offering highly coveted perks, privileges and promotions, .CO can open the door to endless opportunities and help speed the route to success. .CO is the web address where the world’s innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses and brands come together to build and grow their ideas and organizations online.

In the words of one of our .COmmunity members, Marc Nager of UP.CO, “.CO is like the extension of a brand that symbolizes creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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