1,100 two-character '.co' domain names for sale

Colombia

.CO Internet SAS, the registry managing ‘.co’, the country-code top-level domain for Colombia, has announced the listing of its two-character ‘.co’ domain name portfolio for purchase with the registrar GoDaddy.

This is not the first time that the ‘.co’ registry and GoDaddy have worked together to promote ‘.co’, and these two-character domain names are being made available via GoDaddy's aftermarket service, its "secondary market for domain names". According to the ‘.co’ registry, some 1,100 two-character ‘.co’ domain names are to be made available for purchase, with prices ranging from "$10,000 on the low end" to "$100,000 on the high end". Previously, all two-character ‘.co’ domain names had been reserved by the ‘.co’ registry and, in turn, all sales of these ‘premium’ two-character domain names had been handled directly by them.

Two-character ‘.co’ domain names have been available for purchase since the launch of ‘.co’ in 2010 but, in order to secure such domain name registrations, applicants had to negotiate directly with the ‘.co’ registry. Lori Anne Wardi, vice president of brand of ‘.co’, has been quoted as saying that "the demand for premium two-character ‘.co’ domain names is far too great for us to continue to manage exclusively in-house". As such, the aim of listing these two-character domain names seems to be two-fold: raising the profile of ‘.co’ domain name registrations while, at the same time, encouraging small to medium-size businesses to acquire a short and, in the words of GoDaddy’s director of domain name aftermarket Paul Nicks, “highly brandable” domain name. Clearly, by using one of the largest domain name registrars, the ‘.co’ registry is hoping to target a larger pool of potential registrants.

There are approximately 1.5 million ‘.co’ domain names currently registered, which are, by any standards, impressive statistics. ‘.co’ has had an impressive growth rate during 2012, due to the liberalisation of ‘.co’ in 2010 which removed the requirement that ‘.co’ domain names could be registered only to Colombian entities. In addition to the liberalisation, ‘.co’ is now seen by many as a viable alternative to ‘.com’, which is in no small part due to the marketing efforts of the ‘.co’ registry when it launched domain name registrations under this extension.

David Taylor and Tony Vitali, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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