'.co' still going strong


.CO Internet SAS, the registry managing ‘.co’, the country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Colombia, has revealed impressive statistics for the year 2012.

Since the re-delegation of the ‘.co’ ccTLD to the new registry and the major changes it subsequently implemented in March 2010 - namely, the launch of registrations directly under ‘.co’, and the liberalisation of the ‘.com.co’ and ‘.net.co’ extensions, which were until then only open to Colombian entities - things are going very well for the ‘.co’ ccTLD. Thanks to the lack of restrictions and various potential double meanings which transcend mere reference to Colombia (thus enabling the registry to position ‘.co’ as an interesting alternative to the saturated ‘.com’ TLD - for example ‘.co’ can make reference to ‘.COmpanies’, ‘.COmmerce’, ‘.COmmunities’, ‘.COnnections’, etc), as well as a strong and continuous marketing campaign, ‘.co’ has managed to make quite a buzz and is one of the fastest growing ccTLDs so far.

Less than two months after the general availability launch of the ‘.co’ extension in July 2010, the registry announced on September 15 2010 that the milestone of 500,000 domain name registrations had already been reached. Two years later, at the end of 2012, the ‘.co’ domain name space counted approximately 1.4 million domain names. Compared to, for example, Mexico (‘.mx’) which ‘only’ counts approximately 620,000 domain names after many years of existence, these are certainly impressive results in such a short period.

In addition, the number of ‘.co’ domain names has increased by nearly 24.4% from 2011 to 2012 - an impressive growth rate, especially in view of the overall TLD growth rate of 12%, and ccTLD growth rate of 20.7%, according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief in December 2012. The registry statistics also show a ‘.co’ renewal rate of 63%, which, despite a slight decrease compared to 66% last year, is a good performance in view of the blended ‘.com’/’.net’ renewal rate which is in the region of 73%. It is interesting to note that the large majority (93%) of ‘.co’ domain names are registered directly under the ‘.co’ extension at the second level, while approximately 5.8% are registered under ‘.com.co’ and the remaining 1.2% are registered under other ‘.co’ third-level domains such as ‘.net.co’.  

Boosted by these great results, the registry is continuing its efforts to pursue the growth of ‘.co’. A recent example is the launch of internationalised domain names (IDNs) in Scandinavian characters on January 15 2013. It is now possible to register ‘.co’ domain names using the special characters of the Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish languages, when previously ‘.co’ IDNs were only available in relation to Spanish special characters. The registry has also partnered with GoDaddy for a third year in a row to create a commercial for the Super Bowl - a major sports event which attracts millions of viewers - which was held on February 3 2013.

David Taylor and Laetitia Arrault, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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