As one would expect, there are many people who are buying .CO domain names with the hopes of capitalizing on typo traffic. These people are looking through Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, and other various traffic estimation tools in the hopes of purchasing .CO domain names that will get traffic intended for the .COM.
One thing people need to be cognizant of (aside from trademark issues which I am not going to discuss) is that many high traffic websites get significant search engine traffic, and there isn’t going to be leakage from that. If someone visits a website via search engine or other referral, there will be no leakage to the .CO unless the referrer makes the typo.
Yesterday evening, I was asked if I had an interest in Burbank.CO. A reader of my blog offered his position in the auction because I didn’t back order it, and I wasn’t interested. I’ve been very fortunate with SEO and referral traffic for that site, and at the present time, only about 14% of the traffic is from type-in. Assuming 20,000 visitors per month total, that means under 3,000 are typing it in to their browser. If .3% of this traffic typos it, that’s about 9 visitors a month that I am losing. It just doesn’t make that much sense to pay more than $500, which is where this name ended I believe.
There are a number of .CO websites that are live, where the .COM website is also live. Sex.com/Sex.co, Porn.com/Porn.co, Porno.com/Porno.co, Hotels.com/Hotels.co, and Weather.com/Weather.co are five such comparisons you can do, as I would imagine these sites rely on significant type-in traffic, which is where the leakage would take place. Since I don’t know how long each .CO has been live, I can’t say whether it’s 100% accurate, but here are the Compete numbers and % of traffic:
- Sex.com – 135,793 | Sex.co – 393 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .23%
- Porn.com – 1,807,569 | Porn.co – 1,015 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .056%
- Porno.com – 233,909 | Porno.co – 656 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .28%
- Hotels.com – 4,822,172 | Hotels.co – 1,698 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .035%
- Weather.com – 31,992,990 | Weather.co – 29,893 – .CO % of .COM traffic: .093%
As you can see, there isn’t much leakage to the .CO, so investing a lot of money with the intent only to capitalize on typo traffic isn’t smart. Of course .CO domain owners can (and many will) develop their .CO domain names like I am doing, however, relying on revenue from typo traffic here might not be a smart play.