The .co.com domain registry, under the leadership of CEO Ken Hansen, began selling its .co.com domain names about a week ago, and the registry is currently in the landrush phase. Anyone can now reserve .co.com domain names at one of 13 domain registrars (like 101Domain), and more registrars are reportedly being onboarded in the future. General availability will take place in July.
I don’t plan to buy any .co.com domain names for myself, but I think companies who operate businesses on .CO domain names should consider purchasing the corresponding .co.com domain name for their business. .CO has been around for quite some time, and they’ve done quite a good job of growing awareness for .CO domain names. In my opinion though, I think there may still be some traffic leakage to other domain names.
The first likely source of any traffic leakage is to the corresponding .com domain name. I own Elliot.CO, and if I was marketing it as a brand, my bet is that there would be a percentage of people who accidentally visit Elliot.com thinking that was the website I was promoting. Because of the high value of a domain name like Elliot.com and the likelihood that a great domain name like this wouldn’t be for sale, buying that domain name might not be possible.
The second possible source of leakage is to the corresponding .co.com domain name. I would think that people might append the .com to any url as a habit, and if someone does that to a .CO domain name and the corresponding .co.com domain name is not registered, they will end up the .co.com registry homepage. If the corresponding co.com domain name is already registered by someone else, they will land on the other website, which may be used or monetized by an unrelated company.
Right now, the cost of a .co.com domain name is about $30/year, and I would think the cost might be lower once general availability starts. If the corresponding .co.com domain name gets 50 visits a year, the cost of the domain name would be recouped rather quickly compared to acquiring that targeted traffic in another way.
Whether you like the idea of .co.com or not, these domain names will be available, and I would bet there is a fair amount of traffic leakage. It’s probably a good idea for .CO businesses to purchase their corresponding .co.com domain names before someone else does.