.CO Domains Subject to UDRP

I read an “Open Letter to .CO Registrants” posted on the .CO Registry website by Eduardo Santoyo, Vice President & ccTLD Manager for the Registry. I think any domain owner who bought .CO domain names should have a look at the letter to know where the Registry stands when it comes to trademark infringement.

Some of the key points discussed in this letter include:

  • .CO domain names are subject to UDRP
  • When you buy a .CO domain name, you must represent and warrant that you aren’t doing so to infringe on the rights of another company (whether you are bidding on a domain name or hand registering it)
  • .CO Registry will not give any refunds if a name is taken via UDRP or other legal action
  • Domain owners are responsible for doing their own due diligence

Most domain investors know the ramifications pertaining to registering trademark infringing domain names, but some people don’t. I received an email last week from someone who told me she registered several .CO domain names of Fortune 500 companies that didn’t think to register them on their own. She asked how she could sell them. I told her I had no idea but referred her to my Domain Lawyer article for references.

It’s good to see the Registry post an article like this, and it will certainly be interesting to see how many UDRP cases are filed and how soon until that begins. My bet is that there will be quite a lot, especially when a strong aftermarket develops.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Coke.co is perfect for Colombia. Not even Coca Cola is better known 🙂

    But every new extension you get some ‘smart people’ that read an article from 1995 and still think that the same rules apply now.

  2. @Elliot, great post and thanks for re-enforcing the message. We have tried very hard to spread the word from the start that the registry intends to create a clean, secure space for individuals and companies to grow businesses and brands online. Thanks to @KJB for the great blog post on our site – it gave us another chance to reinforce the message. @James – if you look through our communications you’ll see we did think of doing something similar before Landrush and before Sunrise too. All of our communications reinforce these points and have since the very start. It hasn’t always made us popular to take the hard line, but we have done it consistently. Thanks all for the comments and interest! : )

  3. .co is the worst cctld execution to date. i still cant buy the .co i want. its confusing its pre-registered to auction, it’s worthless, overhyped, and expensive. f**k .co!!! its not that nice .wait till future cctld release in the future. alot of popular .co domains such as coca.co etc are seized by the columbian nic. F**k the columbian nic. I will register my domains elsewhere where they don’t have stupid retarded policies like yours AND you dont censor or seize good and the best domain names.

    • @ Joe

      So because you can’t buy a name you want, despite the fact that more than half a MILLION .co domain names have already been registered in less than a few months, you think the execution is poor. That’s pretty amusing.

  4. .co sucks. period. true you say half a million .co domain have been registered. how many have actually sold as valuable assets? NONE. Because .CO cctld nic CENSORS their domains. I try to buy web.co during landrush for example, im told its already taken even though Linux command line “whois -h whois.nic.co web.co” says it’s not taken. I try to buy it,. it says its taken. F**k .co. Most worthless and innaprorporiate ccTLD execution to date. This is not how you execute a ccTLD. .cO isn’t even that nice to be cheating/bending the rules on sales. WORTHLESS.

  5. @ Joe

    You make no sense.. worthless, poor execution…etc… yet they’ve sold more than half a million names to date. You sound like a bitter person with an ax to grind… if they’re so worthless why would you try to buy web.co?

  6. do not execute your proposed cctld like .CO did. As i said before. It was scrambled and backwards. I would do ‘whois -h whois.nic.co domain.co’ and even if it wasn’t taken I could not purchase it. What the ***k kind of business is that? If you can’t even get your whois to work, what business do you have selling domain names? I am glad I did not buy into .CO. It’s a stupid squat attempt on .com. GOOD LUCK with that crap.

  7. @ Joe

    LOL… There were a lot of names reserved by them to be auctioned at a later date, and I am sure that is one of them.

    Did you try to email the people who run the registry, or do you find it easier to bitch and curse about it on my blog?

  8. ive dealt with many ccltds. i consider the .co execution unique, as they are stupid as ***k in doing auctions for all the premiun names, giving no opportunities for anyone to register premium names. F**k .co. Worthless domain CCTLD. This is coming from a system admin who manages things like this. I can’t even buy some of my names of choice because they’re “reserved”. the .CO cctld release has too many flaws,too many restrictions. I hope to god that future ccTLD’s do not execute using the same model that .CO did.

  9. @ Joe

    Of course they will… that’s a big way they make money. It’s a business, not a charity.

    As I asked before, did you even email them, or do you just prefer to post ranting comments on my blog? I think you sound like a complete fool.

  10. no i didn’t. i am not interested in .co domains. the only one i wanted was web.co and when i tried to whois it it wasn’t taken. when i tried to buy it it was taken. WTF kind of business model is that? WHOIS NOT TAKEN means your domain should be free for grabs!!! That’s how .com is, that’s how .net is. I don’t agree to the way internet.co executed. No, what you said is wrong. ANY DOMAIN YOU WANT should be available to buy. even if its slots.co and worth $10000. It should be available for purchase for the base price of $50 or less. Thats how domain registration works. It’s designed to make people money, not the NIC money.

  11. [root@lunar doc-root]# host -a web.co
    Trying “web.co”
    Host web.co not found: 3(NXDOMAIN)
    Received 92 bytes from in 37 ms
    You have new mail in /var/spool/mail/root
    [root@lunar doc-root]#


    web.co is already taken. (Get info)
    View alternative results below or search again:

  12. [root@lunar doc-root]# whois -h whois.nic.co web.co
    [Querying whois.nic.co]
    Not found: web.co

    >>>> Whois database was last updated on: Wed Oct 13 03:32:54 GMT 2010 <<<<
    .CO Internet, S.A.S., the Administrator for .CO, has collected this
    information for the WHOIS database through Accredited Registrars.
    This information is provided to you for informational purposes only and is
    designed to assist persons in determining contents of a domain name
    registration record in the .CO Internet registry database. .CO Internet makes this
    information available to you "as is" and does not guarantee its accuracy.
    By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this data only for
    lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data:
    (1) to allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass
    unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via direct mail,
    electronic mail, or by telephone; (2) in contravention of any applicable
    data and privacy protection laws; or (3) to enable high volume, automated,
    electronic processes that apply to the registry (or its systems). Compilation,
    repackaging, dissemination, or other use of the WHOIS database in its
    entirety, or of a substantial portion thereof, is not allowed without
    .CO Internetâs prior written permission. .CO Internet reserves the right to modify or
    change these conditions at any time without prior or subsequent notification
    of any kind. By executing this query, in any manner whatsoever, you agree to
    abide by these terms.


    All domain names are subject to certain additional domain name registration
    rules. For details, please visit our site at http://www.whois.co .
    [root@lunar doc-root]#

  13. Joe,

    I think an email to our support team could have resolved this issue fairly simply. We would have quickly responded to explain why web.co wasn’t available when you searched. To Elliot’s point, the answer is straight-forward. The domain name is simply not available for registration in the second level as it is a legacy domain, which was previously used as an extension in the third level.

    This said, your complaint here has actually been quite helpful in that it
    alerted us to the fact that the description on the whois.co website could
    certainly be more clear — and so I thank you for that.

    I know you looked at the whois.co site. As such, you will have seen the
    following disclaimer:


    Beyond this disclaimer, there is a much more detailed description right
    under the search box which has been there since our launch. If you read
    Spanish, your question would have been answered right on the whois.co site.
    However, our mistake, this should have been on the site in English too. We
    will update it to add the English description asap.

    Here’s what the Spanish description says:

    QUE EL DOMINIO ESTE DISPONIBLE. En circunstancias limitadas, dominios que
    aparezcan disponible en el whois.co podrán no estar disponibles ya que estos
    pueden haber sido asignados previamente y no hayan sido reflejados en la
    base de datos del whois y/o pueden no estar disponibles para ser registrados
    por ser parte de una lista restringida. En estos casos, el realizar una
    revisión desde su Registrador (EPP Check) le dará el estado actual del
    dominio. Además, dominios usados como extensiones en registros del tercer
    nivel actualmente o anteriormente no estarán disponibles para ser
    registrados en el segundo nivel. Por ejemplo: org.co,mil.co,edu.co,com.co,net.co,nom.co,arts.co,firm.co,info.co,int.co,web

    If you don’t read Spanish, here is a quick summary of what it says:

    “In some limited cases, domains that might appear as available in whois
    might not actually be available as they could already be registered and the
    whois not yet updated and/or they could be part of the Restricted list. In
    these cases, performing a check through your Registrar’s (EPP check) will
    give you the actual status of the domain. Additionally, domains currently
    or previously used as extensions in 3rd level domains will not be available
    for registration in the 2nd level. For example, org.co, mil.co, edu.co,
    com.co, net.co, nom.co, arts.co, firm.co, info.co, int.co, web.co, rec.co,

    As noted, we will update the site asap. In closing, I’d like to say that in
    the future, if you have a suggestion or gripe about .CO, we would be happy
    to try to address it or resolve it directly. You can feel free to reach out
    to anyone on our team.

    Lori Anne Wardi
    Director of Marketing,
    .CO Internet SAS

  14. I agree with Joe. the .CO registry did not do a good job of making sure trademarked .com’s did not get cybersquatted. Also not all registrars even offered .CO – completely unfair to those people who never even knew about the offering. scam.
    check http://papajohns.com – rediculous, joke.

  15. ridiculous, so you don’t think PAPAJOHNS.CO is ridiculous ? wake up, .CO is just another scam that made columbia tons of money, and the lawyers that will have to take on these udrp’s which so far doesn’t look like it will matter since .CO has not become mainstream so far. papajohns is just one of thousands of trademarked and now squatted .co’s.

  16. @ duke

    Sure I think that name should be Papa Johns’ rather than someone else. Why didn’t they reserve it during the sunrise period? Had they done this, they would save a lot of money on any UDRP filing. So far, it looks like you are more concerned about this than they, which is a bit strange since they are a pretty big company with a good handle on marketing.

    There will always be TM issues no matter what the extension is. There are plenty of examples in .com, too. How about PapaJohn.com? See, it’s easy to throw stones, but every registry has these types of issues.

  17. i’ll tell you why, because some registrar’s, like 1&1 did not offer .CO so they were completely unaware – you think every company had domain experts on the payroll ? thousands of others are in the same boat and looking at expensive udrp’s which will make the lawyers rich. If you are going to offer a new extension that is confusingly similar (.co is confusingly similar to .com) – every single registrar should be required to offer it or at least make every single .com customer aware of it (over 90 million). This is just a violation extension and that is why I think google will not allow it, google.co still does not resolve. The reason why i am throwing stones is because this is not .cc or .SO – .co is extremely confusingly similar to .com – unlike .cm which failed miserably. Your example is not my point, my point is EXISTING trademarked .com’s

  18. Yes, that would be very feasible. .CO and various registrars had been marketing .CO for months. A number of trademark organizations and law firms were very vocal about .CO as well. We are not talking about a company located in Cambodia where Internet access may be spotty. I find it very difficult to believe a company like PJ would be unaware of .CO.

    Furthermore, due to their perceived lack of vigilance when it comes to names like PapaJohn.com, PapJohns.com, PopaJohns.com…etc, perhaps they just don’t care enough or think the traffic loss is minimal, which I would bet it is.

  19. @duke: ” you think every company had domain experts on the payroll ? ”

    Uh, they better. Every company has a computer guy or a network nerd -OR- they handle their IT themselves. Same goes for domain names. This isnt 1994, its 2011.

    Papa Johns SHOULD HAVE pre-registered that domain and its a huge blunder on their part that they didnt. However, this doesnt stop the TM process from protecting them. Dont worry, they’ll get their domain name and you’ll be OK.

    Eat or be eaten.

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