.CO Seeing “Strong” Renewal Rate

Since the launch of .CO, there has been quite a bit of chatter about how people who registered or who bought .CO domain names in the aftermarket would drop them after a year or two.

There were primarily two reasons cited for this assumption. The first thought was that these .CO domain names wouldn’t retain their value and wouldn’t even be worth keeping or renewing. Secondly, naysayers assumed that people who registered their .CO domain names with discount codes wouldn’t get the same deal on renewals and would drop them.

According to a blog post from the .CO Registry’s Nicolai Bezsonoff, this assumption of a low renewal rate is inaccurate and the opposite appears to be happening:

For domain names acquired prior to our launch on July 20, 2010: we have a 97% renewal rate for all grandfathered names; a 96% renewal rate by brands who acquired domain names during the Sunrise period; and a 92% renewal rate for names acquired during the .CO Landrush, which includes a 98% rate for names sold during the Landrush auctions.

For domain names acquired after our launch, which represents the large majority of our domains, the renewal rates are also very strong. Domain names registered on the day of our opening for GA currently have renewal rates of 77% — which is huge!

The average renewal rate for all of 2011 was 68%, which by industry standards, is quite high for the first year of any new TLD launch. Looking at our first batch of second renewals (– or “second vintage” as we call it in the industry) – we are projecting that we will see renewal rates in the low 70%s for those domains – which is just fantastic news!

Have you been keeping your .CO domain names?

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. Thanks Elliot for the info many were waiting for. Based on my calculations .co should account for at least 20% of websites worldwide by 2020. However there are too many variables to say something for certain. The biggest uncertainty is the massive launch of new tld’s some time next year and its effect on the internet ( although http://www.launch.co/ alone is at the top of the screen for now :).
    To me it makes much more sens to go with .co rather than .org or even .net. And thats the goal for .co: to become no.2 I renewed most of my .co’s (especially key phrase words althogh the high renewal price hurts for sure).
    My feeling is it will be like an avalanche: once the big boys realize the potential of .co vs. its price .co will take off like a bullet because why the hell spend millions of $ for launch.com when launch.co rates higher

  2. Elliot,
    Nobody questions that Juan is making money.
    I just look at it as not being an investment quality extension.
    It still has a place and use. Just not for investors.
    And of course the confusion factor is still a big and costly problem.
    We’ll see if that sorts out in time when there are thousands of extensions.

  3. I dropped most of my .co domains. The return on these wasn’t worth my time and I just couldn’t get past the issue of traffic bleed to the .com equivalent. I wouldn’t develop an online brand on a .co domain, and given that I sell very few domains and focus almost entirely on business development: .co is not for me.

    The extension has been well marketed and operated, so full credit to the .co team. I think they’ve set the benchmark for the upcoming new gTLDs.

    I did keep less than a handful of .co domains, some for brand protection. If people can make money off the ones I dropped – credit to them.

  4. I still have yet to see a major company/startup emerge on .CO. The only thing I’ve been seeing is the startup incubator 500.co, which apparently pushes its startups that can’t get .COM to go to .CO. But seeing as I never hear about any of those young startups again after they first launch, It sounds like a big mistake. And I bet it doesn’t even occur to them that just maybe their domain name- their branding- has failed and may be at least partly to blame.

    Also, if you read the press release above carefully the stats/percentages are deceptive. They did’t include a stat just for names registered after launch (i.e. which would include the lower quality)

      • Interesting. I can only assume they are in the process of acquiring the dot com? Judging from Alexa, the .com counterpart of that domain currently receives 20% more traffic WITHOUT even having a website. The bottom line is that it’s an uphill battle building a brand on a dot com as it is.. it’s even tougher without owning the .com equivalent.

      • haha oh well, perfect timing. Good find- 100 mill is no joke. Lets see if they are still around in a few months/ what they do with their massive cash infusion.

        • @M

          Why shouldn’t they be around in a few months? The project they’re working on will be a success or a fail regardless of their domain, or do you really think it is the domain that determines if an idea is great or not? lol

        • @Joe

          duh, of course that’s what I’m saying. As a domainer are you really going to try and argue otherwise?

          The proof is in the results, and as of now there are simply no major companies with a major online presence on .CO.

          And “success” isn’t black or white. The idea is that even if they do well, are they reaching the FULL potential they otherwise would have with a better domain aka BRAND. You know the answer- they won’t be as successful/well known as they would have been with Realtime.COM. No matter how well they do on .co.

        • @M

          Let me tell you that, if a project is really bound to take off, it will on whatever domain, ok perhaps with a certain bleeding to the .com (I’m not saying it is not true, but this would be mainly limited to the US, other countries are much more used to typing TLDs other than .com). See Justin.TV, it’s a successful website even though Justin.com and JustinTV.com, which for sure benefit from some “free traffic”, aren’t owned by the company. And please don’t tell me that this is because .TV is more established or older than .CO, because the average American is aware of the existence of .com (.net and .org, yes, but to a much lesser extent)

        • i understand you are the unofficial (or official?) .co defender, but my argument applies to all non-.coms, so .tv too. Justintv.com shows a spam survey site and even alerted my anti-virus software about some exploit. That is AWFUL for the company. Yes they are successful, but no doubt LESS successful than they would be with JustinTV.com. The amount cannot be measured, but it exists. It’s really a simple concept and b/c of the spam/virus page it’s actually a great example of what can go wrong without your .COM. Leakage traffic is lost users/customers.

        • i understand you are the unofficial (or official?) .co defender, but my argument applies to all non-.coms, so .tv too. Justintv.com shows a spam survey site and even alerted my anti-virus software about some exploit. That is AWFUL for the company. Yes they are successful, but no doubt LESS successful than they would be with JustinTV.com. The amount cannot be measured, but it exists. It’s really a simple concept and b/c of the spam/virus page it’s actually a great example of what can go wrong without your .COM.

      • Question – About the Realtime.CO you Mentioned…
        Anyone know about the owner(s) of that project…
        Where’d the $100 Million Investment COME from ??
        (I’m nosey – but…)
        ~Patricia – DomainBELL

        • Rick is right about the dot com confusion factor. As of today, building .co brands are fine so long as you have a contingency plan of how to acquire the dot com equivalent of your brand. It will be several years until the traffic leakage isn’t a factor. Therefore, they’d be wise in buying the dot com counterpart with some of that 100 million. If they don’t manage a deal to acquire it, they will be losing significant traffic which should speak volumes of how their other business decisions will be handled. Unless of course their plan is to steal the name via reverse hijacking based on the fact they have built up a “trademark” and business via funding.

          IMO, the .co has the capacity to be a very toxic extension for this very reason. We will continue to see brands being built on out on the .co extension, and dot com’s being forcefully taken in cases where the dot com isn’t already developed. This is why Juan makes money. By his own words, “now you can finally own the domain you desire”. It’s to freaking close to a dot com and this is why there’s an “ok” renewal rate at the moment.

  5. Schwartz loved them when they sponsored traffic and hated them because they didn’t renew seeing little return on their investment given all the end user and start up shows they could sponsor instead.

    • i doubt that one. domainers stepped in and help this junk extension. Again good portion of speculators helped .co. Its not the end users.

      ok eventually end users are going realize this as well. not only the founder .co is a chump, attacks domainers, end users are going realize what a mistake .co is as well. can we say o.co LOL

  6. I personally am heavy with .coms, however definitely holding on to a few good .co’s because I do see brandability growth.

    One of our projects is NewYorkEvents.co and its growing and coming along quite well I must say. We did put some manpower into it and are showing steady growth.

    Time will tell as it always does. One good thing to help us all sleep at night is .com is still king and will certainly continue to increase in value as lesser quality tld’s, Gtld’s are introduced and evaporate.


  7. I renewed about 85% – LLL, NNN, one-word nouns/products. I can’t justify letting decent single-keyword names drop when a single sale can cover the cost. With the exception of 2-3 names sold on forums, my .CO sales have come from Sedo, without any additional marketing on my part.

    More .CO sites are popping up on the radar – they’re still rare, but they’re out there. I hadn’t heard about Realtime. I’ve mentioned Brit.co here before, and I recently ran across a big Coworking lab in N. Virginia that’s using Canvas.co.

    It’s by no means the “go-to” extension for an established, well-funded business, but .CO seems better suited for success down the road than, say, .cashbackbonus.

  8. Like a moth to a lightbulb… another .co article and I find myself having to post something 🙂

    “Have you been keeping your .CO domain names?”

    Never had one to begin with.


    “One thing to consider is that if it wasn’t making money, Juan probably wouldn’t have applied for other gTLDs.”

    I don’t think anyone ever said that he wasn’t making money. He is making a lot of money off the marketing hype he created.

    Good for him. Bad for suckers.

  9. Numbers don’t lie, but statistics do.

    This is mainly just PR using very select stats.

    It is not a big surprise that grandfathered names & landrush have high renewal rates. They are generally higher quality.

    The big test is when the open registrations start to drop.

    I think the .CO team has done a great job marketing a very mediocre product, but think they have squeezed about all the life they can out of this.

    The big test for .CO is in the real world, where .CO has virtually no usage or awareness.


  10. This just shows how hard its going to be for the new extensions to get noticed.

    New startups may use .co but the fortune 500 or companies that have been around for 10 or so years don’t need to change, they already have .com why change the brand? It would be like changing your company brand to .co for no reason.

  11. For fans of .CO you should watch Telemundo on weeknights – interesting telenovela about Pablo Escobar. As the Colombia.travel website states, “the only risk is wanting to stay…”

  12. 66% is a fairly high renewal rate and it must mean that businesses have become more strategic in buying domain names. It may also mean that those who renew domain names know how to incorporate SEO and their domain names.

  13. Renewed 3 landrush .CO’s. Two generics and one 3 letter produkt, no intentions of buying more. Btw 97% of my names are .com.

  14. High rates in Sunrise and Landruh equal defensive registration.

    81% of customers only own 1-2 .CO names is the same that companies defensive registration.

    Sounds like a .xxx for me.

  15. Looks like a very selective use of statistics in the press release.

    A 70% renewal rate after 4 years means less than 25% of the originally registered domains are still active. .CO will need to attract many new registrations to make up for the ones that are not renewing.

    .CO doesn’t tell us how many domains are represented by each renewal rate quoted.

    The key number is the 68% renewal rate for 2011. As .CO only opened for general registrations in late July 2010, that means that only five months of post launch registrations are represented in that renewal rate.

    .CO is citing renewal rates in the 90%+ range for registrations before General Availability and 77% for registrations the day of GA. If we assume that all these registrations combined are equal to the registrations made during the rest of 2010, then that means the registrations made after the first day of GA are renewing at less than a 59% rate, and perhaps under a 50% rate, which isn’t so great.

    Until .CO puts actual numbers next to these renewal rates we won’t have a clear picture of the health of the extension.

  16. I have a small handful… I was wondering how the Renewal stats were looking. . .

    Thanks for the Info…

    I was surprise the other day to
    have found these available in the .CO

    Anyone know which 3 people own the
    most .co domains ??

    ~Patricia – DomainBELL

  17. It’s finally nice to see that some people are seeing that “stats” are lies. We all know this deep down. “Numbers”, on the other hand, do not lie. Anyone can throw a stat out there for a press release. When there is a verifiable domain reg counter, than I’ll get excited. Otherwise it is just hype and conceal.

    .co is a good extension, but without numbers, who can be sure? Until “numbers” come out, I will not “invest” in .co. Until that time it is for developers and brands. That’s it.

    Just to clarify, I’ve sold 15 .co for nice profit but it was a lot of work. I have recently dropped 20 excellent names because of the lack of numbers from the registry and nothing more. If the numbers were truly that good with .co, why not divulge the number of registrations and have it officially verified?

  18. .Co is clever but not full proof. Dot .me is right along with it. Dot. tv on the other hand has it’s own market with high future growth potential. Dot .net is for Schilling and dot .org is pure and undefiled. Dot .com is the internet and dot .whatever is a game for Donuts.

  19. Joe makes a good point. The concept IS the most important of all. A la bit.LY and Instagr.AM. Realtime seems to be headed in the same direction.

  20. “These days, most sales take considerable effort.”

    But clearly .com, if it is good, takes much more effort. More liquidity.

  21. Not to say that effort isn’t important but if I have to hound someone for 4 months to make a sale, well, the time factor has to be considered.

  22. Guys can you remind me how many top .co domains were sold at sedo.co. As I remember professional sedo brokers care about them.I think a lot of time passed so I think it is good to take a look how they are doing.

  23. The Landrush traditionally happens when a TLD becomes generally available so that anyone can register domains. This is the General Availability (GA) phase rather than the Sunrise phase (when most trademark/IP brand protection registrations occur). Such clever use of terminology distracts what is happening.

    The bulk of new registrations tend to occur with in the first few months with a lot of speculative registrations occurring in the first month followed by mom and pop business brand protection registrations as small businesses (without trademarks) consider it worth protecting their business name in the TLD. However most speculative registrations are not developed and, as in the case of .co ccTLD, most small business registrations are pointed to the business owner’s main website in another TLD rather than being developed as a distinct .co website.

    Brand protection registrations of the type that occur during the Sunrise phase tend to be quite sticky and are auto-renewed. However they are rarely developed as stand-alone .co specific websites. The renewal percentage sounds impressive but they form a special case of registration that will persist in a TLD even if it begins to decline because they are typically handled by Intellectual Property protection registrars.

    The key metric for the health of a TLD is usage. Businesses and people have to register domains in that TLD and develop websites. The more development there is in a TLD, the more use a TLD will get. It is a virtuous circle. However many of the non-core TLDs (the core TLDs for any country being .com and its local ccTLD), have low rates of development. For some TLDs, Godaddy’s PPC landing page for undeveloped domains is probably the busiest site. What may be a success for the registry (selling registrations), is not necessarily a success for the end user who will probably continue to use their .com or .ccTLD domains.

    A secondary market can only successfully exist in the presence of a primary market that is driven by development. If there is not a critical mass of development in a TLD, then all you have is a bunch of domainers flipping domains to other domainers with some high profile big ticket sales, many of which were either gone well before Landrush or reserved by the registry, being used, in the absence of large numbers of developed sites, to give the impression of a vibrant webscape.

    COInternet did an impressive job in marketing .co ccTLD but it really needs to push development by small businesses in the ccTLD. The real effects of the Second Landrush anniversary will only become apparent over September – November 2012 and all this talk of high renewal rates for what is largely the Sunrise phase is somewhat premature.

  24. Hi Elliot,

    Who paid the bill to make your post a sponsored headline on the domaining.com?

    You or the .CoRegistry?

    The reason I am asking this is to know if .CoRegistry or any other advertiser can unilaterally decide to make a post sponsored to benefit them (without your approval)?

    Just wondering!

  25. CloudComputing.co

    Are for sale!

  26. .Co was always marketed as an ALTERNATIVE to .Com.
    I’ve privately sold many .Co, however in the process I have dropped over 40% of my portfolio.
    I can see the market for it though. Most Domainers are unrealistic and greedy with their .com names.
    I emailed an offer to an owner of a cloud .com name last week.
    Offered the market price. He counter offered with 10 x that amount.
    My reply was concise and short.
    “Sorry. I don’t work with greedy amateurs.”
    He could have made a good sale but lacked the experience to do so.
    This is the market that .co is targeting.
    The people that want to develop a site but don’t have the exuberant and unrealistic amounts requested by greedy newbie domainers.
    It’s fine for the pioneers such as Schwartz to make the comments they do, but they’re a little out of touch with the common end user.
    The end user that generally spends only up to 1000 bucks on a name.
    Also my staff develop my Domain names and sell them with the site, which pays 10 x more than the name alone and if that cloud .com name was developed with a client list i would have paid closer to that noobs demands.
    Anyways I’m straying from the topic at hand… bottom line is that world economy has gone belly up. The boom is over. Now a new market has emerged that requires affordable names for their brand.
    You can make money in it, you just have to be smarter and more realistic.
    That’s where i see future potential for .co and well priced brand extensions.
    On another note, i managed to score some brilliant Ouya domain names. Did anyone snatch any up?


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