I’ve seen people compare the soon to be released Colombian .CO domain names to the Cameroonian .CM domain extension, with the main comparison being the assumption that the purpose is for typosquatting. I can understand why people would say that for .CM, but I believe there is a big reason .CO is very different, and it primarily revolves around the marketing of the extension.
Just like .TV isn’t billed as the Tuvalu extension nor is .ME is billed as the Montenegro extension, .CO won’t really be billed by registrars as the Colombia extension to most companies and domain buyers. You can see in many of the marketing materials that .CO is being billed as the extension for Companies, where Company is most frequently abbreviated as Co. A company known as “The Sports Car Company” would likely be interested in owning SportsCar.co, not to capitalize on .com traffic, but because that’s an extension of their brand.
I am sure there will be plenty of people who acquire .CO domain names primarily for the typo traffic that may occur as a result of the visitor forgetting the “m” in .com. However, there is a real business reason to use .CO in addition to this usage.
When I was at TRAFFIC in Amsterdam last June, I was strongly considering a bid on Vegas.cm. I had no idea what the traffic would be like, but I assumed it would be considerable. I thought that it would be a great generic domain to monetize, and I could even build it out. In reality, I don’t think building Vegas.cm would have been a smart move for my company because it doesn’t make much sense. Really, what could .cm actually mean?
On the flip side, I could easily see building out on Vegas.co, especially if I had significant interest in Las Vegas tourism. I would probably start a tourism LLC called “Vegas Tourism Company” or something of that sort, and Vegas.co would make sense. It would be more memorable and logical than the .cm could be.
I know that many domain investors will pooh pooh what I am saying, but it will all boil down to marketing. I don’t particularly like .ME or .TV domain names, but they can and do sell for decent money because companies are buying and using them. From an investment standpoint, if I can buy a domain name at a reasonable price and can then sell it for much more, I would obviously do it – whatever the extension. I happen to think businesses will adopt .CO.