Do You Care if a TLD is a ccTLD if Google Doesn’t?

Patti wrote a comment on my blog this morning regarding .CO domain names that I want to share with you and get some additional feedback from others:

If I had known that .co was a Colombian registration I don’t think I would have hand-regged so many.

Yes, .CO is the ccTLD for the country of Colombia. It is similar in nature to .TV, which is the ccTLD for the country of Tuvalu and .ME, which is the ccTLD for the country of Montenegro.

While all three of the TLDs cited above are in fact ccTLDs, Google treats them as if they are gTLDs like .com, .net, .org…etc. This means that with all things being equal, Google might rank a .TV or .ME website over a .com website for searchers around the world, and not just where the ccTLD is located. Google doesn’t treat all ccTLDs as generic TLDs, so I don’t believe Italy’s .IT ccTLD, for example, would have the same search benefits at this time. You can read about this in Google Webmaster Tools Β and you can see the list of TLDs Google treats as generic.

There certainly could be political risks with ccTLD domain names that wouldn’t likely exist with other TLDs. A country’s political stability (or lack thereof) could have an impact on the operations of the TLD. Additionally, depending on the operating registry’s deal with the government, the government likely gets some of the revenue from domain registrations. From the looks of it, most of the ccTLDs that Google treats as gTLDs are in politically stable countries (.LY and .SY aren’t as an example).

With all of this being said, I am curious if you care if a TLD is actually a ccTLD if Google doesn’t treat it like it’s a ccTLD. With this in mind, another question is will you pay attention to the operators of new gTLDs since they will be run by private entities all over the world.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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. The head cheese discusses this .

    .tv and .me has the advantage of being more accessible to Joe Public than something like .co
    If someone was unaware that .co , .tv etc are not ccTLD originally then one wonders why they are regging domains in the 1st place. As they say , first read , read ,read before buy , buy , buy .

    Then again , its a lesson we all probably fell foul of.

  2. Interesting discussion here Elliot.

    We can have various discussions on things. .TV made me some money and kinda shifted away from dot TV into .com. .TV is like a Cadillac, .com is the Benz.

    I still like .TV extension. Things are probably going impact .TV as more .clusterfuck rolls out. Good the contract got renewed. .TV will always be a part of my portfolio. The carrying costs in .TV are high and one night .TV renewals can be 50 bucks as well. Or big increases.

    What I am wondering on what Elliots post- how exactly is this going impact the Branding type people, the content side of things, the seo side of things and how development is the way to go. Competition amongst 500 new .clusterfuck rolling out and google going give new extensions free , cross promote for google apps and small business. If small business hasn’t gotten a .us, or .info extension yet is 500 new extensions really going change things up?

    .TV carries risk, same goes with .me and .co. I turned bearish on country codes some with .co.UK, soon .UK. Germany, .CA, .it, .gr probably ok since they won’t follow the footsteps of .UK headaches. The political side, government issues in higher risk extensions vs .com.

    Buy a nice .com domain name with type in traffic. Gives you a lot of options. IMO.

    Elliot- do you think all 3 extensions are created equal now that google treats all 3 the same? .TV been around for years, .co for startups (that’s pushing it) and .me is a great Branding type play.

    Going be watching this carefully. A year from now. 3 years. Etc. I don’t have any .co or .me investments. Just .com, .TV.

  3. Definitely. @Elliot’sBlog You find out a sensitive results from Google, which is influencing someone’s decisions in what they are expecting. The reuslt seems risky for some domainers who are investing the domains with new extensions like dot co. But it’s still confusing for the entire of aftermarket to make sure a clear situation.

  4. @Elliot,

    I don’t care about what you said that Webmaster Tools said that Google said.

    What I want to know is your experience with

    It would be interesting read. In that very key domain, ran by you, for almost 3 years now, we can use the numbers if you care to publish them: traffic, revenue, etc. πŸ™‚

  5. What is the difference between Colombia and Donuts? They do the same thing. What if Donuts were located in Colombia? Would you not buy their domains because of that? Whatif Verisign moved to Colombia (unlikely) would you stop registering .com? One could argue ccTLDs have benefits in that they don’t have to follow the samw rules as gtlds.

  6. I’ve invested in a few ccTLDs but I haven’t had great success with them. I’m holding a few now for development. The bottom line is Joe Citizen buys DesiredName.Com, not WhatTheFreshHellIs.This. Explaining Google’s obscure, esoteric, and changing policies sounds the BS alarm for many buyers. Unless I can get a premium name at a great price on a ccTLD, I now restrict my investments to ‘the big three’.

  7. To be honest, gTLDs could still be considered american ccTLDs since all of them are in the hands of the US. Take .COM: ICANN is american, Verisign is american and most .com registrants are american. OK, the US government and economy are far more solid than many other countries but it’s still worthwhile to reflect on the fact that the gTLD par excellence is still tied to the stability of a single country.

  8. I think in many cases (no not all cases) countries will be more stable than some of these companies that operate these various registries. Also note even if a country like Colombia has stability problems that also does not guarantee there will be any problems for the tld. BTW I don’t own a single .co, but I like the discussion.

  9. Who Cares as long as it sells. I kick myself in the ass daily for not buying up as many one word brandable .CO names as I could get my hands on. Names that can be sold for 5 to 10k a pop to the right end user where the .COM counterpart is asking 100-250k. Its a no brainer for startups. I like .TV also but .ME not as much. Some of the new gTLDs will have some good branding potential but its going to take a lot of homework to figure which ones.

  10. You guys for real?

    Who da heck would ever want to use a .TV, a .CO, a .ME or a gtld knowing that they will hemorrhage hits to the .COM guy?

    Sounds like someone wasn’t paying attention to the failed O.Co experiment in which it was determined that 61% of the intended visitors ended up elsewhere.

    I think it’s a no brainer to stick with what will clearly continue to remain the gold standard, .COM

    • My opinion is that nobody knows for certain how consumer behavior will change with the new TLDs. I don’t believe that it will change all that much, but I would be lying if I said I knew for sure.

    • If you put 5,000 blindfolded people into a banquet hall and have them remove their blindfold and then told everyone they have to leave right now what do you think will happen? They will follow the pack and not think for themselves.

      This is exactly what happened in the 90s with dot coms. A small group of people hyped the dot com extension, came up with some good high priced fake sales and some real ones and it exploded from the thousands into the millions in registrations.

      This same thing happens in the classic car business. Collect a bunch of Hemi Muscle Cars and then send one Hemi Cuda to a big TV auction such as Barrett Jackson and have your buddy overpay by 50%. Guess what happens? You just set the market for the entire Hemi inventory and your collection just doubled in price. Its no different with domains and countless other things.
      Whichever extensions are hyped by the blogs, forums, etc….are the ones that are going to explode. If I buy a bunch of domains in an extension that no one else is buying in than that extension no matter how good I think it is, is not going to be worth anything. Less availability the higher the demand the higher the price. Simple Logic.

  11. LOL .PW is a POS to be blunt but I guess for all those guys that are Pussy Whipped by their wives its a great extension. Just add your first name and your ready to go.

  12. Hi, me again.

    Elliot’s domain is a great example. Never, will you see him advertise and promote Bahamas.Co — he can’t…and here’s why. He knows all too well that if he were to take out a radio, print or billboard ad, a large percentage of his intended visitors will erroneously go to the .COM site. Obviously, he doesn’t want to waste the money so that will never happen.

    Now, if you accept that scenario as true, I think it is safe to agree that it will replicate itself with every single .CO owner out there. All of them are trapped by the leakage that is destined to result.

    Same with .TV, .ME, .StupidGTLD and any other non-.COM.

    Bottom line — they will all work, but only .COM will work well.

    • You’re reasoning is wrong. I don’t promote,, or several of my other websites.

      I also feel like if I wrote a blog post about it, people would criticize me for being a shill for the registry.

      One beauty of running a private company in the US is that I can share what I want and keep everything else private.

    • “One beauty of running a private company in the US is that I can share what I want and keep everything else private”. – Elliot


      I hope you would agree with me that inaction is often times action. If you don’t share something, in a way, you are sharing. If you don’t say something in the heat of relevant debate, in a way, you are saying something. The art of analysis is a gift by God himself to human beings. Given the number of times, and the extent you go to ‘share’ .CO tidings, it behooves one to ponder why you don’t go for the low-hanging fruit, and that is your own experience with a topnotch keyword, platinum geo such as

      Of course you are right, you are a private blog, and don’t have to divulge anything you don’t feel like. However, we, your readers also have a right, nay, a responsibility to factor that in, and even criticize you when it is warranted. You are otherwise a loquacious blogger, that is suddenly turned left-paw laconic on an important debate.

      We just don’t come to these blogs to shoot breeze. A lot of lives depend on these domain investments. A lot of lives have been changed for the better in doing these investments, but an equal amount of lives, if not more, have been ruined following people they hold out as experts in the domain field. We must be careful, tactful, factual, serious, fair, and above all steadfast in holding these Registries, Registrars, WIPO, ICANN, and other entities, responsible on how they impact our lives. There should be no idol worshiping by any of us. We should be like scientist; concerned with only that which is true or false. Our vigilance should be particularly heightened now, in light of these new gTLD people trying to contaminate REAL domains with their wares.

      May we all prosper.

    • Absolutely… You are always welcome to question things and I can share what I wish. We don’t always have to agree.

      You also should keep in mind that I sometimes don’t read all comments. Yesterday I was at a Red Sox game and didn’t read your comment until now. Sometimes I don’t catch all comments, so not replying may not be indicative of my desire to not answer.

      In the case of revealing earnings, I don’t share unless the information is publicly attainable like in the case of where someone could see the # of listings x the annual cost. I believe I share more about my business than most bloggers and more than anyone else who comments on my blog.

  13. Elliot—you left out the part of my post about the fact that I bought the .co’s on a tip from an Indian domainer who raved about them being almost synonymous with .coms….

    As for the political stability of Colombia….when I visited years ago I bought emeralds, not cocaine…..John Kerry was there recently apparently to talk to the guerillas.

    As a rule I never buy cc domains. If I knew .co was a country code domain I would not have registered them.

  14. If I search for chevy car parts and carpartsDOTcom is a ford parts supplier I will keep looking for my chevy parts in what ever extension pops up. Not every .com is going to steal business from you. Example I own a canadian geo in the .ca. The same name in the .com points to a computer software company. If the people are searching information on the town I am not going to loose anything to the .com, they will continue their search till they find the information. Bleeding to a .com only matters if the it is in the same business.

  15. All discussions are here only from the personal vision of everyone respectively, but also cannot state a comprehensive and significant conclusion.

    Actually the process to form a market efinitely results from a joint forces. The market is resulting from every roles, inlcuding buyers, sellers, operators and so on. Google is powerful but cannot fully lead a market trend. As the same, whatever Verisign or ICANN of such official agents, they cannot make the market forced to a direction to which they expect.

    Hence it wouldn’t be verifying any viewpoints by stating some one-sided views.

  16. All those who bought dot co are supporting the juntas, big violator of human rights.

    If that the case, you are charge with accessory to war crime and I hope the FBI will get you and the NSA will keep an eye on you.

  17. Google know well that .IT is often used for beautiful domain hacks, so they treats all serious websites based on powerful domain hacks containing .IT like gTLDs. You simply have to make the request through the area Google reserves to webmasters, in case it has not recognize the domain hack + serious websites by itself, as usually happens.

  18. Elliot: all depends on the purpose, if you can afford to spend five/six figures on the .com for your project, do so. Else a ccTLD which is easier to globally target on Google will do just as fine.

    patti: Which Indian domainer are you referring to?

    I’m extremely happy .ws is on that Google list, now if only I can find someone who values them even at 10% of the corresponding .com – I’d be rich. πŸ˜‰

    • @Samit Your comments are rational. I have the same point with yours. But I would have to state another viewpoint about ccTLDs’ market.

      “All depends on the purpose…” That’s definitely correct in the domain application. Additionally, in the terms of the domain investment, the sellers have to segment the entire of the domain market to different target markets. I know the most active market of the gloabl is America about .co domains. So that I will aim my .co domains at this market. As the same, different domains have different markets actively. That’s why we sometimes are confusing some domains, which looks like a piece of rubbish, can sell for a surprising price.


  19. “My opinion is that nobody knows for certain how consumer behavior will change with the new TLDs.”

    Elliot, I’m with you. For this reason, I keep an open mind. If a new gTLD starts to rise, I’ll change my investment strategy accordingly.

  20. Google has treated some CC Tlds the same with .com or the .net, and I have my experiences that generic domains really help in CEO to target special keywords easier. If we are talking about a small business owner that want to make a marketing website with a good SEO, buying .co or .me generic domains is more suitable. But very a lot big of companies prefer to choose .com , even they are brandable domains for the better image and they are ready for pay for adwords or other marketing strategy. For a small business owner like, who care about .co or .ws , as Google still treats as GTlds…


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