If You Bought .CO Domain Names Because of Overstock…

Last night, Adage reported that Overstock “is stepping back from the O.co name “for now,” though not abandoning it outright.” Earlier today, .CO Registry founder and CEO Juan Calle posted an interview with someone from Overstock and labelled the change of course “a blip on the radar.”

I think this has been discussed quite a bit already today, but because I received a few emails asking for my opinion, I am going to opine. Keep in mind that I am and always have been a .com buyer/seller, so take my opinion with the same grain of salt you’d take from any comment from the peanut gallery.

With all due respect, if you bought .CO domain names simply because one large internet retailer made the decision to rebrand with a .CO domain name, you didn’t make such a wise decision. Yes, I do think that there will be greater and faster consumer adoption of .CO (and any gTLD) with more and larger companies using and marketing the extensions as their own. However, the world is far larger than any one company and/or marketing campaign.

I believe there are still plenty of reasons to own and invest in .CO (or other ccTLD and gTLD) domain names, and I’ve said all along that my time horizon is likely 5 years +/- for .CO. Just like the Meet.ME sale, all it really takes is one company deciding to utilize an extension to make someone sell a domain investment profitably. That said, the  likelihood  of owning a particular domain name that a company will pay top dollar for is minimal – in any extension

I still think good .CO domain names purchased for good prices will turn out to be profitable investments, but buying one simply because one company made a big marketing campaign and name change announcement is short sighted.

The introduction and marketing of new gTLDs will be rife with ups and downs. A domain investor needs to analyze domain names, both left and right of the dot, and determine why a particular domain name would have value, how much value it would have, and who might want to buy it. Don’t invest in domain names because of what one company is doing. Buy them because you have a vision for what many companies and consumers may think in the future.

Just because a company like Bitly is using a .LY doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a bunch of Libya ccTLDs. You should invest in domain names because you have conviction that they are going to be more valuable than what you are paying.

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. Overstock saying they’re “stepping back from the O.co name for now” is the equivalent of a girl telling a guy, “I really like you, but let’s take a break from seeing each other.” And we all know how that scenario works out.

    I don’t invest outside of dotCOM, but if I did I would have bought some dotCO. The TLD has value and their management is superb. Regardless, your comparison with Libya’s ccTLD is spot on.

  2. Great analysis Elliot. I think that if the tendency to develop domains instead of parking them grows, the inherent value of a nice sounding .co will grow in appreciation over the coming years. Just by looking at the growing aftermarket of websites on a place like flippa.com, domain investors would do well to buy domains based on whether they´d like to develop a site on them, however simple it may be. That way we fill the internet with sites that at least provide information or a service, instead of parked domains like most of the ones belonging to the “domain king” . On that note, a dotCO is a great way to target good keywords waiting to be developed.

  3. The .CO registry used O.co in much of their marketing and promotion. Now that the news is not positive, it is all of a sudden a “blip on the radar”. I think it is more than that.

    The article illustrates the consumer confusion between .CO and .COM. At least other extensions like .TV, .ME, etc have their own identity without being similar to .COM


  4. @ Brad

    I thing .CO and .ME are on the leading edge of the new TLDs and this type of thing is to be expected. We’ll know how they fare in a few years, and if things go well, some people will make a lot of money.

  5. Actually .Co registry seems like it did a great example of a retargeting campaign.
    It seems like they bought up ad space on all domain related sites. Added a tracking pixel if you clicked the banner. The ads then followed you around the web thinking it was being advertised generally to everyone.
    It wasn’t mainly domain investors saw the ads.
    (This technique is common for advertisers)

  6. New gTLDs coming along in 2012 may cast a shadow on any non .coms for a time, so .co might just get buried. Time alone will tell.
    I see great potential for city codes .nyc .london etc.

    Which brings me to ask – does this not bode well for .la domains?

  7. You got it all wrong….it is the guy telling the girll, go take a hike because I am dot com and I am the KING.

    I get what I want because I am more valuable than you are and furthermore I get more HITS.

    David J Castello

    Overstock saying they’re “stepping back from the O.co name for now” is the equivalent of a girl telling a guy, “I really like you, but let’s take a break from seeing each other.” And we all know how that scenario works out.

  8. Overstock is not stepping back totally from o.co,
    They say it will be their brand but it will take some time to replace overstock.com.

  9. @web hosting
    In the PR world this type of verbiage is known as damage control. Their only other choice was to say, “Sorry, but we were idiots to brand ourselves as O.co without also owning O.com.”

    The bottom line is that if they really believed it would simply “take time” for O.co to dominate they would NEVER pull back on it. Never. Not for a second. Marketing 101.

    • @ John

      For starters, Google treats .CO the same way it treats .com, rather than the way it treats ccTLDs. This means that Angel.CO ranks in Google when someone search for angel investors. If Google had treated .CO like a ccTLD (which it factually is), you’d likely only be able to find the site if you searched Google using the Colombian version. From what I’ve seen, a number of startups have been using .CO domain names for projects, likely because the .com wasn’t available.

      Secondly, “co” is a commonly used abbreviation for company, so marketing-wise, it’s familiar to consumers and can be incorporated into a marketing strategy.

      Of course the downside is that right now in its early life there can be confusion between .CO and .com (one reason I capitalize .CO).

  10. I wish someone would explain to me why consumers are not yet ready for o.co, but .xxx is already a “resounding success.” Let’s consider a straighforward comparison. Overstock.com spent $350,000 on o.co; Corbin Fisher spent $500,000 on gay.xxx. Clearly, both were expected to be big domains. In order to promote their domains, o.com put their name on an NFL stadium while .xxx put their name on a little boat. O.com spent $13.8 million on advertising in the last quarter alone ($15.3 million in the previous quarter) while .xxx has budgeted $5 million in advertising over the next year. Concerning o.co, the sponsorship community was clearly 100% behind the domain (overstock.com wanted to shift to o.co), but concerning .xxx, there is still an enormous segment of the purported sponsorship community that not onlu opposes the TLD, but who will actively contribute to its demise (if you still doubt this, simply read the comments on gfy.com–the adult webmaster’s primary message board).

  11. @web hosting @David J Castello I agree with david as i am working with many billion dollar clients for my logistics business & this just a coverup for the goof up that they did thinking that they can replace .com

    No doubt O.co looks better when writing & seeing it on ad but ultimately consumer is king & when visitors / clients choose .com then their decision is final. It is better to understand a mistake sooner than later

    I myself had bought several of such extensions thinking i had dig gold but it was futile.

    However if you have some project specific & your pocket doesn’t allow .com than any other extension which is suitable will do.

    Further the cctld market is good only for certain extensions but it is not that you would get a bumper jackpot with any of these cctlds. Only .com has that lure, at least for next couple of years.

    My 2 cents


  12. It boggles my mind to understand why the Overstock Marketing team would even consider this in the first place. What makes them think they have the marketshare to believe they are the “O” business when people think of “O”. I imagine there would be an uprise of consumer to cause a PR nightmare so easily if they ever had a slip up down the road. Why would they do this???

  13. @Elliot

    “That said, the likelihood of owning a particular domain name that a company will pay top dollar for is minimal – in any extension”

    Does that include dotPRO gTLD domain names registered using the following generic keywords? And if so, why?


  14. I’m not trying to be a pickle about this–I truly want to understand the difference between ICM Registry’s .xxx and .co. In your October 29th post, the headline proclaims: “.xxx Could Change Browsing Habits.” On the other hand, this post and its comments demonstrate that months of work, millions of dollars in marketing and a football stadium cannot change browsing habits. What do you see as the difference? What is ICM doing that Overstock failed to do?

    • @ Ann

      I believe adult content is probably one of the most searched topics on the Internet. From my POV, if many companies use .XXX, that will change more browsing habits than just one large online company using the extension. In the nearer term, I see more adult sites using .XXX than mainstream sites using .CO.

  15. Nope, I write what I believe. For the record, .CO Registry was and is still a current advertiser on my blog (468×60 rotating banner above the post). I am very open about my advertisers and investments and I don’t accept payment for articles or paid reviews.

    All that said, people should obviously take my advertiser and business relationships into account when reading my blog and others.

  16. WHATEVER!!! Their loss! How about everyone else using .co both small and large companies and the many .co domains selling past, past and regularly future!!.co is the next .com over this next decade! Everyone will want to type one less letter and get a great find when they do!

  17. It’s hard to believe that an exclusive few think the future of the internet would rest on a single move by Overstock… really? The experts in the business of domain investment and monetization have realized the .CO URL is a SEO, geo- targeting and voice command search phenomenon. Many won’t realize the true value of the .CO until the data is made public. By that time, the quality voice control .CO domain names will be gone. If you blink, I assure you the true domain investor will be buying!

  18. @craig

    Craig, you are obviously not aware of the multi-national companies that are banding together to fight the release of the new Dot Brand release. I believe over 80 companies have signed up and more join every day.
    If these are released, it will be an absolute mess. In no way is the release of the Dot Brand in any way beneficial for the Internet. I laughed when I went to their site.

    You think .CO is confusing people? If these are released, ICAAN have succeeded in achieving their goal. To make the Internet a bloody playground for the benefit of their own back pockets.

  19. I think if you have a premium domain name that is very relevant to your business model motto but is taken it dot com but available in .CO it may very well be worth it.

    What do you think?

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