Should Poker Companies Shift .NET to .CO?

If you watched the World Series of Poker (or any professional poker tournament on television for that matter), you’ve probably seen all the big poker companies imploring wannabe poker players to visit their .NET websites instead of the flagship .COM sites.

I believe it’s due to US law regarding poker and gaming websites, where American citizens aren’t allowed to play poker online with real money. As a result, they aren’t allowed to market/advertise this “illegal” activity (this is all my thought and not necessarily fact). As a result, the poker companies promote the a .NET version of its brand which offers practice poker for fake money as well as tips and educational material.

The hope is that the players will realize the real action is found at the corresponding .COM and they’ll visit that website in the future. I would imagine they probably also don’t mind that some people only really pay attention to what comes before the extension, like Poker Stars or Full Tilt Poker, and they will directly navigate to the .COM instead.

Now that the .CO Registry has successfully launched and sold over 600,000 domain names, I am wondering if it would be a good idea for these poker parlors to ditch the .NET and switch to .CO. The advantage is that people are familiar with “CO” as an abbreviation for company, and because of it’s close proximity to .COM, it would align better with the .COM.

Of course, it could cause some type-in confusion, but that’s probably not a bad thing for the poker companies.

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. “As a result, they aren’t allowed to market/advertise this “illegal” activity (this is all my thought and not necessarily fact).”

    No, you are right on.

    Perhaps you’d like this article:
    tinyurl (dot) com/PokerNet

    “Years ago, gambling companies created separate, free-play tutorial websites ending in “.net” — thinking they would be protected from federal government prosecution.”

  2. Well, If they want Federal Snooping Attention and more regulation with the little … go to .Net in hopes you will end up on .Com …

    Right now its a blind eye situation, bring attention to
    it and try and directly manipulate, the FEDS could …
    change it all into …
    a new set of rules and guidelines for the worse.

    Just saying

  3. The .co extention is a scam that plays on the confusion between .com and .co. This just puts the whole extention in the proper light. It is designed to confuse and mislead.

    Any and all experienced domainers who traffic in .co are really treading the line that borders on criminal. You are not doing the domain business any favors and you are destroying newbies daily when you legitimize this extention that was only brought out for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to take advantage of people and make money for the registry.

    It is an embarrassment and I hope domain values plummet until someone steps and starts policing the rampant unethical conduct.

    The people involved with .co are very shady, and they are not fooling anybody with their phoney sales and they certainly aren’t fooling honest domainers when they essentially pay bloggers to advertise their extention by giving them deals on landrush names, affiliate accounts, and the like.

    What a joke. Give it up or risk the consequences. There will come a day when court appearances are necessary.

    • “The .co extention is a scam”
      “rampant unethical conduct.”
      “The people involved with .co are very shady”

      @ Larry

      That sounds pretty libelous to me, unless you have information you care to disclose. Obviously, .CO is ICANN approved and is clearly not a scam.

      BTW, my developer can tell you how much I paid him to build, which is in fact a big investment risk considering my return could be far less than the outlay, especially if “domain values plummet.” I may not have had to pay thousands of dollars for the name, but I did have to apply for it like anyone else could have applied, and I had to ensure development within a set amount of time.

  4. The trick?
    First you advertise free poker playing to learn the game on

    Newbies sign up and need to provide a email adress to log in.

    2 weeks later you start to send out promotions of the real money gambling site of xyzpoker.COM via the provided email adress for signing up on the free poker site.

    It’s been going on for several years in other country’s with strict gambling regulations.

  5. Larry,

    Wow, man, thats some pretty extreme stuff you got goin on there and as Eliot pointed out, bordering on libel. Real domain people don`t rant like that. At the end of the day it only comes across as jealousy and simply is not very professional.

  6. I saw what happened with dotmobi. There is a lot of dishonety involved as well as criminal activity.

    You may choose to turn a blind eye because you see opportunities to make money, but this post by Elliot unintentionally shows what the extention is all about.

    The origins of the .co extention come from one thing only. People are looking to profit based on confusion, and they are also looking to take advantage of new domainers.

    If you don’t want to publicly acnknowledge this obvious fact, then that is your choice. The extention does not serve a legitimate purpose, and was only chosen because of the confusion to to dotcom, which will always be king.

    Part of domain scamming is living on the edge of ethical activity and also being involved in fraud. People sell names to themselves and put the sales out to DN Journal and pump the phoney sales at the forums, then they try to sell simlar names.

    I am right. I have seen it, and I have busted some people who have done it. The forums protect these people who commit these scams because the scammers run around telling people that you cannot prove that some worthless dotmobi or .co did not change hands for well into six figures. It is pathetic.

    Wake up.

  7. Larry you are bit jealous of people having premium .co’s bcos the time of catch has already been slipped. It’s better you watch rather than ur heart speech. Thnx

  8. No offense at all to .CO ………

    But .NET has a better ring to it and it is more relevant…..

    …… We’re on the InterNET … not the InterCOM !!! (wink)

    Also…. it’s good one the broadest and deepest companies in the domain sector uses a .NET for their parent co website & brand ….. Oversee.NET

    Although .Com is king (not to be confused with Don or Rick) by a wide margin interms of prevalance, prominence and value… .NET has had more momentum in terms of price appreciation in the secondarry market as corroborated by DNJournal & SEDO, who have done credible analysis and reports of this in recent history……and also .NET has been getting accepted and repected in commerce globally on an incremental basis.

    You also see more & more .NETs being entered & sold via the major domain auction & sales venues; ie Moniker/SnapNames, SEDO, Latona, BuyDomains/Afternic…etc….. Talk about NET profits !!!

    It’s like that !

    Viva .NET !!!

  9. The .net extention absolutely does NOT have postive momentum. It has been fading for quite a while.

    You may see an occasional .net listing at Sedo or Dn Journal, and even though they may be legit and not as suspicious as the new extention names, it is quite obvious that .net has slipped greatly.

    A .net is a real problem if you want to do anything other than have a minor site. Yes, you may be able to name a handful of big companies that use the .net extention, but that number is so small percentage-wise that it is almost meaningless.

    There is no way to justify a .net for a major business. They all regret not having the dotcom, and they will always lose major traffic to the dotcom, so the bigger they get the better it becomes for the competitor, who is likely at the dotcom address.

    Dotnet’s are minor league names. Go to the forums and try to sell a dotnet and then let me know how it went. No traffic equals no sale.

  10. @ Larry R

    Au Contraire Mon Frair ! Your cup really looks more than half emty with such negativity.

    Although I add a little light-hearted banter…my key statements are largely not opinion or fact

    Look at SEDO’s 3rQ 2010 Domains sales/values report on their site….. they refeency some quarterly sales stats of both 2009 and 2010…… .NET’s have had more % price increases and/or price bouyancy — PERCENTAGE wise in prices not it terms of top sales Price rankings.

    Ron J’s reporting last year as well as SEDO’s 2009 report (with 2008 comparisons) clearly corroborate the .NET secondary market sales value escalation/appreciation

    Also as I stated… the amout of total .NET lots accepted & sold by major domain auction houses/venues has clearly gone UP Percentage-wise. over the past 3 years in a row… as well as for top resseller and aftermarket Co’s like NameMedia & Sedo selling more volume in the aftermarket
    Again do more thorough research on this with the above venues/sites/companies before you go off.

    Also, there are branablity & memorability factors to consider…not just parked traffic alone.

    Furthermore some top domain minds and portfolio managers such as Frank Schilling, Kevin Ham and NameMedia have bought/won a significant amount of .NETs over the past 9 years….they certainly did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday

    For the record, I own many more .Coms than .NETs

    The positive Facts about .COMs that I stated still stand.

  11. Yeah, Ron J was pumping .us names a year or two ago two. Starting talking about seeing an increase in sales. He owns a bunch of them of course. The .us extention is just terrible, and I remember his bullshit logic that businesses wouldn’t be able to afford good dotcoms so they would have to start using .us. Dumb stuff and self-serving, but not fooling anybody.

    Sedo is the same place that doesn’t expose shill bidding and non-paying bidders. It has an agenda, too. They also have insiders who make offers for the good names…..trying to pick them off from unsuspecting people who park there. That is a bit unethical, don’t you think? They have all of the data in front of them and people who are privvy to that data buy names all the time.

    Keep thinking that .net is on the upswing. If you really think that then let’s see you make some nice offers to the jokers on the forums trying to get rid of the names.

    Most everyone who punps something other than dotcom usually has a bunch of worthless names in the same lousy extention.

    Hope and wishful thinking is NOT a good strategy when it comes to domain names.

  12. Just so everyone knows, I own 6 .co names including,,,,, and .co has a very small banner on my blog, which makes up a small % of 1% of my revenue (much, much less than 1% of my business), so not really impactful if you think that’s an influencer.

  13. eh Elliot? 🙂

    Your innocent mistake highlights the major problem I have with .co. You, a domainer who undoubtedly types domains all day long when researching, doing upkeep on portfolio, discussing domains etc., mistyped a .co as a .com even when discussing the .co extension specifically. I’ve already heard more than one average person see a .co and assume it was a mistake, .com typo’d as .co. Both are indicators of a huge issue with the extension – however equivalent it wants to be seen with .com in the long run, it’s buried in the shadow of .com with no other purpose than to be an alternative to it. A lot of extensions have been hyped up and since died down significantly in that exact same scenario…the one most like .co that comes to mind is .cc. The whole .co is short for company is somewhat irrelevant as we look at .biz struggling despite being a reasonable short for business.

    .co may have as many registrations as it has, but it was extremely hyped as the second coming of .com and as we all know from .mobi days, once the hype dies down, the landscape of the extension can be amazingly different. I think when all is said and done, less than 1% of .co registrations will hold value above reg fees. You have a decent selection of names including one that is sentimental to you (your name), so I’d say you did well. Mike Mann who used tactics to secure a massive selection of incredible 1-word .co’s did really really well. Some others on the other hand who have dozens or even hundreds of .co names that are reg fee value names in extensions like .net and .org will find out the hard way that windows of opportunity surrounding the hype of an extension are exactly that – windows, and they close rather quickly.

    Regarding the article, I think .net is pretty set in its role in the gambling industry as you described…I don’t see them breaking that trend anytime soon when nearly every major gambling site already does the .com/.net pairing as you mentioned. That’s what they do, that’s what their visitors know and see patternwise in those sites and the advertising of them – I just don’t believe it will change.

  14. I figure people would have assumed (correctly) that I wrote instead of… It’s one of those things where I’ve written .com so many times, it happens out of habit sometimes.

  15. Hehe I know…just kidding around with you. By the way, good post…it’ll be interesting to see if .co inserts itself in some of these various extension habits that .net/.org/etc. have had in the past.

  16. @ Elliot — Can I be enabled to go back and correct my typos too please…..pretty please !

    @ Larry R — .NET fever —> Catch it ! (:

  17. Elliots,

    Just caught a glimpse of the .co you recently bought. Just to let you know that over here in the UK Beeb is a term used to refer to the BBC. It has been used for decades by the British Public and the BBC themselves. The BBC even own the domain which redirects to their other sites. It’s probably not trademarked (not sure) but over here it is a term that is only ever considered intellectual property of the BBC.

  18. “I am wondering if it would be a good idea for these poker parlors to ditch the .NET and switch to . CO. The advantage is that people are familiar with “CO” as an abbreviation for company, and because of it’s close proximity to . COM, it would align better with the . COM.”

    That was the original question.

    If anyone read that article in the link I provided in the first comment above I think the answer should be a resounding NO.

    These gambling companies are trying to skirt US Anti-Gambling laws by advertising free poker schools and such using an alternate extension (usually . NET) to their primary one (usually . COM).

    In that article, it states: “Years ago, gambling companies created separate, free-play tutorial websites ending in “.net” — thinking they would be protected from federal government prosecution. American broadcasters and Nevada gaming regulators have historically accepted this form of advertising because these Web portals don’t offer real-money gambling. ”

    The article further states that The Nevada Gaming Commission’s Control Board (which follows US Dept Of Justice regulations)
    “upon further investigation of such sites, has more recently concluded that there’s little difference between .com and .net sites because they are owned by some of the same corporate entities and individuals.

    Control Board member Randall Sayre takes a dim view of .net sites.

    “We are concerned that Nevada licensees are associating with companies that are … purposefully violating the law,” by continuing to accept wagers from Americans even as they advertise .net sites in this country, Sayre says.”

    It seems to me that you would not want to use an extension that so
    easily can be confused for .COM in any advertised site designed to circumvent anti-gambling laws.

    Your free play site shouldn’t be easily confused with your for pay site.

    You can bet Big Brother will take notice otherwise.

    By the way, 888 .com was advertising 888 .info on the news radio for their version of free poker school a few years back. That’s probably because they didn’t own the . NET.

    One of the top online gambling companies, Golden Palace , took a different tack and proudly circumvented anti-gambling advertising laws by buying all sorts of crazy things at auction often at high prices and then publicizing the wins using their .COM domain name.

    Crazy stuff like a jar with Britney Spears home pregnancy test, Virgin Mary French Toast, Pope Hat tortilla chip, etc.

    They even had a bus filled with these auction items which would travel the country and had a lot of free advertising via TV coverage.

    Golden Palace created a fun video that shows much of the crazy
    things they won and many of the celebrities and ordinary folk paid to promote the company’s website in various ways .

    Fun video here:
    snurl (dot) com/GoldenPalace

  19. @ tricolorro

    “recently concluded that there’s little difference between .com and .net sites”

    Those words cut and isolated as is could really get @Larry R go’in again — LOL

    I agree that it would/could be more dangerous to use .CO along side of .COM by the same entity in the context above as it could perceived by gaming/gambling regulators as too blatant, intentionally confusing and misleading. It could in some cases be a magnet for them to get the wrath of regulators & law enforcement.

    Plus it will probably be a long-long time for the general public to accept or get “acclameted” to the .CO extention over .NET which has more regognition and awareness…not just in the US but globally…… Furthermore in this vein, although I am US based, I have actually sold a higher dollar & unit volume of .NET domains to overseeas (not US based) buyers in the past 3 years.

  20. “I have actually sold a higher dollar & unit volume of .NET domains to overseeas (not US based) buyers in the past 3 years.”


    Similarly if the .US extension ever opened up to everyone I believe you would see the extension dramatically take off.

    Americans may not appreciate the extension but the International Market would in my opinion.

    Did you watch the Golden Palace video?

    It’s well done and a lot of fun.

  21. I regard .co as another ccTLD. However i did not invest in it.
    Fact is that .co did an awesome job to marketing .co ..
    I under estimated this.

    So from a pure investing point of view .co is looking good for now.

    .so will not be this big. Tho i pre registered 2 domain names

    From my expierence all ccTLD’s are long term investments.

    So i do not regard .co as a scam . hyped ? maybe ..

  22. .NET has global recgognition and is currently above all country codes in terms of and global awareness … the only country code ahead of it in terms of domains registered is .DE …although I haven’t got a count update on .CN or .IN recently….. remember we’re on the InterNET !


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