.CO the hottest TLD in 2010 - An Interview
.CO is the official country-code Top-Level-Domain (ccTLD) of Colombia and is operated by .CO Internet. Starting this summer (2010), .CO will become available worldwide to anyone interested in registering the TLD.
The appeal of .CO is clear to see, it is associated globally with the words like “COmpany,” “COrporation” and “COmmerce” – the .CO domain is also easy to recognize, simple to remember and flexible to use. And that makes it the perfect platform for today’s socially networked individuals, entrepreneurs and companies to create .COmmunities, share .COntent, and .COnnect, .COmmunicate and .COllaborate.
In preparing the launch of .CO, HEXONET's passionate customers/reseller and HEXONET itself had some interesting questions to ask about the TLD. Hoping to get answers directly from the registry, Lori Anne Wardi, Director of Marketing for .CO Internet, was kind enough to do an interview.
1.) Though HEXONET would love to promote .CO to our customer base, not being allowed to be an accredited registrar actually puts us in a strange predicament, where promoting .CO to our customers will likely lessen our own brand and their confidence in us. Like us, many registrars were more than ready to run through the accreditation process as well as press up our own marketing to get .CO maximum exposure. Therefore, with many good registrars wanting to get accredited and really push .CO, why would the registry want to limit the number of accreditations to just ten? Why are you only operating through 10 accredited registrars?
.CO INTERNET: "Due to the governing policy in Colombia, there can only be ten .CO Accredited Registrars during the registry's first year of operation as a globally available domain. This includes eight international and two local registrars based in Colombia. We encourage other Registrars to participate by becoming a reseller for one of the ten Accredited Registrars. Some have private label solutions or APIs that allow for a seamless integration of their interfaces. Additional Registrars will be accredited over time, and details on the accreditation process will be available in the fall of this year."
2.) One question we will encounter from our own customers is, "why is HEXONET/1API GmbH not accredited for .CO?" We would like to give them a clear and truthful answer. Therefore, to answer these customers inquires, we would like to know the criteria used by the registry in making the selection of 10? Moreover, what were the criteria and how did the 10 satisfy the requirements?
.CO INTERNET: There are many worthy Registrars but unfortunately we had to identify 10 Accredited Registrars during the public procurement to win the concession contract to administer the .CO domain. We selected two Registrars in Colombia to support the development of Internet industry there, and given .CO will be marketed globally we felt it was important that we had a broad variety of Registrars from other regions of the world.
3.) Many registrars are wondering if the registry will accredit more registrars in the near future. And if yes, then when can we expect the accreditation process to be reopened?
.CO INTERNET: After the first year of operations, .CO Internet will begin to open the space progressively to additional registrars that meet the accreditation criteria, in accordance with evolving governing policies. We expect to provide details this fall. Most importantly, we will be looking for registrars that are aligned with the goal of building .CO into a global, recognizable, and credible TLD.
4.) To help in the production of our marketing collateral, we have always found that the registry's answer to "Why will .CO be successful?" helps us tailor our marketing message appropriately. Why do you believe .CO will be such a tremendous success?
.CO INTERNET: We recently retained the industry leading research firm of Penn, Schoen and Berland to learn more about what “.CO” means to potential business and consumer registrants. After fielding thousands of surveys, they interviewed 600 prospective domain registrants in depth. A full 75% of those interviewed identified .CO to mean “COmpany,” “COrporation,” “COmmerce” – and/or “other commercial endeavors” when asked in an open-ended question. It is no surprise that this is the case since the literal translation of “CO” is “company” in numerous languages. In fact, more than 20 ccTLDs currently have third level domain extensions that incorporate the “CO” designation (e.g., .CO.UK, .CO.KR, etc.). However, .CO was not limited to only those meanings, demonstrating significant flexibility. In light of the above, the .CO extension is familiar and meaningful to registrants the world over even prior to the time we launch the second level. But the thing that makes the .CO extension so remarkable is that its global appeal is not limited to only the obvious commercial meanings. Its flexibility makes it the perfect domain platform for today’s socially networked individuals and entrepreneurs to use when sharing COntent, building COmmunities, or COnnecting, COmmunicating or COllaborating with friends, followers, clients and/or COnsumers online.
To summarize, the .CO domain is globally recognized and flexible to use. We will not market .CO definitively to mean any one thing — but will allow registrants to ascribe to it any meaning they wish to give it based on their own interpretation, interests and need.
5.) In particular with .CO, since it is only a single letter away from .COM, we are wondering if the registry is doing anything to avoid .CO from becoming a "typo" TLD? Who should register a .CO and which pro-active measures will the registry be taking to avoid having the reputation of being a typo TLD?
.CO INTERNET: .CO absolutely cannot and will not be marketed as a typo to .COM. In fact, .CO should be marketed as exactly the opposite – as the most exciting TLD launch and the domain name extension that provides exciting new online branding opportunities with a truly global, recognizable and credible domain name extension. In fact, the .CO registry is implementing a Rapid Takedown Process to take action against websites in cases where phishing, pharming, malware, or other significant security threats have been identified. We have also developed policies to quickly suspend domains in instances where serial cyber-squatting can be established. If you do get questions around marketing .CO as a typo we encourage you to share our point of view around .CO of quickly becoming a thriving namespace and a premium domain. Our terms of service with registrars are very strict on this point.
HEXONET would like to thank Lori Anne Wardi of .CO Internet for taking the time to answer these questions thoroughly. We at HEXONET truly believe .CO will be a tremendous success and we will do everything possible to contribute to its success. Once the accreditation process opens for additional registrars, HEXONET/1API GmbH will be first in line to obtaining our own accreditation.
Third-Level .CO Domains (com.co, net.co & nom.co) can already be registered in real-time through HEXONET.
HEXONET will begin accepting Pre-registrations of Second-Level .CO Domains for both Landrush and GoLive starting Thursday February 25, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. CET.
About Lori Anne Wardi:
Lori Anne Wardi brings close to 20 years of diverse business experience to her position as Director of Marketing at .CO Internet. Prior to joining .CO Internet, Ms. Wardi founded and managed several businesses, including Dream Big Media, Inc., a digital asset strategy consulting firm in New York City. Previously Ms. Wardi practiced law for five years at Proskauer LLP, a top tier national law firm, where she counseled executives on the full gamut of federal and state employment laws. A seasoned management consultant, Ms. Wardi has served as the Global Manager of Training and Professional Development for the Technology Division of Goldman Sachs; and has consulted with executives in many of the world's most prominent investment banks, professional service firms and non-profit organizations, including JP Morgan Chase, UBS, and AIG. Ms. Wardi has a B.A. in International Relations from Muhlenberg College; a Master's Degree in Human Resources from Cornell University; and a Law Degree from Brooklyn Law School.