.co Domain (Meaning,Price,Popularity,Is it Good?,Safety)
You probably tried to register a .com for your new business but you can’t find anything available. You started looking for alternatives and you saw the .co extension.
In that case, you probably face a dilemma: Should you choose .co for your new website or stick with .com? I will try to help you make your own decision by presenting some facts and my personal opinion.
Before that let’s take a look at everything you need to know about .co top-level domain.
What Does .co Mean (+ Brief History)
.co top-level domain was originally introduced only for Colombian citizens. So, it was similar to .de (for Germany) or .fr (for France). If someone wanted to do online business in Colombia mainly, the .co was (and still is) the first option.
Even though .co is still a “country” top-level domain such as .de or .fr it is open for registration to anyone even outside of Columbia. But why did that shift happen? The .co can be associated as the abbreviation for company, commercial, or corporation so there was a potential for that kind of usage.
Many country-code top-level domains were using .co as part of their extensions such as .co.uk (for UK), .co.in (for India) , .co.jp (for Japan) , .co.nz (for New Zealand) and others. In the previous cases, the “.co” part is used as an abbreviation for the “commercial”. So, the administrators of .co thought that the stand-alone “.co” version can have the same or similar meaning.
In the beginning, the University of Los Andes was administrating the .com usage from 1991 but in 2010 administration was changed. The University saw the potential of more broad usage of .co but didn’t manage to make a deal with the government. .CO Internet SAS was the new administrator and the .co was now available to international users.
In 2014 Neustar acquired .CO Internet SAS and until recently CO Internet SAS was doing business as a subsidiary of Neustar. The good news for .co is that the biggest retailer of domain names (Godaddy) acquired Neustar in April of 2020. This move probably means that Godaddy will promote more .co to end-users. Since now it will take a bigger cut for every .co domain registration!
*For those that don’t know an administrator (Registry) takes a wholesale cut for any .co that is registered on registrars (Godaddy, Namecheap). Registries keep all the records for the domain owners and offer some technical infrastructure for top-level domains such a .co.
How Do I Get A .co Domain
Most of the well known registrars offer the .co option for their users. I am presenting you a table with the exact prices:
|Registrar||.co Registration||.co Renewal|
Do .co Domains Rank Well?
.co domains rank as well as the rest of top-level domains. The main factor that affects google rankings is the actual content of a site. Although it is true that there is a slight preference for country-code top-level domains on rankings when you target a specific country. For example, a .fr domain will have a tiny advantage versus .com for French online visitors.
Google’s staff has already answered the general concerns about new extensions vs .com. Back in 2015, they said that they handle all extensions the same with a small exception as I said for the country-specific ones. Here is the link with their answers: googleblog.com
Specifically for .co even back in 2011, they noticed that people use mostly .co outside Columbia. They received a lot of questions about how Google treats that extension and they answered on youtube.
Here is the video: “Does Google treat .co as a generic TLD?”
We also see that Google has recognized .co and some other similar domain names as Generic Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs). This is what they say on Google search console help page:
Google treats some ccTLDs (such as .tv, .me, etc.) as gTLDs, as we’ve found that users and webmasters frequently see these more generic than country-targeted. Here is a list of those ccTLDs (this list may change).
Generic Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs): Google treats some ccTLDs (such as .tv, .me, etc.) as gTLDs, as we’ve found that users and webmasters frequently see these more generic than country-targeted. Here is a list of those ccTLDs (this list may change).support.google.com
Here is the list with all the ccTLDS that includes .co too:
Why Is .co Domain So Expensive?
The usual price for a .co domain in the first year is usually very low. It varies from $1 – $12 dollars. The expensive part is the renewal price which is always over 20$. You will also need to pay more for 1 word English words or for some keywords with commercial interest. The price can be from 199$ or even thousands of dollars.
This is what the registry (go.co) of .co says for the prices:
While you may find different prices and promotions out there, the yearly price tag for registration of .CO domain names is typically higher than .com’s and other legacy domain extensions. This premium pricing aims to deter domain squatters from registering thousands of domain names without using them.Source:go.co
Some of the domains that are owned by domain investors can cost even more. Here is a list of the biggest sales.
|mesothelioma.co||76,000$||2010-09-29||.CO Landrush Auctions|
|autoglass.co||53,000$||2010-10-06||.CO Landrush Auctions|
|denver.co||50,001$||2010-09-29||.CO Landrush Auctions|
Are .co Domains Safe?
The .co domains are safe in the large majority. Although, you can’t trust a site’s credibility by the domain extension only. The .co domain has a “badness” score of 0.13 (1,8% only are bad) based on spamhaus.org.
.com has 0.47 score and 3.8% of the .com are considered “bad”. You can see all the scores here: spamhaus.org/statistics/tlds/. This is how they come up with a “badness” score:
You can think of this number as the bad domains fraction weighted with the TLD’s size, or as the order of magnitude of the problem weighted with the effectiveness of anti-abuse policies.**spamhaus.org
The worst tlds are :
1 .fit Badness Index: 5.43 Domains seen: 8,177
Bad domains: 5,194 (63.5%)
2 .rest Badness Index: 3.92 Domains seen: 2,456
Bad domains: 1,337 (54.4%)
3 .viajes Badness Index: 3.65 Domains seen: 137
Bad domains: 107 (78.1%)
4 .fail Badness Index: 3.05 Domains seen: 393
Bad domains: 222 (56.5%)
5 .tk Badness Index: 3.02 Domains seen: 32,736
Bad domains: 10,669 (32.6%)
6 .webcam Badness Index: 2.99 Domains seen: 121
Bad domains: 82 (67.8%)
7 .email Badness Index: 2.98 Domains seen: 13,181
Bad domains: 4,648 (35.3%)
8 .work Badness Index: 2.72 Domains seen: 67,991
Bad domains: 18,785 (27.6%)
9.cf Badness Index: 2.62 Domains seen: 13,941
Bad domains: 4,364 (31.3%)
10.loan Badness Index: 2.50 Domains seen: 467
Bad domains: 217 (46.5%)
Are .co Domains worth it?
Let’s take a look to the positive and negative aspects of getting a .co domain.
1.) You can find good keywords in prices much cheaper than .com.
2.) Your final URL would be shorter probably. So, it fits better for social media sharing or for mobile users in case they need to type it.
3.)Internet users associate .co with company, commercial and corporation.
1.) Most people will assume that your domain ends in .com since this is the standard extension for the domain names.
2.) You might have trademark issues if the .com is already a well-known firm. Of course, that can happen only if the “phrase” in the domain is something they can register a trademark. For example, “insurance” is a generic word and the companies can’t register a trademark. On the other hand, if you own Microsoft.co you will face legal issues.
3.) You might lose incoming emails because people can mistype .co as .com. For example, if your email is firstname.lastname@example.org, a portion of people that want to send a message to you will type email@example.com. You will never get those emails.
Is .com Or .co Better?
As we already mentioned in the eyes of search engines (like google) none of the extensions is better. The advantage of .com is that is the most recognizable in the eyes of end-users. If people don’t know your site’s extension will add .com in the end.
So, in terms of type-in traffic .com is the winner easily. The thing is that not so many people visit directly a site nowadays, only with a few exceptions (like big tech companies or news sites). Most of the people will visit a new site by doing a google search. So, good content is the main factor.
I would like also to add that most people use mobile to navigate on the web. If you have some mobile application, the domain extension is totally irrelevant.
Actually there is a survey from Growth Badger that ranks .co second as extension behind .com in terms of memorability and trust! You can find the blog post for the survey here: https://growthbadger.com/top-level-domains/
I would also want to mention when I think you can go for .co domain and when you should choose .com. I have created a table that can guide you on your decision.
|A successful company uses the same .com within the same industry.||Yes||No|
|Tech-savvy clients that they are aware of domain name extensions.||Yes||Yes|
|Your brand will operate mostly as a mobile app.||Yes||Yes|
|Your audience is broad retail, not so tech-savvy.||Yes||No|
|You don’t have serious limitations on a budget for a domain name.||Yes||No|
*I put yes to .com for each different case since I believe rarely a .com is a bad option. On the other hand, I put yes to .co too when I see it as a viable option.
Best .com Alternative (.co vs .io vs .ai)
Surprisingly .co is the number 3 option after .com and .io for startups. You can see the survey I did Startup Naming Trends. The extension is generic enough that any startup can use it since the underlining meaning is a corporation, commerce, or company.
.co can be used by everyday businesses but .io is mostly for tech-savvy ones and .ai only for the ones that are related to artificial intelligence. .co has over 2.5 million registered domain, .io has nearly 600 thousand and .ai even less (source:domainnamestat.com).
.co renewal price is slightly lower in average compared to .io price. The .ai domain is by far the most expensive one since the renewal price is at least double.I have dedicated posts for .io and .ai.
Of course, you have always the option of getting some of the other legacy top-level domains such as .net, .org, info or .biz. The .net is the fourth most registered domain after .com, .cn (for China) and .de (for Germany). It is a domain extension that people trust and it is around for decades.
.org is always a great choice for non-profits but maybe not ideal for companies. In any case, .org domains are very trusty in the eyes of end-users. The .info and .biz are around for years but they don’t have a good reputation. Especially for .biz, many spammers use it to send suspicious bulk emails.
Successful .co Domains
A lot of big companies use .co domains for their shortener services. Some examples are: Amazon uses a.co , Google uses g.co, Twitter uses t.co and Snapchat uses s.co.
Some of the bigger sites or startups that use .co are below.
Name: Lever Site:lever.co Linkedin:linkedin.com/company/lever Lever is a very successful recruiting software. They have over 200 employees and they have received more than 70$ million in funding.
This is a great example than when you have a strong product, service or content you can win despite the domain name. If i type lever on google , the company’s website is the first result.
Lever.com is not developed and in general the word “lever” is not associated with the software industry. So they don’t have a competitor in the same industry that uses a similar brand. The previous reasons helped them in addition to the good product they have.
My assumption is that they will purchase lever.com in the future for more than 100,000$.
Name: Outgrow Site: outgrow.co Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/outgrow.co Outgrow is a content marketing company that helps you create interactive content on your sites such as quizzes, calculators, and chatbots.
I hope that I helped you somehow with your final decision. If you find my post useful don’t forget to share on social media, it would be a huge help for me!