Should I get a .co TLD. Is it worth it?

I was asked by a client if he thought getting a .co address was worthwhile. To be honest I hadnt heard of any new TLD that had been created (TLD means Top Level Domain, ie .com, .net plus country codes like .nz)

In fact it is actually the Columbian country code that has been opened up to be registered by anyone.

So what’s the big deal?

In the sales pitch, the people running this launch have this to say: (found as a sponsor post on Read Write Web)

The .co TLD will provide companies with a TLD that represents “company”,
which is a viable and possibly even superior alternative to .com. With
the .com domain inventory nearly exhausted, .co gives businesses the
opportunity to brand themselves online to the fullest extent possible.

LEt’s break that down into it’s parts:

  1. .co to represent “company” a viable possibly superior alternative to .com – To be honest, I can’t see much to this, ok it is 1 character shorter and to some areas, like URL shorteners (apparently, Twitter is looking at t.co as an in house URL shortener) it is useful to achieve their requirements. But for the majority, overcoming the habit of the .com is going to be hard to break.
  2. With
    the .com domain inventory nearly exhausted, .co gives businesses the
    opportunity to brand themselves online to the fullest extent possible. – Excuse me, the .com space is not nearly exhausted, this is just an excuse for lazy marketers. Agreed, most simple words are already taken, but it is no where near exhausted.
    It also raises the possibility of more domain name disputes as existing brands have to fight again to save their brands form being hijacked.

As I mentioned before, .co is actually the country code for Columbia. I can expect some technical issues with the search-ability of sites with .co as their TLD.

Google bases it’s local and pre-filtered searches based on the TLD and/or the location of the server that a site is hosted on. As an example for a New Zealand company it is important that either the site has a .co.nz domain or is located on a NZ based server. This gives Google an idea as to who to provide results to for this site.

When you have a .com address on a US based server, you need to use Google Webmaster Tools to tell Google that your market is in NZ, if that is the case, as it not necessarily easy to determine this just from your content.

How quickly will this issue be fixed once the .co TLD is released. Similarly, Google will need to be told that your intended market is not Columbia, given that is what .co domain really means.

I believe this is a marketing opportunity, pure and simple. I cannot see any real credible reasons for creating this confusion between the established .com and a new ambiguous player in .co

My advice to people is to ignore .co. If you need a global domain, go for .com. If it is taken, look for creative ways to claim a .com domain, as I expect it will take many years (if at all) for the .co TLD to mean anything to anyone outside Columbia.

Please comment if you have received any correspondence about this, how are your registrars selling it to you?