How long will .co last this time? website screenshotI was surprised to read today that the Colombian domain .co challenges .com. The Colombian government have handed the running of the domain to a private company to realise its commercial potential. They hope that .co will replace the ubiquitous .com domain as the domain of choice for companies – or should that be companies who were unable to secure the .com version of their chosen domain?

However, I can’t help feeling a certain déjà vu. Around 10 years ago, it was popular for British companies unable to use their preferred domain to register instead a domain. Then one day in 2003, a dispute between the Colombian government and the university who then ran the domain on its behalf caused the domain to be switched off overnight. Companies suddenly were without their websites or access to their e-mail, losing potential customers, and meaning that once alternative domains were chosen, all adverts and stationery had to be reprinted.

Hopefully the new-style .co domain will fare better than did. Ultimately, though, .co will always be the country code for Colombia, and as with any alternative, be it .biz or any of the more recent domains, will always be seen as the poor man’s .com.

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