Startups: Avoid This TLD At All Costs (not for the obvious reasons)

Is there a domain extension (TLD) that startups should avoid?

Yes!

One major mistake I see is the use of the (.co) domain extension.

Startups need to avoid using the (.co) domain extension for several reasons.  Building your brand on this TLD could put you at serious risk.

Being in the domain industry and branding space has give me a unique opportunity.

I look at lots of websites on a weekly basis.  Sometimes I may view up to 300 websites in a week as part of my research and marketing of premium domain names.

Why do I recommend never using the (.co) extension for your brand?

Here are the main reasons that the (.co) extension

  1. Email security is at risk
  2. Easily confused with the (.com) extension
  3. Marketing dollars are wasted because of the extra effort needed to reinforce this extension

Here is a brief history of the (.co) extension from Wikipedia:

.co is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) assigned to Colombia. It is administered by .CO Internet S.A.S.[3] As of July 10, 2010, there are no registration restrictions on second-level .co domains; any individual or entity in the world can register a .co domain. .co domain names are available for registration globally through accredited registrars.

 

.CO Internet S.A.S from Bogotá, Colombia, was appointed as the manager for the .co TLD through a public procurement process that took place in early 2009. .CO Internet received the re-delegation approval as the manager of the .co TLD by ICANN on December 9, 2009, and received formal confirmation of the request by the United States Department of Commerce on December 23, 2009.

Anyone now can sign up and register a domain name with the (.co) extension.

Email security:

A very often overlooked however foundation aspect of your domain names is your email address.

Customers, suppliers and associates will type in your email address thousands of times each day (depending up your companies size).

Email security and sensitivity need to be a factor in your domain selection.

In some businesses it only takes one email sent to the wrong address to cause very serious legal ramifications.

The (.co) extension can very easily be mistaken and typed for a (.com) extension.  We are conditioned to continue typing (.com) because most businesses are using the (.com) for email.  Adding the (m) is almost done without thinking.

We see this quite often with (.com) domains that we are brokering.  Sensitive Emails from the (.co) are ending up being sent to the wrong company.

Startups and brands are putting themselves at risk because of this simple email error.

This is the number one reason I do not recommend using this extension.

Here is how easy it is to set up a catch-all email address: (Godaddy.com)

Setting Up a Catch-All Email Account in the Workspace Control Center

A catch-all email account receives all messages sent to incorrect email addresses for that domain. If you don’t set up the catch-all account, messages sent to incorrect email addresses bounce back to the sender.

For more information, see What is a catch-all email account?.

To Set Up a Catch-All Email Account

  1. Log in to your GoDaddy account.
  2. In your Products list, click Email.
  3. Next to the account you want to work with, click Manage.
  4. Click Create.
  5. In the Create Account window, click Show Additional Options.
  6. On the Email tab, select Make this a catch-all account, and then set up the new email account. See Set up email addresses.

Avoid having to spend more on marketing

Customers crave simplicity because of how it requires less effort and makes life easier.

A goal in every marketing or brand campaign should be to make the journey effortless.

When we add additional elements or information outside the normal process it can take extra efforts to reinforce.

The (.co) ending can very easily be confused with the (.com) ending.  This typically results in the need for extra marketing dollars to reinforce the message.  Because of how close (.co) is to (.com) it adds even more of an element of confusion.  Customers very easily fall back on the assumed and common pattern of using the (.com) extension.

Summary:

There are now over 1,000 TLD endings to choose from for your brand or marketing campaign.

Owning your brand’s premium positioning online is important.

If the (.com) extension is taken think long and hard before you decide on using another extension.

Email security needs to be a high priority for whatever domain you choose.  Some domain extensions increase the chances of error and need to be avoided.

Reducing the effort and barriers required for your customer journey will increase the return on investment from your marketing spend.

An overwhelming majority of the time I recommend acquiring a (.com) domain because of how it establishes leadership and trust.

If you are not going with the (.com) extension make sure you spend extra time thinking about your email security and marketing ROI.