Previously only available at the 3rd level, the Colombian government has already begun the process to re-delegate the .CO domain extension, to allow .CO registrations at the 2nd level and to implement a new registry operator that will oversee .CO name space. These changes will make it much easier to register a .CO, but also present some real risk for brand holders.
As we have seen with the launch of nearly all new TLDs, opportunists are likely to try to take advantage of .CO given it is just one letter away from the world’s most popular domain, .COM, by registering popular brands and Web sites with the .CO extension. The Colombian registry stated that they will aggressively market the second level .CO as “open-ccTLD” and just like generic domain (gTLD). A trademark sunrise period will be held, so trademarks holders will get the opportunity to protect the brand(s) provided they participate, but once the open registration begins in mid-summer, expect the .CO’s to be registered in record numbers.
.CO Launch Timeline:
- March 1 – March 30 – Grandfathering Phase for current COM.CO and other 3rd Level domain holders (registered before July 30th, 2008)
- April 1 – April 20 – Local Sunrise for trademarks registered in Colombia
- April 26 – June 10 – Global Sunrise for trademarks registered internationally
- June 21 – July 13 – Land Rush for premium domains
- July 20 – General Availability
The third level .CO domains (COM.CO, NET.CO and ORG.CO) can be registered today and is being marketed as a true country code domain (ccTLD) to signify locally relevant business or other interests which is designed to signify a distinctly Colombian presence or interest. However, the local presence requirements to register the name have been removed so .CO is unrestricted for all extensions.