Inspiration can hit us at the most random times – in the middle of the night, while grocery shopping or even mid-workout. If there’s one thing that technology innovations offer us today, it’s opportunity. If you have a big idea, there are an abundance of resources available to make that idea become a reality. You’ve molded your big idea, you’ve created support and you have a great idea for a website…but you go to register your domain name, and it’s taken. With more than 100 million .com names registered today, the chances are pretty high that the name of your website and the core of your big idea, the domain, is already being used. In fact, 46 percent of small business owners think they are more likely to find a $100 bill on the street than a great domain name that hasn’t already been taken.
.CO is a joint venture between Arcelandia SA and Neustar that embraces this idea of a big idea. Only two-and-a-half years old, there are more than 1.5 million registered .co domains, from startups and small businesses to big brands and multinational corporations. I recently spoke with Lori Anne Wardi, vice president of .CO, to discuss challenges and trends in today’s .com-dominated domain industry and the results of a recent study by Wakefield Research and commissioned by .CO.
The study found that many small business owners are forced to settle for a second-choice domain name, which leads to dissatisfaction – 52 percent of small business owners with a website or blog would choose to get a new domain name if they could change without consequences. These owners also believe a second-choice domain name can lead to lost opportunities: 55 percent of SBOs with a blog of website think they’ve lost business or customers as a result of not getting their first choice domain name.
Selecting a Domain Name for the 21st Century
If a company doesn’t have a website today, it automatically becomes a little less legitimate in the eyes of consumers. With that in mind, it was surprising to find that nearly half of small businesses don’t even have an online presence – no website, no blog, no social media accounts. Also, 81 percent of business owners don’t even think about social media whatsoever when it comes to domain names. Companies today need to think about social media and Web optimization when it comes to selecting domain names.
Take Twitter (News - Alert), for example. You have 140 characters to send a message, including links to content. Why would you create a domain name that makes that even harder to consolidate? Keeping length in mind is a critical step in selecting a domain name. Many organizations use branded URL shorteners today, and many use .co, including Twitter (t.co), GoDaddy (x.co) and Google (News - Alert) (g.co). Some other brands that utilize branded URL shorteners include:
Platinum Card members, have fun w/ your food w/ Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars winner @richardblais @thespenceatl 6/24: amex.co/10nx4Pe— American Express (News - Alert) (@AmericanExpress) May 22, 2013
27 things advertising people know to be true bzfd.it/1949w9I twitter.com/BuzzFeed/statu…— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) May 22, 2013
Grab the hottest ticket out of town with fares from $59 each way (+restr): vgn.am/6019kJzW twitter.com/VirginAmerica/…— Virgin America (@VirginAmerica) May 22, 2013
Optimizing your domain name for the 21st century also means thinking about mobile content. This includes picking a shorter name so people don’t have to type long URLs while on the go. The average number of characters in the domain names of small business owners with a blog or website is 15 characters.
I have a big idea! Now what?
You may recognize .CO from its affiliation with domain registrars like GoDaddy. The two collaborated to promote the big idea of big ideas (See: www.yourbigidea.co) earlier this year.
The advantages of turning to .co for a domain name are plenty. For one, it’s a new domain space. Even though there are already 1.5 million registered names, that’s a small number compared to the .com saturation.
Also, Wardi explains that with most domain services, users will only hear from providers when it’s time to renew. .CO’s focus is on the person who just registered – who they are, what they’re trying to build, and how .CO can help them become successful. “It’s less about the name and more about the idea coming to life,” Wardi said.
To learn more, visit www.go.co