Global Brands Snap Up .co Domain Names

Originally, .co was just the Internet country code for Colombia. But now it's becoming a popular top-level domain for major global brands such as BMW, Canon, Honda, Nike, Nokia, Pfizer, Sony and Visa.

More than 39,000 organizations applied for .co domains during a "prelaunch" phase for signing up big-name companies, according to the official .co domain registry, .CO Internet SAS, which has headquarters in Miami and Bogota, Colombia. Last month, it started offering the domain to the general public through registrars and resellers.

The company is capitalizing on the difficulty of registering a meaningful name with the ubiquitous .com top-level domain, because virtually all common words and brand names have been taken.

Furthermore, the "co" in .co already has broad global recognition as shorthand for words like company, corporation and commerce, the registry said in a statement.

Overstock.com Inc. announced that it paid $350,000 to acquire "O.co" in an effort to target new audiences and make it easier for shoppers to find its Web site. Meanwhile, the political news site Politico is using Politi.co as its official URL shortener for Twitter.

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