Sunday, November 14, 2010
GoDaddy and Columbia - Crazy (Updated)
At first, I thought it was a web designer's mistake.
Not so much.
Domain Name Wire first reported the story here.
It's virgin territory for domainers (or squatters?) ..... for as long as it lasts.
In a move that 'domainers' are considering brilliant and others are calling an outrage, the largest domain registrar in the world has defaulted their home page domain search to the .co domain.
You read that right. DOT CO. Not DOT COM.
So what gives?
Large brands (and even small brands), as well as lots of others, are always cognizant of owning their own name. Most also buy a variety of misspells just to be sure you land on their page when you're typing in the browser bar.
It's BIG business.
Back when I did in-house SEO in the travel industry, the company I worked for owned hundreds of domains for this very reason. The other reason, of course, is that there are still those that type domains into the browser address bar thinking they're automatically searching.
Nobody wants you to 'land' somewhere else.
Back to GoDaddy.
I've had relatively good experiences with them over the years. I even still host some stuff there for myself and others. Say what you will about his edgy advertising, Bob Parsons has been a marketing genius.
In this case, I'm hoping GoDaddy has doubled their customer service staff.
.co is the domain name for the country of Columbia. GoDaddy is betting that you'll want to reserve this potential mispell to preserve your brand or website (at 29.99 US).
Back when Twitter was a brand new company (and when Facebook offered personalized suffixes), the prevailing wisdom among social media experts was to grab those before someone else did. Of course, they were FREE. You can see just a few of mine here. I still do it, and so do MANY others.
If you combine the social media logic with big brands outright fear, GoDaddy already has a potential million dollar hit on their hands.
On the flip side, the amount of people registering these by mistake will probably also be pretty huge considering it's the default.
It's brilliant. It's sneaky. It'll probably work well for GoDaddy.
I seriously doubt Google or any other search engine is going to be hot on this although most buyers will probably redirect those domains (if they're smart) to their primary.
I'm not buying it.
Update: Nov 14, 2010 10 PM ET: The Next Web is reporting that GoDaddy was running an experiment and has returned to .com as the default on their main page.