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Thread: .CO: The story of .mobi that never was.

  1. #1
    Administrator Andres Kello's Avatar
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    Default .CO: The story of .mobi that never was.

    I am not too familiar with the story of .CO, but based on the few things I have read about it recently, I can't help but be reminded of the early days of .mobi and my expectations of how it was going to be promoted when it was first launched. It is truly unfortunate .CO was not launched before .mobi, as mTLD could have learned a lot from them. In fact, a lot of what they are doing are ideas that were mentioned right here on this very forum several times in the early days with regards to .mobi promotion, yet never pursued by mTLD. Well, .CO seems to have proven that strong promotion in the first year of a new extension can go a long way towards brand recognition amongst end-users and average Joe's alike.

    Here are a few juicy tidbits about .CO:


    • Though the .CO Registry staged its global launch less than a year ago (in July 2010) it has already hit the 1 million registrations mark.
    • It has now been said many times that .CO has "written the book" on how to successfully market a new domain extension. It is still early in the game for them, but what they have accomplished in less than a year of general availability, including hitting 1 million registrations and being featured in a GoDaddy Super Bowl ad, has set the bar extremely high for all new registry operators that follow.
    • CO's phenomenal first year series of successes continued today when Overstock.com announced the company is renaming itself O.co, to take advantage of the one-letter domain name the company purchased from the .CO Registry for $350,000 last summer.
    • One of the most exciting parts of the company's re-branding, in terms of giving the .co extension more recognition among the general public, is that the Major League Baseball and NFL football stadium used by the Oakland A's and the Oakland Raiders will change its name to the O.co Coliseum.
    • "Overstock.com is clearly at the forefront of digital marketing and their decision to use a .CO domain in such a big way, underscores their willingness to lead the market and to disrupt the status quo. With the exponential growth of mobile commerce, where shaving milliseconds means gaining a strategic competitive advantage, customers around the world can now reach the company's products and services quickly and securely by simply typing O.co - the shortest possible URL in the world."
    • The .CO team has done a remarkable marketing job with the extension (complete with an ad during this year's Super Bowl telecast). That effort will continue with the release of a series of short films called “Under the Bulb,” that will premier live at a private event to be held on June 9, 2011 during Internet Week in New York City. The registry said "Under the Bulb tells the stories of the people behind the growth of .CO. Each inspiring two-minute film captures life from the time the big “light-bulb moment” first strikes – through the time their ideas are brought to life."
    • Lori Anne Wardi, Director of Global Communications of the .CO Registry, said “From startup to Super Bowl in seven months flat, we are a company of entrepreneurs. Under the Bulb is our way of honoring the fact that behind each of these one million domain registrations, are one million singular ideas with the potential to change the world.”

    Sources:


    You will notice that our very own dreambig - once an avid .mobi fan who understandably dropped .mobi like a ton of bricks back in 2008 - is the Director of Global Communications of the .CO registry.

    Here we are getting excited that the only extension specifically for mobile phones has finally reached 1 million registrations in almost 5 years in the midst of the biggest boom in mobile, when an actual direct competitor to .com did it in less than one year. No one even talks about .mobi doing a Superbowl Ad anymore, and here is a new extension just going out and doing it and achieving massive awareness that no-doubt has influenced the decision of at least one multi-billion dollar company to not only re-brand its entire company with the extension, but to rename an entire stadium with the new extension as well. Whenever a .mobi gets sold for mid 4-figures, we rejoice like it were New Years, yet here is a new extension that is less than a year old - and that is arguably needed less than .mobi - shattering and nearly doubling the record for most expensive .mobi ever sold like it were nothing. We get excited whenever we discover even a relatively unknown business adopting .mobi, while the largest registrar in the world is spitting .CO in the face of every one of its millions of users all day long no matter where you are on their site. Now replace .CO with .mobi and just picture .mobi in those shoes back in 2007 for one second. It's painful...painful to think about the wasted opportunity and the window of opportunity that has long since passed.

    Could .CO still crash and burn like .mobi did? Sure, but nobody will be able to say they didn't try their very best or wonder what could have been. However, we'll never really know what could have been with .mobi because mTLD never really tried to promote it, and thus its full potential was never met and will never be met. What if mTLD had done the Superbowl ad back in the day? Or actually spent significant resources on promoting the extension early on rather than spend time and money trying to outdo Google at their own game, for example? Or enforced the Trustmark that specifically made it different? We'll never know. None of this is to say .mobi will fail, it's just unnerving to see success stories such as the recent milestones hit by a competitor to .com that is doing exactly what many on this very forum have been telling mTLD to do since Day 1. It's almost a bitter-sweet revindication of our earliest thoughts and ideas that were completely ignored by the Registry for whatever reason.

    Where do we go from here? Well, hopefully mTLD is watching .CO closely, and learning, and changing. That's all we can hope for at this point beyond taking matters into our own hands and creating stand-alone, successful businesses out of .mobi domain names that don't depend on the actions (or inactions) of the Registry.

    Let me be one of the first to congratulate .CO on hitting the 1 million registration mark and showing the world how it's done. Major props.
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  2. #2
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    5 years ago where was the mobile "browser" and mobile web "infrastructure". do not blame it on .mobi
    Timing and synchronization is everything. when you see a commercial on tv, the product is already on the shelf ready for the consumer to buy it.
    5 years ago the commercial on tv was there (analogy here.... .mobi was there). The product was not on the shelf (analogy again... no mobile browser or mobile web infrastructure was there)
    Even now the mobile infrastructure is being shaped and debated (HTML 5, etc.....different operating systems and other issues) .

    This is a repeat of the .com, .net, .org era. It took 10 years for the browser and the web infrastructure to catch up to the domain names which were available in 1985 and began their exponential drive in 1995 (when the browser and web infrastructure stabilized and followed suite)

    I do not think it is about just .CO or .MOBI per say. It is about the fact that browsers and infrastructure (for mobile which is totally different from the fixed web) lag in timing with the domain name process.

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    Senior Member gogo's Avatar
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    HI thanks for the info Andres.

    I see businesses actually using .co.

    What an irony - Dotmobi tried to cover up their lack of strategy and lack of interest in success by pretending to be all about B2B in some kind of backroom way that mere mortals were not allowed to see.

  4. #4
    Administrator Andres Kello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nash View Post
    5 years ago where was the mobile "browser" and mobile web "infrastructure". do not blame it on .mobi
    I think you completely misunderstood my post. I'm not blaming .mobi, I'm blaming mTLD for the complete lack of promotion when .CO has unequivocally proven that promotion - especially early on in the life of a new extension - makes a very big difference in terms of awareness and adoption, two things .mobi is still struggling with 5 years in. .mobi was a great and timely idea 5 years ago precisely due to the minimal infrastructure that was in place at the time compared to today, and that's what lured many of us in at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nash
    years ago the commercial on tv was there (analogy here.... .mobi was there). The product was not on the shelf (analogy again... no mobile browser or mobile web infrastructure was there)
    I must correct you, 5 years ago there were both mobile browsers and a mobile web infrastructure that were quite limited compared to today's offerings and thus a perfect window of opportunity for the only made-for-mobile domain extension to establish and solidify its position as the go-to extension for anything mobile. That hasn't happened, and part of the reason has been the complete lack of promotion (and thus awareness) by the one company that had the most to gain from that very promotion.


    If your arguement is that .mobi would not have benefited from any promotion by mTLD when it was launched 5 years ago, then I completely disagree with you and I recommend you read through old posts from 2007 and 2008 on this forum to see the kinds of ideas that were proposed by members here and completely ignored by mTLD, and then have a look at .CO's growth and what they have done to achieve that phenomenal growth. If anything, one could argue that .mobi had it easier precisely because it offered a unique selling point during a very opportune time in the history of mobile and was thus "needed" at the time. .CO, on the other hand, is just another extension with no USP, but that has been heavily and successfully marketed, proving something many of us here new from the beginning: promotion matters.
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    Senior Member keithmt's Avatar
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    Nice post Andres! I've been following .co for 6-8 months now. I own 3 but I'm very nervous to heavily invest after getting burned with .mobi.
    O.co is surely making the extention look very good these days. Godaddy has ran several commercials promoting .co and Amazon just purchased a.co, k.co, cloud.co...
    Consumer confusion makes me wonder about this one. I can see folks trying to go to godaddy.co and naturally typing .coM out of habit. I can't say that I won't invest more into .co but if I do, it will be with great caution.

  6. #6
    Pred
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    with the mass pumping on the state sponsored blogs and godaddy pushing not surprised they reached 1 million

    mark my words there will be mass drops in after july becuase of renewal costs
    two people are making money, the registry and mike mann. mike mann is elling off all the premium one worders like a mad 'mann'
    he got rights to owning them as he owned the .co.com equivalents

    .co is basically a fraud extension. although technically .co has ability like .tv and .me to have a non-specific country attached in google webmaster tools. reality is you will rank very well in colombia and nowhere else
    floods of udrp's are coming in too for .co

    i have zero .co domains and have zero plans to own one and have been watching from day one

    yes, .mobi could have used some tactics, but .co people learned from .mobi too

    i personally think the 5 years behind .mobi helps it. it's established and has had many highs and lows. now registrations are growing

    trust me, .co will shrink before growing again, it wont keep going up anabated imho

    theres a lot of misinformation in the .co campaign and it will come back and bite them, they aren't levelling with people it's bloody colombia's domain extension

    as far as overstock. its great to have them backing them for them but personally think overstock are insane for this
    i thought was a ploy to somehow land the o.com one day when released
    neverless can only help .co team that they are using and promoting

    .co registry will have spent a shedload on advertising, superbowl, prob kickbacks to godaddy too

    see how theyre doing in a year or two.

    there is going to be loads of new extensions released and almost all will do badly and fail imo

    i'm still sticking with .mobi
    .com and .co.uk are my favourite extensions, but i still believe in .mobi. it's gone through a hell of a lot and there are many big companies using. i still think so many companies are asleep at the weheel for mobile and still believe the big explosion is some time away, which it still is.

    .mobi has had it's bad luck stories and think we are on a slow burn up. i think .co's nightmares are to come imho

    a lot of companies i have seen in uk who have regged a .co have just regged and left. has one year and 2 year max on registration
    none are developed. none can get or ever dream of getting the generic .co.uk or .com, they prob got an email from registrar and thought to get the .co and will not go through and develop (wont help them anyway) and will drop at some later dtae imho

  7. #7
    Administrator Andres Kello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithmt View Post
    O.co is surely making the extention look very good these days.
    What I think is very telling is that Overstock did not hesitate to jump on the .CO bandwagon (even going as far as rebranding its entire company around the new extension), yet many here will remember that that same company tried to preempt its acquisition of O.mobi by filing a TM for that very domain, yet 4 years later that domain is still held by mTLD and completely dead.

    Not that they deserve the domain for simply filing a TM on it before its release, but c'mon, 4 years in and still nothing on that domain even after single-character .mobi's were released under RFP just gives you the impression that mTLD are asleep at the wheel, which is in complete contrast to the impression .CO gives off of a company that seems to be at the top of its game and run by young, ambitious, go-get-'em entrepreneurs.
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    Administrator Andres Kello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pred View Post
    i think .co's nightmares are to come imho
    Pred, I don't necessarily disagree with you, and like I said, I'm not too familiar with .CO. Having said that, though, if a new extension in direct competition with .com and with no USP can reach these kinds of milestones this early on, then I can't help but wonder where .mobi - which had a USP, opportune timing, and no direct competition - would be today had mTLD followed the same playbook as .CO (as many here advocated at the time) rather than just trying to pump the extension to domainers and coast along.
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    maybe this recent article sums up my point.

    http://mobiputing.com/2011/06/the-fi...tml-5-web-app/

    Especially the following piece. It relates to the Mobile web coming of age (in my opinion).

    "The Financial Times has decided to replace its aging mobile applications for iOS, Android and other platforms with a new web app based on HTML 5. The move could pave the way for more web apps based on the latest web standards — but not just because of the new features HTML5 offers. The new web app also offers the FT a way to provide its 600,000 subscribers with access to the news while sidestepping Apple’s rules for subscription-based apps sold in the App Store. Update: While the web app is designed for the iPhone and iPad you may have some luck getting it to work with browsers on some other platforms.

    The FT joins a growing number of companies that have expressed displeasure with Apple’s system, where Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all subscription revenue. The move also offers a platform agnostic approach. You can access the web app on any mobile device with a web browser that supports HTML5. "

    The mobile infrastructure is now able to offer something that can be considered sophisticated enough to offer a unified platform with power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nash View Post
    maybe this recent article sums up my point.

    http://mobiputing.com/2011/06/the-fi...tml-5-web-app/

    Especially the following piece. It relates to the Mobile web coming of age (in my opinion).

    "The Financial Times has decided to replace its aging mobile applications for iOS, Android and other platforms with a new web app based on HTML 5. The move could pave the way for more web apps based on the latest web standards — but not just because of the new features HTML5 offers. The new web app also offers the FT a way to provide its 600,000 subscribers with access to the news while sidestepping Apple’s rules for subscription-based apps sold in the App Store. Update: While the web app is designed for the iPhone and iPad you may have some luck getting it to work with browsers on some other platforms.

    The FT joins a growing number of companies that have expressed displeasure with Apple’s system, where Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all subscription revenue. The move also offers a platform agnostic approach. You can access the web app on any mobile device with a web browser that supports HTML5. "

    The mobile infrastructure is now able to offer something that can be considered sophisticated enough to offer a unified platform with power.
    So is Financial Times using .mobi?

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    Senior Member noonoo1's Avatar
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    Scandi, unfortunately it's http://app.ft.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by noonoo1 View Post
    Scandi, unfortunately it's http://app.ft.com
    That's pathetic for a mobile url.....
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    Senior Member noonoo1's Avatar
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    They do own FinancialTimes.mobi

    Perhaps somebody would like to tell them.

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    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonoo1 View Post
    Scandi, unfortunately it's http://app.ft.com
    Then this example of why mobis future is bright is anything but. A company is turning away from apps and towards mobile web and yet does not include .mobi in the decision. We all understand that mobile web is growing, I hope not too many people here need evidence of that. The main concern here is what significance will .mobi have in it, and this particular example illustrates another loss of ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by noonoo1 View Post
    They do own FinancialTimes.mobi

    Perhaps somebody would like to tell them.
    IMO the 'them' that should take initiative on this is mtld to work out an arrangement for ft.mobi
    Last edited by Scandiman; 06-09-2011 at 02:39 PM.

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    Senior Member noonoo1's Avatar
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    Hang on, it gets worse, look at this at the bottom of app.ft.com

    *Please note the new FT app is optimised for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. For the best service on older models (3G and below) use our mobile website at m.ft.com.

    How confusing is that!
    ENOUGH SAID


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    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonoo1 View Post
    Hang on, it gets worse, look at this at the bottom of app.ft.com

    *Please note the new FT app is optimised for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. For the best service on older models (3G and below) use our mobile website at m.ft.com.

    How confusing is that!
    Their variety of subdomains is odd, but all are much shorter than the .mobi they have available

  17. #17
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    Coming back to the main subject of this thread.

    Not being an expert, I would say the last 10 years we have been able to see in internet a great demand of url's. Actually this demand will increase from now because every day more business move to internet.

    Dot com was saturated, and is therefore a need for new land on which to place all this demand. That's the reason why in recent years have seen so many new TLD's, but very disorganized.

    One of the biggest moves to be made ​​in this way is the transition to mobile internet for a large part of these businesses and more. This movement is foreseen so great and with such an enormous business behind, that the big companies that govern the internet, has decided to put some order to this transition and created Dotmobi.

    The seed is planted.

    They want to promote the use of dotmobi to develop succesful mobile sites and to attract new mobile business, not especulators. The best way to do it is keeping the price of Dotmobi low.

    This is my reflexion. If we think in the medium and long term, 5 to 10 Years, this transition will have end and then we will see if I was right.

    I love this forum.

  18. #18
    MobiEnthusiast coast's Avatar
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    The company formerly known as mTLD has a lot going for it in the mobile web, but it's a lot more profitable to charge monthly for go.mobi products than annually for .mobi domain names. Device atlas subscriptions are also more profitable. Everything they do is more profitable than .mobi, so they are consolidating their efforts elsewhere.

    If you want your .mobi to succeed, you're going to have to optimize it yourself and get your own backlinks and traffic and don't depend on any registry or registrar to do it for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coast View Post
    The company formerly known as mTLD has a lot going for it in the mobile web, but it's a lot more profitable to charge monthly for go.mobi products than annually for .mobi domain names. Device atlas subscriptions are also more profitable. Everything they do is more profitable than .mobi, so they are consolidating their efforts elsewhere.

    If you want your .mobi to succeed, you're going to have to optimize it yourself and get your own backlinks and traffic and don't depend on any registry or registrar to do it for you.
    Well said Coast.
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    Senior Member blitzpotz's Avatar
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    Which mobility members did invest in dot.co?

    I didn´t reg any single .co name. My experiences with dot.mobi, dot.me and dot.tel have been instructive.

    However, with the professional marketing and the success news (recently Overstock, Amazon) plus the undoubted typo charme of dot.co an investment could eventually (!) have been more valuable.

    On the other hand, I assume that early sales of experienced domainers are a warn sign. In the last weeks .co investor Mr. Mann sold a lot of top names for prices in the dot.me range (IMO).

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  21. #21
    MobiEnthusiast coast's Avatar
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    If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, make a Facebook page and buy some Facebook advertising related to your .mobi (which is developed, right?) Either that or keep renewing your .mobi's on faith that the market will pick up on the work of others (outside the registry, as mentioned above). Adding to your collection is an expensive hobby with no proven aftermarket.

    You're welcome.
    Last edited by coast; 06-10-2011 at 01:24 AM.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member gogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by worldonmobile View Post
    One of the biggest moves to be made ​​in this way is the transition to mobile internet for a large part of these businesses and more. This movement is foreseen so great and with such an enormous business behind, that the big companies that govern the internet, has decided to put some order to this transition and created Dotmobi.

    The seed is planted.

    .
    Well that is half right - the other half is this important fact: all the companies who founded .mobi are no longer involved and almost none of them use the domain.

    They all lost money and wasted time. In other words, they planted a seed, it did not grow, so they got rid of it.

    Some would say they needed to employ a competent gardener. Funny, the same Dotmobi staff are employed by the new owner of Dotmobi, the Afilias company.

    Note just how good the PR output for .co is - when did Dotmobi ever write such good copy?


    BTW I own no .co. I reckon that as with .me you will be able to pick up a few super landrush keyword drops if you want - that way I picked up a small number of super words in .me. .Co renewals are so high it will be interesting to see what happens, maybe a big dip. .Me has grown nicely this year, strong upward trend in registrations - far far better than the modest .mobi growth rate.

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  24. #24
    Senior Member ChinaMobi's Avatar
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    It appears Google's endorsement has legitimized the use of .co as a global TLD. Does the Colombian government still have control of this domain? What will happen if they change the rules?

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    I don't believe the Columbians control .co, I understood that the government effectively 'sold out' so that .co could become a global tld.

    I had many mobi's as the older members will know. I sold a few dozen and lost a packet!

    I also had numerous charity / organization mobi's which I planned to give away to help promote my portfolio and to help promote the extension... I couldn't even give them away! My only success (if you call it that) was to donate UNICEF.mobi to UNICEF.... but even that was hard work.

    Now, I have zero domains but my family have taken on a few... about 100 or so nice mobis and about 100 others, about 30 of which are .co's

    The dotco section of the portfolio is now in profit having made an end user sale of $5,000
    (whereas we haven't had a mobi enquiry for many months)

    I've been in contact with Lori Ward since the early days of dotmobi, Lori had some nice mobi domains that I thought could help the .mobi extension.... (when we were all discussing whether why.mobi or whatis.mobi etc. for an info site.... back in the good ol' days ;-)

    I do like what .co have done and I'm reading lots of good things about .co being adopted..... I'm not in a position to invest heavily in the extension, I had my chance & blew it on mobi (I don't particularly regret it... I'd probably do it again if I was sent back 5 years ;-)

    But I do think .co has a fighting chance.... in the medium/long term it'll rise way above .info / .biz etc...

    I also think mobi has an outsiders chance of picking up over the next 5 years... but I would no longer bet the rent money on it!
    Last edited by newdomainer; 07-26-2011 at 08:36 AM.

  26. #26
    Administrator Andres Kello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scandiman View Post
    http://circleid.mobi/posts/20110718_...ogle_products/
    Today .CO Internet SAS announced that Google has acquired the domain name G.CO and will use the URL to more easily connect, communicate and engage with customers by launching an official shortcut for Google's products and services.
    Ouch.

    Double ouch.
    My .mobi's: Dating.mobi | Dubai.mobi | Adult.mobi | Banking.mobi | Student.mobi | Call.mobi | Horoscope.mobi | Messenger.mobi | Classifieds.mobi | LiveTV.mobi

    Developed: Yup.mobi | Mobility
    | Why .mobi? | Banking | Vuelos | Airline Complaints | Random Site | Whois | Free Mobile Dating | Free Dictionary | Free Thesaurus | Horoscope | Astrology | Free Translation | Exchange Rates


  27. #27
    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newdomainer View Post
    I don't believe the Columbians control .co, I understood that the government effectively 'sold out' so that .co could become a global tld.
    No, per the internet demigods it's still a country code for Columbia. Contracts and marketing hype don't change the root

    http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db/co.html

  28. #28
    Senior Member DomainTalker's Avatar
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    Bravo, Andres....Well said.


    ...To paraphrase....'It was always about the marketing, stooooopid'


    .
    Last edited by DomainTalker; 07-27-2011 at 01:49 AM.

  29. #29
    Mobility Regular
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    If I were dotMobi, I would be campaigning to get all .m URLs redirected to the .mobi counterparts.

  30. #30
    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    There are no .m URLs, or any single character TLD's for that matter.

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