Colombia opens .co domain name to whole world

For the London Free Press - May 31, 2010 Read this on Canoe

You'll have to act fast to protect your brand

The country of Colombia is making its .co domain names available to those with no connection to the South American country. 

Typically, country level domains (such as .ca in Canada) can only be obtained by people within that country, or having some connection to the country. 

However, the Colombian government has recognized that the letters "co" are recognized the world over to mean company and/or corporation and has decided to cash in. 

Colombia is not the first country to do this. 

Anyone can pick up a .to domain name (Tonga) or a .cc domain name (Cocos Islands). A big success story is .tv, which brings a big annual income to the small island nation of Tuvalu. 

It is expected that first-time domain purchasers or those who have had to settle for sub-par domain names in the past will be first customers in line for .co. 

So how do you go about getting a .co domain name? 

The plan starts with a comprehensive "sunrise" period for trademark holders, a "landrush" period for those interested in names of high commercial value and finally "general availability." 

Global sunrise began on April 23 and continues through June 10. Trademark holders within valid jurisdictions can apply for exact match domain names. 

To apply for a domain name during sunrise, you need to submit evidence of ownership of a trademark of national effect from any country in the world. In other words, if you have a Canadian trademark for "widget", and it is not already taken, you can get in priority to others. 

Landrush will be held from June 21 through July 10. Anyone can apply for a domain name during this time. Single applications will be awarded at the end of the landrush and matching applications will be resolved at auction. 

Finally, general availability will begin on July 20 on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Details are at

The operators of .co are advertising strong rights protections for brand owners. More specifically, .co will implement many of the rights protection mechanisms proposed by ICANN's implementation recommendation team to safeguard the rights of brand owners around the world. 

Some of the key rights protection mechanisms and other protections announced by the .co registry include: 

  • An IP clearinghouse to help brand owners secure their brands in .co during the sunrise process in an efficient and effective manner. 
  • A policy to rapidly take down domains in cases where phishing, pharming, malware or other significant criminal and/or security threats have been established, including serial cyber-squatting. 
  • A list of specially protected marks offering added protection to leading brands that the global consulting firm of Deloitte has independently identified as having made significant efforts to protect and enforce their trademarks in the domain name space. 


It would be worthwhile considering whether a .co domain name might be useful for your business. If so, take advantage of the process to attempt to obtain it before someone else does.