New .co domain name up for grabs from 26 April

Colombian domain expected to draw global interest similar to .tv

Missed out on your preferred .com domain name? No stress, you can always try .co.

Once only the domain suffix for Columbia, .co will become available to use across the globe from 26 April as part of a moves by the South American country's government to cash in on the domain extension.

The Colombian move, which mirrors the opening up of the .tv country-code top-level domain (TLD) by Tuvalu, will be undertaken by a joint company called .CO Internet SAS formed by Colombian and US organisations.

The .co extension will be released in three stages, with the first beginning 26 April called a 'Global Sunrise' aimed at companies and organisations desiring to secure their trademarks.

"Then they have a term that is referred to as 'Landrush' between 21 June and 13 July," one of nine exclusive registrars, Melbourne IT chief strategy officer, Bruce Tonkin, explained. "You don't have to have a trademark during that period and anybody can come and say they would like a particular domain name."

An auction for popular names will be held during the landrush stage and the third stage for general availability will start on 20 July.

The three-stage approach is being held to avoid cyber squatting.

For the first year the domain name will only be available from the following nine registrars:

  • Dotster
  • Network Solutions
  • Enom
  • InterNetX
  • OpenSRS
  • And Australian outfit, Melbourne IT

With 'co' often viewed as an abbreviation for 'company', Tonkin is expecting considerable uptake — and an increase in revenue heading back to Columbia.

"Certainly for countries like Tuvalu this is a major source of revenue for them," he said.

In November last year, the organisation responsible for administering Australia's domain names said it was willing to consider .au website addresses in other languages.

The move came after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced countries and territories would be able to apply to show domain names in their native language.

The Australian Domain Name Administrator (AUDA) chief executive officer, Chris Disspain, said while there were no existing provisions for non-Latin alphabet domain names in Australia, he was willing to consider it once they gain approval from ICANN.

"If we thought there was any demand for it we would certainly consider it," he told ComputerworldAustralia.

The ICANN decision was a significant technical tweak to internet design and will assist in providing Internet access to millions of people who are not able to read Latin alphabet-based languages, such as those in North Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.

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