The Emperor’s New .Co’s

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Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new domains that he spent all his money on a vast collection. He had a domain name for everything and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in council,” here they always said. “The Emperor is on Google”.

Every day many strangers (agency types etc) came to town, and among them one day came two marketers. They let it be known that a new LTD was to be launched, and they said that everyone with a .com or would be missing out if they did not purchase a .co domain. However these domains were magical as everyone knows people always forget to put an “m” when typing a .com and completely miss out the “.uk” when they type addresses, however anyone who questioned if they would show on Google for local searches in the UK was clearly unfit for their job, or was probably stupid.

“Those would be just the domains for me,” thought the Emperor. “If I buy them I would be able to discover which people in my empire can’t see my sites on Google and so are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of these new domains right away.” He paid the two marketers a large sum of money to get all the names he wanted.

They set up many domain name companies and pretended that they would register all the domains, taking a small fee should they not be successful during the sunrise. “I’d like to know how those marketers are getting on with the domains,” the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the sites on Google of the kingdom.

“I’ll send my honest social media guru to the marketers,” the Emperor decided. “He’ll be the best to tell me using the power of the Twitter and looking deep into the Facebook, he could crowd source what’s going on, as no one is better at it”.

So the social media guru sent a tweet to the marketers, who replied via Facebook with a link so the social media guru could see the sites on Google. “Heaven help me, I am on and I can’t see any .co sites showing up.” But he did not say so.

“What do you think of the sites,” said one of the marketers. “Ah, great idea dropping the “m” and “.uk” from domains made it so much faster for me to type in to the browser” said the social media guru. The marketers at once asked for more money for more domains, and it all went into their pockets because after all they were selling a dream to people who were too late at buying a .com or domain they really wanted.

The Emperor was growing impatient, he had told the entire kingdom that his new .co sites would be live on Google soon so he went with his noblest noblemen, and the marketers pointed to the screen of results and said “these are the sites,” naming each one.

“What’s this?” thought the Emperor. “I can’t see anything listed on This is terrible! Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! – Oh! It’s great,” he said. “It has my highest approval.” And he nodded approbation at the empty screen. Nothing could make him say that he couldn’t see anything.

“Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!” were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of the marketers the front cover of the kingdoms marketing news scroll, and the title of “Sir .Co’ck”.

The Emperor was now ready to let his subjects see his latest domains, they could now go on and find his sites. The Emperor told everyone via his Facebook page about his new .co domains and asked for feedback. Everyone pressed like and left comments “Oh, how great are the Emperor’s new .co’s! Aren’t they so easy to find on!” Nobody would confess that they couldn’t see anything, for that would prove them either unfit for their position, or a fool.

“But I have been on Google Webmaster Tools and you can’t change the Geographic target associated with .co as they are automatically set by Google as being in Colombia,” a little child posted.

“Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said his Father in a follow up comment, “where is the unlike my child button”. And all of a sudden one person tweeted to another what the child has said, “You can’t set the country on a .co, Google rightly thinks they are in Colombia”

“You can’t” the whole kingdom of real Internet experts cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “Dam I spent a fortune on these quicker to type in than .com or domains, that are great for branding as I finally can get poor man’s version of the .com/ I really wanted, guess I best flip them to some clueless Emperor before they all find out.”


This was of course an adaptation of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen, hope you enjoyed it and remember folks, just cause it looks and sounds shiny doesn’t mean it will sparkle when you get it 😉

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Dom Hodgson

    I love you Clarke 🙂 Don’t ever change mate 🙂

  2. Diane

    Having read how many people were planning to buy them and flip them, I decided this was one bubble I would ignore!

  3. tommy

    supperb totally true

  4. Carl

    I completely stayed away from them – I personally think for some reason they look ugly also – I wont be buying any….well for now…… 🙂

  5. tommy

    Must admit I bought about 8 .co domains mostly for the fact im a sucker, just like .mobi .tv . info then again reg fee is fine not like real suckers who spend $200.000 on a .mobi

    its all a con then again maybe I should tld the .con
    for every jailbird could have there own .con domain then we could con the con artists by selling .con as main choice away from com. .co .cm

  6. Wardy

    Ha brilliant Clarke. Had been tempted to buy some myself but didn’t, was actually searching earlier for any decent ones as still tempted…

    So do you not think that webmaster tools will ever be able to allow to change their location away from Columbia?

  7. Clarke

    @Wardy I would suspect it could happen at some point and just because you can’t change the location on Webmaster Tools doesn’t mean you can’t get to show in local Google results, just host it on a UK IP and get the majority of your links in to be from UK sites and you should be sorted. Same for any country, problem is not everyone will know that, and Google has not got an easy job on its hands to say what country your domain name should be showing up for.

  8. Fraser Edwards

    Brilliant mate – can’t wait till you rewrite some more fairy tales 🙂

  9. Clarke

    Yeah could do “Beauty and the PPC Beast” or “The Wonderful Wizard of Vouchers” or “The Little Network” … so many opportunities LOL 😉

    And doh, missed an opportunity to pimp ok so here it is, pimping!

  10. Lee

    I was going to get the brand of my major competitor as they’ve got a .com and I could have the .co – could have been interesting.

  11. Mark Boyd

    Brilliant stuff Clarke!

    I’ll be honest…I attempted to reg a couple but only cause if I pulled it off I could easily flip to some numpty! Ho hum!

    See you tomorrow mate 🙂

  12. Rob

    Agreed, total waste of time.

    Depressing that people will be wasting cash based on hype.

  13. Steven Marwick

    Avoided like the plague myself, brilliant post mate, loved it.

  14. rishil

    LOL ROFL – that was a brilliant pice.

  15. Saurav

    LMAO nice piece Clarke, whoever has already bought it, they just wasted their money.

  16. jezza101

    I too don’t appreciate the hype, but I don’t think a .co is necessarily a waste if bought for the right reasons.

    If you pay a standard registration fee and build up a site on that domain then it is as valuable as any other. It won’t be a short cut to wealth but it won’t be a waste of money either.

    Besides, if Google is genuinly concerned with ranking the highest quality sites then domain name+TLD should be low down on their list of signals. Let’s be honest, most keyword domains have awful affiliate sites with limited or no content (and I own a few!).

    Limiting the net to a handful of TLDs is just going to hold back the development of the web. It is rediculous to think that someone has to make up an obscure name for their site just becuase all the good names were snapped up before they were even born.

    The problem is so easily solved and I hope that more and more TLDs will be rolled out in time. This will eventually mean no one (including Google) will care about TLDs! I can’t wait.

    Of course owners of prime .com and addresses will resist this massively, it will be in their interest to constrain things as much as possible to maintain the value of their existing web property.

    Nice post 🙂

  17. Trond Sorvoja

    Thanks. It is good to have people speak out against this madness. I hate seeing business owners deceived by clever marketers. A .co domain is worthless in terms of “SEO-value” unless you target the Columbian marked.
    Someone might want one of these domains for another reason like e-mail, but the truth is that domain marketers are outright lying to business owners.

  18. Rich

    There’s only one set of winners in the .co shenanigans, and that’s the domain registrars. I saw them at 19 quid for a year.. Kerching!!!!

  19. Dean

    Bought a .co and sold it for a small profit! I won 🙂

  20. john doe

    awesome post. Ive a client who seems desperate to own (and use) th .co of her current domain. I told her it was a columbian locale, and she could own it by all means, but never use it. Scoff, said she, as i had noone to back me up. Link sent, n if you’re reading this comment Di, i told you so.

  21. Tony

    Does anything change your perspective Clarke? Now that google are allowing geotargetting of the .co tld?

    Quote: “You can’t set the country on a .co, Google rightly thinks they are in Colombia”

    “You can’t” the whole kingdom of real Internet experts cried out at last.

    Looks like the internet ‘experts’ aren’t as clever as they thought they were?

    I believe that the only people poo-pooing the .co are people who didn’t buy any 🙂

  22. Clarke

    Hey Tony, yes facts change my perspective 🙂

    Are your referring to the article in PC Pro if so if you look at my comments up the page you will see that I do state the following in reply to Wardy “I would suspect it could happen at some point and just because you can’t change the location on Webmaster Tools doesn’t mean you can’t get to show in local Google results, just host it on a UK IP and get the majority of your links in to be from UK sites and you should be sorted.”

    As was also pointed out on that article, “Although it’s still disappointing how the domain has been advertised without it actually being ‘fit for purpose’ from the go,”

    And so you know several people who replied here have bought .co domains, they speculating that they will have value and indeed many do, but let’s not forget the fact that having the .com or of the name you really want will be worth loads more than the .co version.

  23. Tony

    I agree that the .com will be worth more in resale terms, but, it may not be worth a penny more in ‘brand’ terms.

    The worth more? For now I think you may be right, but, this is a fast moving world and if you sit still too long, you will become moss-covered.

    Time will tell, but, I have a sneaking feeling that .co will overtake .co.xx in terms of popularity.

    I’m not referring to the pcpro article , I’m looking at my .co’s in GWMT and the fact that they can now be geo-targetted.

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