To most companies, the two or three letters coming at the end of their URL probably don’t make a huge difference (with exceptions). However, the company behind the .co domain has been working to change that. In the words of vice president Lori Anne Ward, it’s trying to turn .co into “the domain about innovation.”
The company is taking another step in that direction today with the launch of its membership program. Most top-level domains, said CEO Juan Diego Calle, don’t offer “any value whatsoever other than the utility.” Calle wants .co to be more than that, so his team worked with partners to put together a package of benefits that companies get for setting up shop on .co.
Those benefits include free passes to Startup Weekend events, free tickets to other events like Eric Ries’ Lean Startup Conference and 500 Startups’ Warm Gun Conference, free access to co-working spaces (like New York City’s Projective and London’s Co-Work), free SEO consultation, and discounts on both live and online classes at General Assembly.
If you’re part of a startup trying to pick out your domain, those benefits could push you in the direction of .co. And they also help with Calle’s aim to turn .co into a real resource and community for entrepreneurs.
For now, .co will offer benefits to the first 1,000 customers who sign up at the membership site. The company will continue to tweak the program over the next few months before officially launching at the next South by Southwest.
Calle also said the number of .co domains is now approaching 1.4 million. Those include the co-working spaces mentioned above, 500 Startups, and a number of big tech companies that use the .co domains as a way to create URL shortcuts.