University of Colombia, registrar of the ".co" ccTLD, wants to sell the new dot com

July 24, 2001 10:31 AM   Subscribe

University of Colombia, registrar of the ".co" ccTLD, wants to sell the new dot com
The University of Columbia is in charge of assigning names to Columbian domains, and it wants to get in on the same act as Tuvalu, Togo, and the US. Dissenters say its a public trust. Of course, much like newly minted TLDs like .biz etc., will of course want, and so on. Is there no solution?
posted by rschram (13 comments total)
Uh, not to be nit-picky, but according to the article, it is the University of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia which administers ".co", not the University of Columbia. Big difference.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 10:50 AM on July 24, 2001

No, that's a fair observation -- at least I didn't say "Columbia University!"
posted by rschram at 10:52 AM on July 24, 2001

There's also a big difference between "Colombia" and "Columbia". Sorry. It's a pet peeve.
posted by jpoulos at 11:23 AM on July 24, 2001

simple solution: add a new layer atop DNS, which maps corporate brands to hostnames. Administer this layer much like a trademark office - make businesses pay to register these names and maintain that registration. Give each nation's brandspace to that nation's trademark office. Some PTOs may wish to automatically enter trademark registrations into brandspace as well.

Convert current corporate domain ownership to a spot in this new brandspace scheme. Then return DNS to its designed capacity: to map names to nodes and networks, not to dot-coms, movies and marketing campaigns.

Classify brandspace much like trademark space is classified. This has the added bonus of removing the ambiguity across trademark classes: i.e. National Rent-a-Car, National Semiconductor, and National Cash Register both have trade rights to the term "National" in different classes, but only one can have Brandspace fixes this by allowing the real world disambiguity ("I want a car, not an inventory solution") to be reflected in the brand name mapping space.

Big losers: NetSol and all the registrars that are getting rich off all those entrepreneurs that want to be the next, but hey, they don't have a natural right to profit off the sale of an artificially scarce, artificial commodity. The domain-name auction industry. Squatters (which I would argue are simply a superset of the first two).

I'm sure I read something about a scheme like this elsewhere.
posted by Vetinari at 11:27 AM on July 24, 2001

There have been some domains, like .nu and .cx that have been available for a number of years. They realized that more money could be made by opening up the domain name to people outside the country. I know a number of people who picked up the .nu domains because at the time you only had to register them for one year and the cost was a lot lower.

As far as companies protecting their brand, Yahoo has registered a .nu, but Microsoft has not. This might have something to do with yahoo having services for many different countries (ie Canada).
posted by dave at 12:07 PM on July 24, 2001

The URL ``'' is not a valid Yahoo! URL.
You probably want the following URL:

Not the case for Yahoo in .nu
posted by rschram at 12:37 PM on July 24, 2001

I can't figure out why a solution is needed, because I can't see a problem.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:47 PM on July 24, 2001

because I can't see a problem. It could be viewed as a logistical problem rather than a social one...
posted by rschram at 12:52 PM on July 24, 2001

If you check out the domain info you'll see that is registered by Yahoo Inc. The site is part of the Yahoo network they just haven't set up a regional Yahoo site for the island of Nieu.
posted by dave at 4:25 PM on July 24, 2001

Vetinari, I believe RealNames comes closest to real-world implementation of you idea. Not that it does so very well or equitably...
posted by fooljay at 6:30 PM on July 24, 2001

Hasn't MeFi already covered the whole, "ICANN can't" issue?
posted by Ptrin at 6:31 PM on July 24, 2001

I'm trying to think of how extensive a Yahoo! for Nieu would be. (It's a tiny island in free association with New Zealand, where many of its residents live, the phosphate industry having died out.)

Just as the .tv, .nu and .cx deals have been profitable for the people in whose name they are presumed to be entrusted, I would only support this if Colombia were getting something really worthwhile. Is .co really going to become that popular? Perhaps. How often will there be namespace collisions? Is there going to be a reserved alternative for Colombian citizens, or will they be priced out of the market for domains?

I'm really disturbed that this is apparently mainly going to benefit the registrar, the university. What does the Colombian government think?
posted by dhartung at 9:40 PM on July 24, 2001

Silly people: a glut of domain names is just around the corner. Relax.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:43 PM on July 24, 2001

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