New TLD hopefuls should take a look at Pop.co.
.Co continues to innovate around how people register domain names and get online. Yesterday it launched a new company, Pop.co, to make the process of getting your domain and a basic web presence insanely easy.
The idea is summed up quite nicely at Pop.co:
It’s as easy as they suggest. First, you select a .co domain name to use. For my test, I chose TestingPop.co.
Then you enter your name and mobile phone number. After receiving a pin number on your mobile to confirm your information, Pop.co goes to work creating your account services:
The initial set up includes an email address with Google Apps (in my case it created firstname.lastname@example.org) as well as a basic website.
You can quickly point your domain name to one of 8 different services including Wordpress.com and Launchrock.com if you don’t want to use Pop.co’s web editor. You can also manage A records and CNAME if you want to access more services. MX records automatically point to Google services.
The included Pop.co web page editor is rather crude. It basically allows you to create a mobile friendly contact page on the web similar to a .tel page.
I found the editor to be somewhat buggy, too. If you tell it to show your address but not a map, your address won’t show up anywhere. When I opted to show the map it pinned my address at the wrong location until I changed the spacing of the words in my address. Google Maps, on the other hand, is more forgiving on address spacing.
That said, the point of using the website editor is just to get something basic up. You’ll point your address to another service as you develop your business.
If the goal is to reduce friction to reserving a domain name and getting a basic website up, Pop.co hits the mark. It’s easier than any other domain registration service because you don’t have to enter your complete contact information or credit card to start your trial and reserve your domain name. Although your name shows up in whois, the organization name is c/o Pop! Online Trial Service until your trial ends.
If you keep your domain name and related services past the 15 day trial then you pay $5 per month. (Many domainers are probably wondering if this could be used to taste domain names for a couple weeks to see if they get traffic.)
Although new top level domain name operators should check out what .co is doing, this type of service won’t be as easy on new TLDs. As a country code, .co doesn’t have to pay ICANN for registrations nor follow any of its new whois requirements. That said, the mobile phone verification and use of the trial address handles most of them.
But the idea behind the service from a registry perspective–including being able to market to trial users via text messages–may be worth emulating.