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Breaking: Neustar retains .co registry, at a cost

Neustar will continue operating .co but at much less favorable terms.

Graphic that states 'breaking news'

.Co Internet SaS, part of Neustar, will get to run the .co domain name registry after all.

Last year, MinTIC, Columbia’s Ministry of Information Technology (MinTIC), said it was putting the contract out to bid. Rivals lined up with hopes of cashing in on the popular domain extension.

The domain name wasn’t a global success when .Co Internet originally started running it in 2010; it spent heavily on marketing the domain name over the past decade, including in three Super Bowl commercials.

Neustar believed it had a right to a ten-year contract extension and filed a $350 million claim with the government of Colombia.

The parties settled the dispute, with MinTIC awarding a new contract to .Co Internet. The terms are very different from the first time around, though.

The government said it received about 6%-7% under the previous model and will now receive 81%.

Other terms have changed. First, it appears to be a five-year deal. Second, Colombia’s government will get more involved going forward. Here’s how Google Translate translated the relevant statement:

The selected contractor will operate the domain registration for the next 5 years after completing the transition process to the new operating model. In the future, the Ministry will be in charge of its administration through a group dedicated to Internet governance with technical personnel with knowledge and ability to manage and administer the domain. A fundamental change compared to the previous contract that contemplated the concession of the two components: the administrative and the operational.

[This story has been updated to clarify Colombia’s role going forward.]

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  1. John McCormac says

    Interesting change of terms on the %s. It would seem that the Colombian government underestimated the value of .CO as a repurposed ccTLD. The problem, in commercial terms, is that it is no longer 2010 and the .CO has a lot of brand protection registrations that may provide a lot of its repeating revenue. Getting new registrations and retaining them might be more difficult.

    It looks like a government policy and oversight panel with the registry running the business. Some ccTLDs have a similar model but it it is often based on the local businesses and organisations providing input and oversight on policy matters. The .CO is a repurposed ccTLD and that makes it a lot more complex in terms of striking the right balance between local and non-local.

  2. Mike says

    Wouldn’t this make the stake for the registry operator worth so much less given they have to give pretty much all the revenue to Colombia.

    .co investments seem to be worth a lot less given if a renewal is $50, $40 goes to Colombia, and $10 to neutrar, I mean to maintain their same dollar margin under the current 7%, they need like $80 renewals?

    • Snoopy says

      Watch as marketing dries up, the extension was already sinking after peaking a few years ago.

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