In the latest on the march to rebrand Overstock.com as O.co, the company this week launched O.info, which it is billing as a portal for customer reviews of Overstock.com's—excuse me—O.co's products and services, as well as information about company policies.
As I wrote last November, following consumer confusion over whether to use the domain name Overstock.com or O.co to access the company's website, Overstock announced that it was "stepping back" from its O.co domain. With this latest development, the company appears to be forwarding its rebranding efforts once again. It probably doesn't help with the consumer confusion issue that Overstock.info has been registered to various third parties since 2004.
Despite the inconsistencies and confusion surrounding the O.co rebranding, Overstock's use of the .INFO gTLD as a platform to deliver information and reviews to consumers is an intuitive and memorable use of the gTLD and, with the right marketing, just might be successful—not to mention help its languishing cousin, O.co.
Remember a few months back when online retailer Overstock.com started promoting a new domain name O.co? It began by touting it as its "new shortcut," but recently launched an advertising push declaring "Overstock.com is now O.co." It even had the name of the Oakland NFL/MLB stadium, the Overstock.com Coliseum, changed to the O.Co Coliseum.
But now, according to a recent article in Advertising Age, Overstock is backing off the O.co push, and returning to Overstock.com in online ads and television ads for the holiday season.
Overstock's president Jonathan Johnson was quick to point out that the retailer is not abandoning the short domain altogether – rather, it is just "stepping back" from it temporarily. Apparently, even though consumers appeared to respond well to the O.co ads, many were confused when it came time to type the domain into their browsers. Instead of O.co, a "good portion" of consumers typed in O.com. Like all one-character .COM domains, O.com is not available for registration. So Overstock has decided it will continue its transition to O.co, just at a slower pace; for now it will use the domain for international and mobile efforts.
When .CO Internet S.A.S decided to open up .CO, the ccTLD for Colombia, to second-level registrations by any person or entity in the world in July 2010, some began claiming that it would be a good alternative to .COM. (Previously, entities had to register domains at the third level, using domains like Domain.com.co or Domain.org.co.) And yet, even with a retail giant actively promoting a .CO domain name, many U.S.-based Internet users still default to .COM.
According to Opportunity.co, more than one million .CO domain names have been registered, but that still pales in comparison to the nearly 100 million registered .COM domain names. In fact, many established companies registered their brand names in .CO as more of a defensive move to prevent cybersquatting. While some newer ventures opted to go with .CO (perhaps because the .COM version of their name was taken), it's clear from the O.co case that the ccTLD hasn't really caught on to the extent that some believed it would.