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Some in the domain industry (read: domainers) are up in arms about the recent announcement by Overstock.com that it would slow down its rebranding to O.co. Given the amount of speculation and commenting going on about this within that community, I felt it was appropriate to reach out to Overstock.com and get a clear picture of what is going. Here you go:
Why did Overstock.com first begin using O.co?
When Overstock.com started twelve years ago we only sold surplus inventory. However, as our business model has evolved, Overstock.com is no longer just an online liquidator. Because “overstock” implies surplus or liquidation inventory, it no longer accurately reflected who we are today as a company.
Our offerings now span from cars to insurance, and include first-run brand name apparel, electronics and home décor. We wanted an identity that more accurately reflects how the company has evolved; hence we embraced O.co to reflect the direction in which we are heading.
Why are you shifting your brand emphasis back to Overstock.com? When does this shift become effective on the website and social media channels?
We have been listening to our customers and have learned that they we’ve moved too quickly in the transition. They are telling us that we’ve done it too fast. So we are going to down shift one gear by re-emphasizing Overstock.com and noting that O.co continues to be a shortcut to our site. Internationally, we will keep using O.co exclusively. O.co will still be promoted through our mobile website and our iPad application. The shift in emphasis began showing up on the website and our social media channels in early November.
What had the initial reaction been like from your customers?
Re-branding takes time and we certainly didn’t expect the new name to be adopted overnight. We were pleased with the early customer acceptance of O.co as a shortcut for Overstock.com and thus moved the rebranding efforts to the next gear. Many customers reacted positively, and others expressed that the transition was happening too quickly. What we learned was that we haven’t yet adequately transferred the decade of brand equity we have in Overstock.com. So, we’re down-shifting the re-branding effort in order to leverage and transfer that brand equity.
The .CO domain is fairly new and Overstock was taking a big risk as the only company to use the domain as part of its brand. Thoughts?
It is true that Overstock.com was the first online company to use the .CO as part of its brand. This put Overstock.com at the forefront of digital marketing. The decision to use a .CO domain in such a big way underscored our willingness to lead the market and to disrupt the status quo.
So when will you become O.co? Is that still on the cards?
We expect that O.co will continue to emerge as our brand over time. It will be a gradual transition, and may take a few years. We didn't want to risk throwing out the brand equity we've built with Overstock.com. Ideally, in time you'll just see Overstock.com fade away and O.co take its place.
What about O.CO Coliseum, will that be re-named as well? Wasn’t it Overstock.com Coliseum to begin with?
We won’t be changing the name. The name will remain “O.co Coliseum”.
There you have it folks. A blip on the radar. As I've mentioned in the past, .CO is part of a marathon, not a sprint.
But if you're a .CO fan and interested in something actually worthy of news, Om Malik, founder of GigaOm just rebranded to .CO. In case you don't know who Om Malik is, well, he has 1.2 million Twitter followers. To top that off, Kloud.CO was featured on CNN, Quarterly.CO is blowing up in social media, and Founder Institute, the worlds largest pre-seed incubator is now living at FI.CO. Not too shabby!
If you're interested in seeing more of the latest entrepreneurs and companies building on a .CO domain, check out Opportunity.CO.