How a Colombian internet address became the online home for startups


Quartz

This item has been corrected.

In less than four years, more than 1.6 million individuals and businesses, mostly start-ups, have created a website with an address ending with .co. That is a staggering number for a new top-level domain (the last bit of a web address). Contrast that with .biz, which was introduced in 2000 and by April last year had chalked up just 2.4 million registrations.

People went to .co because, on .com, with over 111 million registrations, the short, simple names are mostly taken. They went also because .co is one letter shorter than .com, which matters in the age of Twitter. But most of all, they went because some very canny marketing convinced them that it’s where sexy, innovative start-ups go.

Of course, .co is not a new top-level domain like the 1,000 or more being introduced this year; it’s a country domain that was

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