What is the nation of Colombia most known for? Juan Valdez (the dude with the black mustache dreamed up by Mad men to hawk coffee), FARC–the People’s guerilla army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia)–or the Top Level Domain .co, branded by a flying pig to exemplify that “anything is possible”?
That .co, launched only in 2009 by Internet entrepreneur (and native Colombian) Juan Diego Calle is now boasting annual revenues of $25 million, is testament to determination, the power of a simple idea, and hard work. A year earlier, Juan had a “lightbulb moment” in the realization that with good .com names having become scarcer than hen’s teeth, .co–short for “company”–was a no-brainer waiting to happen.
That Calle was a native son made application to the Colombian government a little easier. Going up against against established companies like Verisign and preparing a 1,165 page bid in order to be awarded the business was considerably tougher. But, along with Neustar, an Internet DNS whom he partnered with, Calle scored big, based his new company in Miami and has since racked up 1.4 million dominion registrations.
It certainly was a lucky break when Go Daddy jumped on board in 2010 and made .co its default extension for new domain registrations, following Twitter and AngelList, which had scored t.co and angel.co respectively.
Now, Calle has his work cut out for him, looking not just for volume but for the next blockbuster social media or Web start-up to partner with. As a hedge against giants like Google and Amazon, .co has reportedly applied for rights to 13 other TLDs such as .inc, .llc, .law, .book, .web and .law. While Calle is not assured of getting all of these, $25 million in cash flow and a flying pig are betting otherwise.