The .CO Movement: Starting Up At Rana.co, Luxr.co, Tailored.co

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By Lori Anne Wardi (Vice President, .CO) I joined the .CO team way back in 2008, when we were putting together the bid to win the right to launch the .CO domain globally. Our little startup won the right to administer .CO in 2009, beating out industry giants like Verisign, which runs the .com and .net domain extensions. What a great coup! I was passionate about our mission from the very start – and continue to be so to this day.

So what is .CO? Some call it a "domain name" or a "web address," others use more technical terms like "extension", "url" or "TLD". But to a growing community of the world's most creative and innovative thinkers, .CO is simply the place they call "home" online.

Short, memorable and credible, .CO is the hot, new "dot" ending for web addresses around the world. Offering exciting naming options for your business, brand or blog – .CO is where your big ideas belong.

Have you ever tried to build or create something cool online – a business, brand or blog – only to be stumped in the 11th hour because the domain name you want and need is already taken? And then, you try to buy the domain name from the person who owns it, and they ask you to pay a price so high it would require you to mortgage your house?

We’ve all been there. It’s a total buzz kill! Let’s face it, with nearly 100 million .com domain names registered and a 25 year old history, the legacy .com domain is pretty much all filled up. Until now, startups have been forced to pay astronomical prices – or worse, to settle for web addresses that they didn’t really want – with crazy spellings or silly made-up words that defy explanation – just for the privilege of getting online.

Thanks to .CO, those days are over! With .CO it’s different. You can build the business of your dreams – on the perfect web address – without having to settle just for what’s “leftover” in .com. Everyday thousands of innovators, creators and entrepreneurs are building the future on .CO.

And as I gear up to attend the Women 2.0 Pitch Conference in San Francisco, I’m proud to say that more and more of these shining .CO stars are women.

Let me introduce you to just a few inspiring women who are building the future on .CO.

First, meet Rana June Sobhany – a charismatic young musician with a flair for innovation and a booming entrepreneurial spirit. Her programming knowledge combined with her creativity and passion for music led to her using two iPads to mix, produce and create music in a way that had never been seen before. It took many by surprise, others were skeptical and some even doubted she could be called a “DJ”. But, this fearless master of innovation trekked forward with her art – and is now known the world over as “the iPad DJ.”

If you want to learn more about Rana June, check out the feature stories about her in Wired Magazine, CNN and beyond – or visit her on her website at (of course) Rana.co. These days, Rana.co might be the only place to catch her as she and her two iPads travel the world from Iceland to Toronto and from London to Amsterdam. I just love watching Rana’s career evolve, and think her story is a great inspiration for everyone to follow their dreams!

Next, I’d like you to meet Janice Fraser, founder and CEO of Luxr.co, an incubator that concentrates on the lean startup philosophy. Founded in 2010 to transform early stage companies, the focus of LUXr is on creating high-performance product teams in startups.

Janice, an entrepreneur and interaction designer for web and mobile products, has a ton of experience raising capital and founding startups so it’s no surprise that LUXr has successfully launched a number of programs to help startup teams thrive. From the 10-Week Lean UX Residency program to coaching and mentoring, Luxr.co provides a wealth of resources to early-stage entrepreneurs. Keep an eye out for Janice because she spreads her knowledge not only through LUXr but also by frequently speaking at conferences and universities. She’s undoubtedly an astounding woman that you want to get to know!

The .CO era is moving full speed ahead to become the domain extension of choice for startups. It’s no wonder that we’re beginning to see startups that had a web address they may not have been in love with, completely rebrand to a .CO that they absolutely adore.

I’d like to introduce you to another .CO star, Sara Morgan, the co-founder of Tailored.co, which was once DressRush, a 500 Startups accelerator class member that few had ever heard of. When DressRush tweeted a link to its unconventional pitch deck things changed drastically. It went viral and before long it had loads of investors itching to know more. Sara, previously a director of marketing, chose to completely rebrand the uber-successful startup to Tailored.co. Offering the most advanced personalized platform for wedding discoveries and inspirations, Tailored.co members can find the runway looks they love without breaking the bank. The daily-curated sales feature some of the most coveted products and services at a great price. What began as one woman with a brilliant idea is now another successful startup that calls .CO home.

As a female entrepreneur myself, I love the startup life and look to the intelligent and innovative women around me for inspiration to continue moving forward with the .CO movement. Having a network of female entrepreneurs to look to for support is priceless.

I’ll be attending the Women 2.0 Conference this year and could not be more excited to be surrounded by the great minds like those behind Rana.co, Luxr.co and Tailored.co – it is sure to be an empowering experience! I hope to see you there!

Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Lori Anne Wardi is Vice President of .CO. She is responsible for marketing strategy, business development and global communications and outreach. Lori Anne began her career as an attorney at Proskauer LLP, a top tier national law firm, where she counseled executives on the full gamut of federal and state employment laws. She has held positions including Global Manager of Training and Professional Development for the Technology Division of Goldman Sachs and founded multiple consultancies.