The company behind the .co domain has been working to associate .co websites with startups and innovation. Now its founders are trying to make it as easy as possible to start a business online with a new company called Pop.co.
Basically, Pop.co is a bundle of online services that should remove any barrier between coming up with a cool idea and building a web presence around that idea. This approach is particularly important in a future where entrepreneurs run "three or four micro-businesses at a time, easy come, easy go, and you don't have to keep the domain forever," said CTO Tom Lackner -- he suggested you should even be able to set all this up from your smartphone.
Lackner and CEO Juan Diego Calle gave me a quick demo of Pop.co. You just pick the .co address that you're interested in (assuming it's available, and if it's not, Pop.co will suggest alternatives), then the company automatically claims it for you, and you can either use Pop.co's simple web page editor to create the page with just a little bit of typing, or use its simple DNS editor to point the website to a page you've created on another service like LaunchRock or Barley.
That approach, Lackner said, means that it's easy to get started, but when someone needs a more sophisticated publishing system, "We don't want to build a 200 person team to take on WordPress -- I want to link to those other services."
Pop.co also signs users up for a Google Apps account at their .co address. Ultimately, Calle said he wants Pop.co to offer "a catalog of great apps that plug into your site immediately."
I wondered whether this whole "reduce friction" approach might encourage squatting on potentially valuable .co domains, but Calle argued that Pop.co's payment structure (after a free trial period, users pay a $5 a month) encourages people to sign up when they're starting an actual business, then return that domain to the general pool when and if they don't need it anymore.
Pop.co's founders have invested $1 million in the company, and they're currently splitting their time between Pop.co and .Co. Calle said the idea could eventually be expanded to include other top level domains too.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go claim anthony.co.