Web Domain Choices Grow as Digital Real Estate Expands

February 6, 2014

The Internet is stretching beyond a mostly dot-com world. New generic top-level Web domain names — everything from .guru, .ventures, .clothing, and more — began rolling out Jan. 29, and about 1,000 more are expected to be unveiled this year. The .REALTOR domain will also be part of this gradual rollout, as more businesses look for new ways to carve out their digital space on the Internet. Soon, your website will have a chance to be JohnDoe.REALTOR, instead of JohnDoe.com.

Until now, Web addresses have mostly ended with .com or .net. About 112 million Web addresses currently end with .com, compared to 15.2 million that end in .net and 10.4 million with .org, according to Internet research firm ZookNic Inc. In 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit in charge of domain names, opened the doors to expand that arena in 2014 with new generic top-level domains.

Now, the World Wide Web is widening, giving businesses the opportunity to choose distinct new Web addresses that more closely define their business, possibly making it easier for Internet users to find what they’re looking for, technology experts say.

“It introduces creativity back into the domain space,” says James Cole, a spokesman for ICANN.

After all, nearly every popular and easy-to-remember name has basically been taken on .com and .org domains, and the Internet is running out of space, some tech experts say. The new domains will possibly give more businesses and people the opportunity to pick a more fitting domain that reflects their business.

The National Association of REALTORS® will receive a license from ICANN to operate the .REALTOR domain. But NAR has not yet received the license, so a launch date for the .REALTOR domain has not yet been announced. NAR has applied for the .REALTOR domain only for NAR members (agents and brokers); local and state REALTOR® associations; association Multiple Listing Services; affiliated institutes, societies, and councils; and other NAR-approved licensees.

NAR had given members a Jan. 31 deadline to sign up to receive priority notification of the release of the new .REALTOR domain. According to NAR, about 72,000 members signed up. But if you missed the deadline for early notification, that doesn’t mean you can’t secure a .REALTOR domain.

NAR has said that it will provide the first 500,000 members who register a .REALTOR domain after its release with a free license for the first year on the first domain they register. (Pricing for additional domains is still being determined.) NAR plans to make several announcements as the .REALTOR domain becomes available, when the timing for sign-ups begins, and when packages and pricing to secure a .REALTOR domain are finalized. NAR members can check realtor.org/domain for continued updates.

Source: “Sell Bikes? There’s a Web Domain for That,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 22, 2014); “Dot-Specific Domain Names on Way to the Web,” The Boston Globe (Jan. 28, 2014); and “7 Things to Think About Before You Register That Domain,” Forbes.com (Jan. 30, 2014)

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New .REALTOR Domain Coming Soon