By Peter Ricci
It was seven years ago that ICANN, the nonprofit that oversees top-level domain names, announced it would allow new domain names in addition to .com, .net and .org, and this summer, it was revealed that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) threw its hat into the domain ring, applying for three real estate-related domain names.
There are lots and lots of uncertainties accompanying NAR’s decision, so here are five things to consider about NAR’s new business plan.
- In its sales pitch to ICANN, NAR’s RIN partnered with Second Generation Ltd. for the new top-level domain names of .Realtor, .home and .realestate. Altogether, RIN spent $550,000 in the pitch.
- Even after that investment, we still don’t know if ICANN will grant NAR the right to use the domain names; three other groups bid for the .realestate domain, and 10 others, according to a recent Inman News story, bid for .home.
- If it receives the .Realtor domain, NAR has said it will allow NAR members, local and state Realtor associations, NAR-affiliated MLSs, approved licensees and other affiliated institutes, societies and councils to register for it, hopefully as early as the first or second quarter of next year.
- NAR has not said definitively how much it would charge Realtors to use the .Realtor domain. “That’s still up in the air, in part because our proposal [for .Realtor] hasn’t officially been approved by ICANN, and we can’t be sure how many of our members will want one,” said Robert Goldberg, a senior vice president with NAR, in Inman’s article. NAR has, though, floated the idea of giving a free one-year subscription to the first 500,000 members who register using their name.
- There are also an endless amount of questions involving the post-registration handling of the domain: will NAR regulate the content of the new .Realtor sites? If an agent develops an extremely successful .Realtor site – say, chicagorealestate.realtor – will he or she be allowed to sell it for a profit? And will that approach be allowed within the first free year of the registration for name-based sites, say johnsmith.realtor? And why should agents with successful .com sites even bother with an additional .Realtor site?
Questions abound, but according to Goldberg, NAR is working on it, and he’s confident with the association’s latest tech gambit.
“I have no doubt that .Realtor is going to be a success,” Goldberg said in the Inman piece. “When it becomes available, you’re going to see the Internet equivalent of a ‘land rush’ for new names that end with it.”