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.REALTOR Top Level Domain (TLD) FAQ

Updated March 2014

Q: Why is NAR pursuing a TLD for real estate?

A: To make it easier for home buyers, sellers and investors to locate a trusted valued source of real estate information, resources and services online, NAR has applied for the branded .REALTOR top-level domain (TLD) as an alternative to the commonly used .com and .org.

NAR believes the new domain name will create a more positive experience for consumers who are seeking expert information and services and want to ensure they are working with a REALTOR®, a real estate professional committed to abide by a strict Code of Ethics. Given the Internet’s convenience and round-the-clock accessibility, REALTORS® know that every year a growing number of consumers turn to the Internet as a source of information. According to NAR research, nearly nine out of 10 recent buyers used the Internet in their home search process.

NAR has also entered into an exclusive marketing partnership with The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the exclusive licensors of the REALTOR® mark in Canada. REALTOR® members of CREA will also be able to use the domain, making .REALTOR truly North American in scope.

NAR, through Real Estate Domains LLC (RED), has filed with ICANN for the .REALTOR TLD. RED was created for the sole purpose of applying for and operating the .REALTOR TLD.

Q: Why is this important to REALTORS®?

A: When a consumer visits a .REALTOR domain in the future we want them to be assured that the registrant is a credible, trusted information source and real estate professional. In the U.S. only real estate licensees, who are members of NAR and subscribe to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics can call themselves REALTORS®. REALTORS® are the most trusted, valued source for real estate related information, and the .REALTOR TLD will extend that trust on-line. In Canada the same will be true for CREA members and the CREA Code of Ethics.

The top-level domain will also deliver additional branding and marketing value to REALTOR® members and affiliates.

Q: When will the .REALTOR domain become available?

A: We currently are finalizing the process of being awarded .REALTOR, and once the .REALTOR license has been secured, we will be able to set a launch date. Updated information will be provided at www.REALTOR.org/domain as soon as it is available. We anticipate a Q3 2014 launch.

Q: Who will be eligible to register one?

A: Domains in the new extensions would be available for registration to REALTOR® members (agents and brokers); local and state REALTOR® associations; association multiple listing services; affiliated institutes, societies and councils; and other NAR-approved licensees.

Q: How much will they cost?

A:  NAR is currently planning to provide members who register with a complimentary first year subscription to one domain name. Members would be able to secure a .REALTOR domain using their name on a first come first served basis. Further details, including pricing for additional domains and other related products will be announced prior to launch.

Q: What is the priority registration list?

A: Priority registration for the .REALTOR domain was offered to members of NAR and CREA to express interest in securing a new domain(s) for use in their real estate business. Between Nov. 7, 2013 and Jan. 31, 2014, members had the opportunity to add their name on a priority list. Members on the priority list will have the opportunity to be first to secure domains when they become available during a 72-hour period prior to general launch. Members participating in the priority registration did not pre-register specific domains, and this opportunity was limited to members. It did not include domains for firms, associations, or MLSs.

Q: I believe I’m on the priority registration list, is there a way to verify this?

A: When members visited www.signupfordotrealtor.com and submitted their first and last name and email address, they received two verifications of their participation: 1) On-screen “Thank You” acknowledgement that the submission was received, and 2) auto-response email from the following email address:

From: .Realtor SignUp [mailto:info@signupfordotrealtor.com]
Subject: .REALTOR Domain Priority Registration sign-up acknowledgment

NOTE: Replies to “info@signupfordotrealtor.com” are not monitored.

Members on the list will receive additional details on the registration process as they become available. We will begin sending periodic .REALTOR updates to members on the priority list the first week in April, as well as distributing this information through NAR’s communication channels. To keep up on the latest updates regarding the .REALTOR domain launch you can also bookmark www.REALTOR.org/domain and follow NAR’s various communication channels.

If you did not receive a confirmation email, you will want to check your spam or junk folder and add this sender to your safe contacts list as that is the email address that will be used to send additional communications to members on the priority list.

Q: How do I secure a domain if I missed the priority registration?

A: While the opportunity to be included in the .REALTOR priority registration closed on January 31, 2014, members will still have an opportunity to claim one of 500,000 free .REALTOR domains using their name for the first year. To keep up on the latest updates regarding the .REALTOR domain launch we recommend bookmarking www.REALTOR.org/domain, and subscribing to NAR communications, such as the NAR Weekly Report.

Q: What happens to my .REALTOR domain if I’m no longer a member?

A: A particular domain name will only be licensed to someone while they maintain membership in good standing, and choose to keep the domain. When a domain is relinquished it will go back into the pool that would be available to a member that qualifies for that name. The business rules and Terms of Use will explain this in detail when they are released and published on the domain registration site.

Q: Domain resellers are offering .REALTOR domains now, can I reserve one there?

A: No. Various domain sellers such as GoDaddy are beginning to promote pre-registration of domains which may become available soon. None of these domain sellers have a relationship with NAR for the sale of .REALTOR domains.

NAR members should not pre-register or pay money to an outside company for a .REALTOR top level domain. Only NAR will oversee registrations for .REALTOR, and only NAR members are eligible for a .REALTOR domain. Membership will be verified via NRDS ID at the time of registration.

You may have also heard about a company promoting use of the top-level “country code” domain .RE as a place to distinguish real-estate professionals. Be aware that neither this company, nor the .RE top-level domain, is affiliated in any way with NAR.

Q: Will a firm/office be able to reserve a domain name?

A: Yes, the designated REALTOR® for an office will be able to reserve a domain for the firm/office when they become available. At this time we anticipate that domains will be released in phases, with domains using member names offered first, followed by firm/office domains, and then Associations, MLSs and other eligible parties. Details on how that process will work are still being finalized. Registration of firm/office domains, just as member domains will be based on their name in NRDS. The business rules for naming conventions and other registration details will be provided in advance of their availability.

Q: Can Associations and REALTOR® Owned & Operated MLSs secure a .REALTOR domain?

A: Yes, Associations and MLSs will have an opportunity to reserve domain name(s). We anticipate that domains will be released in several phases, with domains using member names offered first, followed by firm/office domains, and then Associations, MLSs and other eligible parties. Boards and Associations participating in the promotion of the .REALTOR domain to their members will also have an opportunity to be recognized with a free .REALTOR domain as a benefit. Details on this program are being finalized and will be communicated to all Boards and Associations as soon as they are available. This includes the business rules for Association naming conventions.  Resources for Boards and Associations to use in communicating with members about .REALTOR, as well as a platform for sharing ideas with colleagues are also being developed.

Q: Are realtor.com® and Move participating in the .REALTOR domain?

A: Yes, they are very supportive of this effort for our industry, and have developed a free web site template for use with member domains and pre-populated with an agent’s listings and other exciting features.

Q: What are Geographic domain names?

A: Geographic domains are domain names that refer to a particular location. They may include a place, neighborhood, city, county, state, street address, zip code, or area code.

Q: Will Geographic domain names be available for license?

A:  No, all geo-specific domain names will be reserved for future use to benefit the entire industry, such as the Find a REALTOR® directory, or to search listings on realtor.com®, etc. Members and member boards with geographic terms in their names may be permitted to use such terms, but these requests may require manual review and approval.

Q: What are the key benefits of doing this?

A: REALTORS® and consumers will benefit in the following ways:

  1. A .REALTOR TLD will bring order and consistency to the currently disorganized real estate space on the Internet.
  2. Establishes a branded destination for consumers, ensuring they’re dealing with a REALTOR®.
  3. Empowers NAR to set standards of professionalism and use that differentiates the .REALTOR domain from all others.
  4. Builds a TLD that establishes .REALTOR as the trusted source when searching for real estate information on-line.
  5. Provides an Internationally recognizable brand to differentiate REALTORS® and the organized real estate community from others.
  6. Positions REALTORS® with a competitive edge in the on-line real estate space, potentially enabling future creation of a search engine making it easier for consumers to locate REALTORS® and real estate services.
  7. Offers individual REALTORS® a unique solution to further leverage their on-line brand, with the added support of a stronger REALTOR® brand.
  8. Strengthens and supports existing broker and franchise brands, while concurrently leveraging the REALTOR® brand.

Q: Is it anticipated that REALTORS® will cease using existing .com and .org domains once the .REALTOR domain become available?

A:  No, members will be able to continue using their current domain names for as long as they wish. Over time, members may choose to redirect traffic to their new .REALTOR domains as consumer search patterns and full adoption advance. 

A new era is dawning in the use of the Internet. While the expansion in number of TLDs is not expected to affect the way the Internet operates, it will potentially change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence.

Q: Who is ICANN?

A:  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was formed as an International organization in 1998 to coordinate the Internet’s unique identifiers around the world. They develop policies dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable.

In early 2011, ICANN approved an expansion of the number of generic TLDs, which included allowing companies and organizations to create domains for their brands.  NAR has been following this initiative since ICANN first began considering the introduction of a new round of gTLDs in 2005.

Q: Who is Second Generation LTD?

A: Second Generation, Ltd. (Second Gen) is an Embrescia family investment firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and the owner and registry operator for the top-level domain .jobs, which is sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management. As an early adopter, NAR has partnered and worked closely with Second Gen for over 7 years, throughout the gTLD application, review and development process to bring the .REALTOR solution to the real estate industry. For over three decades, Second Gen and its affiliates have owned and operated FCC licensed radio and television properties serving markets throughout the United States as well as investing in manufacturing, real estate and medical innovations.

Q: Is applying for a new gTLD the same as buying a domain name?*

A: No. Currently organizations and individuals around the world can register second-level and, in some cases, third level domain names. The application for a new gTLD is a much more complex process. An applicant for a new gTLD is, in fact, applying to create and operate a registry business supporting the Internet’s domain name system. This involves a number of significant responsibilities, as the operator of a new gTLD is running a piece of visible Internet infrastructure.

Q: What is a top-level domain (TLD)?*

A: Every domain name around the world ends with a top-level domain (TLD); these are the two or more letters that come after the dot. There are currently two types of TLDs: generic top-level domain (gTLDs) such as .com, .mobi, and .info, and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) such as .uk, .br, and .cn. A gTLD or a ccTLD is managed by a registry operator, an organization that maintains the registry database, including the nameserver information for names registered in the TLD.

Q: What are second-level and third-level domain names?*

A: The portion of the domain name that precedes the top-level domain is called the second-level domain name (for example, the "icann" in "icann.org"). There are also third-level domain names that appear before the second-level domain name and again are separated by a dot (for example, events.icann.org). Third-level domain names are also called sub-domains and are often used to categorize special sections of a website.

Q: What is a gTLD?*

A: gTLD stands for generic Top-Level Domain. What Internet users see as an Internet extension such as .com, .org, or .info. They are part of the structure of the Internet's domain name system. The gTLDs are also sometimes called labels, strings, or extensions.

Q: Where can I learn more?

A: For the latest updates, a video, and the latest additions to these FAQ visit: www.REALTOR.org/domain. You can also subscribe to NAR communications, like the NAR Weekly Report to stay up-to-date.

To learn more about domains, visit the Domain Name Association’s web site at: www.WhatDomain.org, or check out NAR’s Field Guide to Top Level Domains.

* Source ICANN gTLD Domains Fact Sheet.

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