Technology

Success.Bank: New Top-Level Domain Drives Thousands of Sign-ups

By / Jul 7, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The new “.bank” top-level domain, being managed by a number of trade groups, has seen thousands of sign-ups over a short period, despite the high costs and strict regulatory standards. The promise of security appears to be the main driver of success so far.

The world of banking is chomping at the bit for a new top-level domain. The reason? Security.

The new “.bank” domain, which was made widely available late last month, has already drawn thousands of sign-ups in just a few days, building on the early momentum of a monthlong sunrise period [PDF] that started in May.

fTLD Registry Services, a collaboration between the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the Financial Services Roundtable—whose control of the .bank domain was first revealed last September—has handled more than 5,000 applications so far, according to FSR.

That’s despite the fact that the domains come with a stringent array of security requirements. In fact, those requirements might be the reason for the relatively quick uptake: It shows that bankers are buying into the security advantages that the new top-level domains have for members.

“By signing up for a .BANK domain, financial institutions are taking a clear step to ensure customers’ sensitive information receives an added layer of protection from cyber attacks,” FSR explained in a recent news release. “The award and use of a .BANK domain shows that the institution is a verified member of the banking community and upholds the strict standards of the .BANK community. These requirements go significantly further to protect consumer information than most commonly-used domains.”

The groups aren’t trying to get ahead of themselves, however.

“This is a marathon,” Doug Johnson, ABA’s senior vice president of payments and cybersecurity policy, told American Banker. “It clearly isn’t a sprint.”

How .Realtor is Doing

The situation contrasts with another association-driven effort to launch a top-level domain: The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) “.realtor” domain.

While the association has seen many of its members sign up for the domains—around 95,000, as of March—it’s a far cry from the half-million that the association had made available to its members.

It’s worth noting that the two association domain efforts are based on different standards of success: NAR is offering a free .realtor domain name to each of its more than 1 million members in an effort to boost uptake, while .bank domains are being sold for $999 per year, and sign-ups are being closely scrutinized.

But NAR executives are focused not on early success with the effort, but on long-term investment.

“We feel we have a responsibility to do something to make sure the industry is protected,” Bob Goldberg, NAR’s SVP of marketing, business development, and member benefits, told RISMedia last month. “We did it as an offensive move as much as a defensive move. Think about if an interloper got .Realtor or .realestate? We need to make sure that when people think real estate, there’s someone trusted behind it. Consumers know our brand and we needed to leverage that with a top-level domain.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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