Last week I lamented about the lack of anything cool at the NAR Expo trade show. But, to be fair, there was an announcement made that went largely un-noticed, so I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about it.
The announcement was that the .REALTOR top level domain release is imminent. What this means to you is when it does get released you’ll be able to register a domain with the .REALTOR extension as opposed to .com, .net. .org etc that is available now.
This is only available to REALTOR® members (and members of Canada’s CREA). More information on availability is available here: http://www.realtor.org/topics/top-level-domain/background
According to the above article, this is expected to happen sometime in 2014, but as part of the announcement made at the Expo, you can pre-register NOW. To do so, just go to http://signupfordotrealtor.com/ and fill in your name and email address to be registered to receive notification when the new top level domain (TLD) becomes available.
Upon registration, you’ll receive an email from NAR, which I have excerpted below:
Thank you for reserving your place on the .REALTOR domain Priority Registration list.
Prior to launch you will receive an email with instructions on how to register your .REALTOR domain(s) one day before the general release.
- REALTOR® membership in NAR or CREA will be verified upon domain registration.
- NAR members will be provided one FREE domain for the first year that includes their name.
- Members will also be able to purchase additional domains at the normal price (domain prices to be determined).
- This opportunity is exclusively for domains for REALTOR® members. Information on registrations for REALTOR® offices and others will be provided at a later date.
Please share the sign-up page with other members, www.SignUpForDotREALTOR.com.
*To be eligible to participate and receive advance notification, members must sign-up before December 31, 2013.
For more info and the latest updates regarding the .REALTOR domain, regularly visit www.REALTOR.org/Domain.
Please notice that you need to register before December 31, 2013 in order to be eligible for the notification. Since I believe that this will be one of the great Internet “land grabs” you’ll want this notification, and you’ll also want to take immediate action when you do get notified. NAR says that it will give you your name for free (For instance if your name John Doe, you can get JohnDoe.realtor for free), but you will also be able to register and pay for other domain names. This could be where the land grab takes place.
I could find no information in the FAQ (http://www.realtor.org/topics/top-level-domain/realtor-top-level-domain-tld-faq) that explains how NAR will police this or how they will resolve disputes. If you want one of these, it’s best to stay on the alert for your notification!
What’s unclear to me at this point is how having one of these will benefit you. As you know, .com is the most widely used and recognized TLD. Most consumers will assume .com when they key in address, so unless NAR also starts a massive public awareness campaign, it may be a long time before awareness of the TLD is widespread enough to bring some value to you. NAR believes otherwise as this excerpt for the FAQ states:
Q: What are the key benefits of doing this?
A: REALTORS® and consumers will benefit in the following ways:
- The .REALTOR TLD will bring order and consistency to the currently disorganized real estate space on the Internet.
- Establishes a branded destination for consumers, ensuring they’re dealing with a REALTOR®.
- Empowers NAR to set standards of professionalism and use that differentiates the .REALTOR domain from all others.
- Builds a TLD that establishes .REALTOR as the trusted source when searching for real estate information on-line.
- Provides an Internationally recognizable brand to differentiate REALTORS® and the organized real estate community from others.
- 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.
- Offers individual REALTORS® a unique solution to further leverage their on-line brand, with the added support of a stronger REALTOR® brand.
- Strengthens and supports existing broker and franchise brands, while concurrently leveraging the REALTOR® brand.
What’s also unclear is how Google, Bing and the other search engines will treat the new TLD names. But, in case they do give it favorable treatment, you’ll want to have one and make sure that it “points” to your existing website.
Giving people alternate ways to find you on the Internet is always a good idea, so it’s my advice that you register and then stay alert for the email that will come from NAR announcing that you can obtain a new .REALTOR domain. When it arrives, you will need to take IMMEDIATE action to get your name…especially if you have a common name! This is not one of those times when you can get around to it later. If you snooze, you’ll lose!
Here is a link to the full info at Realtor.org: http://www.realtor.org/topics/top-level-domain
Stop what you are doing right now and go register (You can thank me later) at: http://www.signupfordotrealtor.com/