The National Association of Realtors has bested three other applicants for the right to manage a new .realestate domain, marking the trade group’s first successful bid to control a top-level domain based on a generic term.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had previously granted NAR the right to create and manage the .realtor top-level domain. Domains incorporating .realtor will be available to the trade group’s 1 million members on Oct. 23.
NAR has trademarked the term “Realtor,” and says only members of NAR and the Canadian Real Estate Association will be allowed to register .realtor domains, along with Realtor-affiliated multiple listing services and “strategic business partners.”
Realtor.com operator Move Inc. plans to allow agents to turn their profile pages on the portal into a stand-alone website featuring a Web address that ends in “.realtor.” When agents choose to use their .realtor domains to host their realtor.com profiles, Move will host the site for free.
While “real estate” is a generic term, NAR will have the same latitude in restricting the use of .realestate as it does for .realtor.
Although NAR said today that it envisions .realestate having “wider business applications” than .realtor, what that means remains unclear. The trade group told Inman News that more information about the domain’s availability and use will be coming in 2015.
In its application to ICANN, NAR said it will permit “Realtors, NAR members, NAR affiliates, NAR licensees and parties otherwise in a contractual relationship with NAR the opportunity to register and⁄or use domain names in .REALESTATE under terms, policies and guidelines as NAR so determines in its sole discretion.”
NAR said it intends to let .realestate registrants provide real estate listings at domains associated with their name, a specific geographic area, or subject matter terms.
“Over time, users desiring information relating to real estate in a specific area, or information relating to services in a particular type of real estate (such as, for example, commercial properties), will be conditioned to navigate to ‘geographic.REALESTATE’ or ‘subjectmatter.REALESTATE’ in order to obtain relevant information,” the trade group said.
NAR said it intended to allocate most .realestate domains on a first-come, first-served basis, reserving the right to charge higher annual fees for “premium” names.
If a domain name is contested, NAR will consider which application is most consistent with “NAR’s vision and mission/purpose” of the .realestate domain. If “multiple applicants” for the same domain are not “distinguishable” using those criteria, NAR says it will explore using an auction process.
NAR has said the restrictions it will place on the use of .realestate and .realtor domains will help “create order for real estate information on the Internet and to provide NAR members with tools that help brand themselves as the most trusted, valued source of real estate information.”
The three other companies competing for the .realestate top-level domain were New North LLC, Uniregistry Corp. and Top Level Domain Holdings Limited. In their applications, each outlined a wider pool of potential registrants than that proposed by NAR.
In its application, NAR noted that it will periodically review progress and adoption of .realestate, and may consider modifying or removing its initial restrictions. Alternatively, NAR said it may choose to never remove the restrictions.
NAR has also applied to ICANN to create and manage a new .home top-level domain. ICANN, which manages the Internet’s domain name system, is still reviewing nearly a dozen applications it received for .home.