What is .REALTOR?

You know web addresses that end in .com, .org, .edu or .gov.

These are called top-level domains (TLDs) and thousands more are coming, dividing the Internet into industry-specific categories that make it easier for consumers to navigate the online world and locate exactly what they need.

Anyone can have a web address ending with .com or .net because they are unrestricted, but some TLDs are restricted, only available for use by a permitted group like:

  • .edu is only available to U.S.-affiliated institutions of higher education
  • .gov is only available to government entities
  • .jobs is only available to companies and organizations seeking employment

More TLDs like these will make it possible for consumers to identify trusted sources on the internet like the new .REALTOR!

.REALTOR, a restricted TLD only available to REALTORS® -- members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and the Canadian Real Estate Association who adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.

.REALTOR is among the hundreds of new TLDs already on the Internet, including .lawyer, .nyc, .club. It is expected that more than 1,300 additional TLDs will be introduced over the next couple of years. To make it easier for homebuyers, sellers and investors to locate a trusted valued source of real estate information, resources and services online, NAR applied and was awarded the .REALTOR domain, which launched on October 23, 2014.  Since its launch, .REALTOR has become one of the most successful TLDs, with over 90,000 domains live on the Internet.

According to NAR research, nearly 9 out of 10 recent buyers used the Internet in their home search process. Web addresses that end in .REALTOR create a more positive experience for consumers seeking real estate information online and services. Consumers instantly know they’re working with a REALTOR®, a trustworthy, ethical real estate professional they can count on.

 

THE HISTORY OF TOP-LEVEL DOMAINS & HOW WILL THEY AFFECT YOU

Up until now, the Internet has been organized into a 22 generic top-level domains (TLDs, or gTLDs), most of them 3 letters in length.

1985 - .com, .org, .net, .edu (exclusive), .gov (exclusive)
1988 - .int (exclusive)
1996 - .mil (exclusive)
2001 - .museum (exclusive), .info, .coop (exclusive), .biz
2002 - .name, .aero (exclusive)
2004 - .pro
2005 - .travel (exclusive), .tel (exclusive), .jobs (exclusive), .cat (exclusive)
2006 - .mobi (exclusive)
2007 - .asia (exclusive)
2011 - .xxx (exclusive)
2012 - .post (exclusive)

In early 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international authority over top-level domain names, approved the expansion of the number of generic top-level domains (gTLDs), allowing companies and organizations to create and apply for top-level domains.

According to NAR research, nearly 9 out of 10 recent buyers used the Internet in their home search process. To make it easier for homebuyers, sellers and investors to locate a trusted source of real estate online, NAR launched the .REALTOR top-level domain (TLD) as an alternative to the commonly used .com and .org in 2014, exclusively available to REALTORS®.

NAR has followed the TLD initiative since ICANN first began considering the introduction of a new round of gTLDs in the early 2000s with their partner, Second Generation, an Embrescia family investment firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio who has worked with NAR throughout the application, review and development process to bring the domain solutions to the real estate industry. Today, Second Gen is the Registry Operator for .Jobs, .Career, .REALTOR, .RealEstate, and .MED TLDs.

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.

NAR, through Real Estate Domains LLC (RED), filed with ICANN for the .REALTOR TLD. RED was created for the sole purpose of applying for and operating the .REALTOR TLD. NAR has also submitted applications for the .realestate and .home top level domains through a partnership of its wholly owned subsidiary, the REALTORS® Information Network (RIN) and DotHome, LLC.

Field Guide
What changes will new TLDs bring to the Internet? Find out with that explores what TLDs are, how they are used and regulated, how the crop of new TLDs might change the Internet landscape, and how REALTORS® and others can use new TLDs to market their businesses and services.

Details on Domains
Domains are the addresses we use for websites, and exist to create unique and memorable names. They need to be unique for Internet resources to know where the content resides and be memorable for those looking for content to easily find what they’re looking for.

Technically, a domain name consists of two parts: a top-level domain and a second-level domain. The second-level is the main part of the address, like the “johnsmithrealtor” in johnsmithrealtor.com. The top-level domain (TLD) is the .com in the previous example, and is the most common of the TLDs.

There are several other common domains, along with a number that are less recognized including: .org, .edu, .biz, .net, .gov, .info, .me and .jobs. And while these are considered generic TLDs (gTLD), only a few can be used by anyone. Many have specific requirements that need to be met in order to use them, like .gov, for government entities or .edu for post-secondary education institutions. In addition, country code TLDs (ccTLD) exist for countries around the world (i.e. .ca = Canada; .fr = France).

Now, new gTLDs are being approved for thousands of different things, from products like cars and books to services like lawyers and accountants.