The National Association of Realtors®’ new .REALTOR top-level domain will be available Oct. 23, 2014 to members of NAR and the Canadian Real Estate Association. Those who participated in last year’s pre-sign-up opportunity—some 80,000 REALTORS®, according to NAR—will be able to register their .REALTOR domain on to-be-announced dates prior to the Oct. 23 membership-wide launch.
According to Bob Goldberg, NAR senior vice president, Sales & Marketing, Business Development & Strategic Investments, Professional Development, Conventions, the .REALTOR domain is critical to help steer consumers toward the most trusted source of real estate information: REALTORS®.
“The dot.com world has been the Wild West of the Internet,” explains Goldberg, who has been working with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the governing body of the Internet, for about seven years to establish the .REALTOR domain.
“Right now, you could go to a site called ‘jimsmithrealestate.com’ and it could be a used car site. The goal is to segment the Internet so that the consumer has a better idea where to go in the dot.com world, and it’s important that NAR, as the largest trade association in the country, ensures that our members have a voice in their segment on the Internet.”
The Internet is undergoing vast changes with the creation of over 1,900 new top-level domains, and with nine out of 10 recent buyers beginning their home search online, it has become even more critical for REALTORS® to create a branded space online.
The .REALTOR domain will help REALTORS® stand apart from other real estate professionals, creating a more positive online experience for consumers who are searching for information on buying or selling property. “Consumers can take it to the bank that the only people who have the .REALTOR domain are REALTORS® who abide by the NAR code of ethics and are members in good standing,” says Goldberg.
“This is truly an exciting time for NAR members to be on the cutting edge of Internet technology,” says NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc. REALTORS® in Dayton, Ohio. “NAR is one of the first associations to be approved to offer a top-level domain for its membership, demonstrating our organization’s commitment to its members and showcasing the value of the REALTOR® brand. When consumers visit a .REALTOR website they will know that they have reached a source of comprehensive and accurate real estate information as well as someone with unparalleled insight into the local market.”
Goldberg also expects the .REALTOR domain to help improve search results for REALTORS®. “If a consumer searches for a REALTOR® in a certain community, .REALTOR domains will most likely get grabbed by the search engines faster,” says Goldberg.
According to Ken Burlington, NAR vice president of Strategic Alliances, Product Management, Marketing & Business Development, NAR created a special online marketing page, www.About.REALTOR, that shows REALTORS® how to best take advantage of their new domain.
“In addition to getting a .REALTOR domain free for one year, the first 500,000 to sign up get a free profile page on realtor.com®,” says Burlington. “We’re encouraging members to start by updating their business cards with the .REALTOR domain and over time, change their email address and their marketing materials. What better way is there to market yourself as a REALTOR®?”
CREA, the owner of the REALTOR® mark in Canada, is NAR’s exclusive marketing partner for the new .REALTOR domain in Canada. “We are excited to offer this new and unique branding opportunity to our members,” says CREA President Beth Crosbie, sales associate at Coldwell Banker Pro Co. in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “A .REALTOR domain communicates the positive attributes of trust, professionalism and community that consumers associate with the REALTOR® name.”
The top-level domain will be made available only to real estate professionals who are REALTOR®, members of NAR or CREA. The domain will also be made available to state and local REALTOR® associations, association multiple listing services, affiliated institutes, societies and councils and NAR strategic business partners in the first quarter of next year, according to Burlington.
NAR began the application process for the top-level domain seven years ago through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization that coordinates domains and Internet Protocol addresses around the world. Throughout the application, review and development process, NAR has worked closely with Second Generation subsidiary Real Estate Domains, LLC, an investment firm and registry operator for the top-level domain.JOBS.
“We are so pleased to help our partner, NAR, build a new future on the Internet,” said Tom Embrescia, chairman of Second Generation, Ltd. “Applying for a top-level-domain is extremely complex and intricate, but all that work has resulted in an amazing benefit for REALTOR®.”
NAR will provide the first 500,000 members who register for a .REALTOR domain with a free one-year license, and CREA will provide 10,000 free domains to members on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information, visit www.about.REALTOR.