WAV Group has been participating in the MLS Domains Association as an advocate for the strategy for organized real estate to gain control of top level domains. These domains that represent organized real estate like .MLS, .REALTOR, and .realestate were available on the open market for anyone to grab. You can read our articles on the topic here http://waves.wavgroup.com/?s=mls+domains
There is a group called ICANN that organizes the top level domains on the internet. The most used top level domains are .com, .gov, .biz, .org. The top level domains have meaning like commerce, government, business, non-profit organization. Countries have top level domains too – like .ca for Canada. In an altruistic fashion, ICANN carefully expands the authorization of top-level domains to meet the real issues like “we are running out of domain names.” For example, there is a possible combination of 456,976 four letter domain names. They are all gone. Not a single one is unregistered. Three letter domain names were snapped up years ago. The large conglomerate 3M had to petition ICANN to get the inclusion of numbers in domain names. Because if ICANNs efforts to expand top level domains, we will never run out of domain names.
It is possible that we will run out of ip addresses. IP addresses are assigned to everything that connects to the internet – phones, servers, tablets, computers, cameras, alarm systems, televisions, and even refrigerators! There are only 4 billion internet addresses possible under the current system, but lets leave this story for another day. Trust me, that day is coming and IPv6 will make Y2K sound like a whisper.
Top level domains play a significant role in how the internet is organized. Imagine the Internets’ confusion between a real estate MLS and soccer MLS. Imagine what would happen if the name .realtor fell into the hands of an organization other than the National Association of REALTORS®. A top level domain like .realestate is pretty ambiguous when it comes to who should administrate it, but the NAR was successful in their bid. Kudos to the NAR!
Who should buy the new domains?
I think that everyone should buy their brand on these new top level domains and launch a placeholder website on them. If you have a web presence today, don’t change a thing. This effort is simply to lay a foundation for future change if the business conditions warrant those efforts. For example, given that most agent names are taken, today or years into the future, new agents may need to buy their name at .realtor or .realestate since .com is not available.
MLSs would be insane not to buy their domain name on MLS.
There are lots of other benefits like brand protection and the potential for search engine optimization that make sense in the long run.
If only they would create a top level domain for .consultant.
I wonder if the NAR will let me buy wavgroup.realestate. Since I am not a Realtor or an MLS, I suppose I will rightfully be blocked out from those. That is probably a good thing.
It will take awhile for the NAR to get organized and launch the portal to purchase the domains. It will be something like GoDaddy for real estate (or it may even be GoDaddy). We will keep an eye open and our ears to the ground. For now, thank your association for the significant investment in protecting domain brands on the internet related to our industry.