WASHINGTON (6/3/13)--The Credit Union National Association has won preliminary approval from the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international body that authorizes web extensions, for the Internet domain name .creditunion (dot credit union). The new domain name is expected to be finalized and go live early next year.
CUNA submitted an application for the .creditunion domain name, which was selected from almost 2,000 generic, top-level domain name applications that had gone to ICANN over the past four months.
In 2011, ICANN announced it would significantly broaden the number of approved top-level domain names beyond the limited number in use, such as .com, .org, .gov, .edu, and.coop. The action prompted CUNA to submit a .creditunion application on behalf of the credit union movement.
"As the national trade group for credit unions, CUNA felt compelled to secure the .creditunion extension," said CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard. "We recognized there was both value to the credit union system, and potential abuse if it were not properly safeguarded."
For example, Richard said in the wrong hands a .creditunion domain could allow someone intent on committing fraud to do so from a seemingly legitimate platform. Or credit unions might have faced high fees to secure a site on the domain if it went to someone willing to sell to the highest bidder. "That's why we felt it was so important for CUNA to be the gatekeeper," Richard added.
The new domain will also have positive marketing and communication benefits for credit unions that CUNA didn't want credit unions to be left out of, said Paul Gentile, CUNA executive vice president of strategic communications.
Already, he noted, well-known U.S. companies have sought domain names to associate with their brands, like .Chevy or .AIG, and other financial services categories like .bank and .insure are in the process of being created.
"Making sure we in the credit union system have control of our own domain name is right in line with our strategic vision to 'Unite for Good' by removing barriers, raising awareness, and fostering service excellence," Gentile added.
Now that ICANN has given CUNA preliminary approval, the next several months will be focused on finalizing details. Final approval is anticipated, and the .creditunion domain is expected to go live in early 2014.
CUNA has already set up a mechanism for credit unions to register their interest. Credit unions interested in this issue are asked to use the resource link below to complete an important survey.
Credit unions can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or comments. These opportunities for feedback are nonbinding, and CUNA is asking credit unions to express their interest by Aug. 1.
CUNA also expressed its gratitude to CUNA Mutual Group and Co-op Financial Services, both of whom assisted in funding the $185,000 application cost. CUNA also intends to work with the World Council of Credit Unions and foreign regulatory authorities so that CUs around the world can use .creditunion.