In 2008, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the administrator of the Internet’s Domain Name System, approved a program that would enable the creation of an unlimited number of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). The most common gTLDs now are .com, .org, .net, etc. From January to May 2012, ICANN accepted applications for new gTLDs and received nearly 2,000 submissions.. As of today ICANN has delegated the operation of 107 new gTLDs.
fTLD Registry Services, LLC (fTLD) was formed in 2011 by the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) and the American Bankers Association (ABA) to obtain ownership and operation of gTLDs important to the financial industry. fTLD is now supported by dozens of financial institutions and financial trade associations from around the world. In May 2012, fTLD submitted community-based applications for the .bank and .insurance gTLDs to:
- Win approval to operate these gTLD to serve and protect financial institutions and the consumers they serve;
- Instill trust and confidence for Internet users that information accessed at websites in .bank and .insurance is being provided by members of the community that have been verified to provide financial products and services; and
- Create a platform for innovation in accessing and/or delivering financial products and services over the Internet.
fTLD, the only community-based applicant for the .bank and .insurance gTLDs, recently moved a step closer to provide a trusted and protected .insurance gTLD. On January 15, 2014, fTLD learned that one of its two contending applicants for .insurance, Auburn Park, LLC (a Donuts company), was eliminated from consideration after the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ruled in favor of FSR’s community objection to their application. The other applicant, Dotfresh, Inc. (a Radix Registry company), has two pending community objections to its application, one each from FSR and the American Insurance Association (AIA). The ICC is expected to rule on these objections in the coming weeks. If FSR and/or AIA prevail, Dotfresh, Inc. will be eliminated from further consideration by ICANN, leaving fTLD as the sole remaining applicant, which could mean .insurance domain names would be available later this year.
fTLD was originally one of four applicants for the .insurance gTLD. In addition to the previously identified applicants, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company had applied to operate this gTLD. As fTLD is owned, operated and governed by members of the global banking and insurance services communities and applied to operate .insurance in a trusted and protected manner to serve this community, Progressive ultimately chose to voluntarily withdraw its application and to support fTLD’s initiative.
In addition to its application for .insurance, fTLD had been one of two applicants for the .bank gTLD, but it moved a step closer to approval by ICANN after the sole, contending applicant, Dotsecure, Inc. (a Radix Registry company), was eliminated from consideration on November 27, 2013, after the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ruled in favor of the International Banking Federation’s community objection to their application. fTLD anticipates that .bank domain names could be available later this year.
As ICANN has stated, new gTLDs “linked to regulated or professional sectors [such as and the finance and insurance industries]… are likely to invoke a level of implied trust from consumers, and carry higher levels of risk associated with consumer harm.” A key component of fTLD’s applications is that it will only permit registrations in these gTLDs by community members that have met strict registration requirements including the provision that those seeking domain names must be verified before any domain names are awarded and activated. fTLD is the only applicant that has committed to strict registration requirements and mandatory verification for all domain names. With these provisions and the enhanced security it committed to implement in its gTLDs, fTLD is far more capable of providing a trusted and protected environment for global stakeholders than any other applicant vying for the .insurance and .bank gTLDs.
– by Craig Schwartz
Managing Director, fTLD Registry Services