University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
What is .coop?
Coop is a new top-level Internet domain, or extension, that will join .com, .org and .net at the end of Internet and Web addresses later this year. The future of the Internet will be characterized by an increasing number of specialized web extensions as the .com field becomes more crowded. The first seven new top-level domains were approved last year; .coop was one of them.
Cooperatives, by winning one of the first new web extensions, will have an important competitive advantage in e-commerce. Why .coop? Location matters as much on the Internet as it does on Main Street. Online, your address, or URL, is your location. How valuable it is depends on how well it helps you stand out from the crowd. Problem is, there are now some 26 million names registered under .com, and the best names are long gone. So it's hard to stand out, and it's easy to get lost.
With .coop, cooperatives have reserved some of the most highly prized online real estate. Not only will cooperatives finally be able to get the web addresses they need to do business or promote themselves online, they'll have a domain that consumers can trust, setting them apart and above investor-owned businesses. Marketing studies show consumers trust co-ops more than investor owned businesses. With .coop, cooperatives can remind their members and future members that their business is not just another .com.
Who can register? Cooperatives and cooperative service organizations around the world are the only entities eligible to register under the .coop domain. Where do I go to register? Though registration for .coop is not currently available, interested co-ops can go to our interim website, http://www.cooperative.org, to register interest in .coop and monitor future developments. The National Cooperative Business Association is the sponsor of .coop and will be the only entity authorized to accept registrations for names under the new domain. Other businesses claiming to be able to offer registration or pre-registration are misleading consumers. The FTC has issued two alerts warning consumers, including cooperatives, to beware of these scams.
Can I register now? No, but if you belong to NCBA, the International Cooperative Alliance or a .coop Founder organization, such as NRTC, you can pre-qualify for .coop. Members of .coop Founders, NCBA and ICA will be able to apply for names under .coop before worldwide launch so that NCBA can pre-qualify those registrants. Applications for name registrations for pre-qualified cooperatives will be activated when the .coop registry is launched later this year. Cooperatives who pre-qualify for .coop have a better chance of getting the web address they want. When will the pre-qualification period begin? NCBA, ICA and .coop Founders will be distributing information about the pre-qualification period, including individual user identification numbers and passwords, to their membership in early July.
When will registration be available to all cooperatives? Open registration for all co-ops is anticipated to begin late in the third quarter, or early in the fourth quarter of 2001.
Gillian R. Coulter Program Manager, Cooperative Business Development National Cooperative Business Association 1401 New York Ave, NW Suite 1100 Washington, DC 20005 (202) 383-5449 Fax (202) 638-1374 http://www.ncba.org