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Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.
Lending

HUGE NEWS: Websites soon to end in .mortgage or .home

Mortgage and banking domain names set to change radically

December 12, 2013
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Imagine coming to this website by simply typing "housing.wire" into your web address bar.

That's right, no ".com" necessary.

This hugely flexible option for online businesses — as well as other, brand-specific URL endings — is one step closer to reality.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers recently released more than a thousand potential URL suffixes, a vast increase in the 22 currently in use.

According to law firm Ballard Spahr, which broke the news in its Privacy and Data Security and Intellectual Property Alert, website domain names will start looking dramatically different.

These listings are the first wave of ICANN new generic top-level domain names, or gTLDs, as they are more commonly referred to. Some are already online, and the mortgage-type listings will be available in a matter of months.There is no specific timetable.

"What it means to the mortgage banking industry is they also need to consider their internet security, as well as their trademarks and whether or not they need to defensively register," said Amy Mushahwar, privacy and data security cousel for Ballard Spahr. "Any internal naming architecture, internal email server with .loans for example, could also create a conflict. They need to take a peek and not only see any names worth registering, but whether any of the thousands of new names could impact their existing digital structure."

In response to a request from HousingWire, Ballard Spahr pulled a list of housing and banking potential substitutes for .com or .org.

Those examples include, but are not limited to:


.BROKER
.CREDIT
.CREDITUNION
.FINANCE
.FINANCIAL
.HOME
.HOMES
.INVESTMENTS
.LAND
.LEASE
.LOAN
.LOANS
.MORTGAGE
.REALESTATE
.REALTOR
.REALTY
 

There are also many brand strings available, below are a few examples:
 
.BBT
.CAPITALONE
.CITI
.HSBC
 
Ballard Spahr said it plans to complete a more comprehensive list of potential URL endings in the near term. Companies, and no doubt there will be plenty, looking to cash in on this new option should be warned, however, as risks include adding to consumer confusion.

And that's not all.

"Issues arising from the complexity of Domain Name System (DNS) expansion, if not fully resolved, could pose security risks and potentially destabilize global Internet operations," the Ballard Spahr alert stated.