We Can With ICANN

I began writing blogs at the beginning of the year. From the start, I was determined to post weekly, yet concerned about finding enough topics to keep this blog fresh. Now, nearly one year later, I can report that my concerns were unfounded. There is no lack of pressing issues in the world of banking, it turns out.

Technology is no exception. Last week, I met with the other members of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payment and Technology Committee for some intriguing discussions. Of particular interest was the issue of the upcoming awarding of net website domain names. Specific to our industry are the URLs ending with .bank, .banking, etc.

Overseeing these future domain names is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the not-for-profit corporation that sets the rules for what it anticipates will be 300 to 500 new domain names. Formed in 1998, ICANN is an international organization dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It does not control content on the Internet but, through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the Internet’s expansion and evolution.

Of foremost concern is gaining control of the awarding of these domains, so that only banks may own them. Imagine what would happen if an opportunistic 20-year-old were to take ownership of the .bank name for your organization before you have a chance to act on it. You would be at his mercy if he then offers to sell you the name at an outrageous price … with the threat that, if you decline, he could turn that address into a porn site!

You of course will have to decide if you want a .bank domain, or instead continue to use the .com you have today. I expect you will want both, and perhaps many more. Regardless, you need to be thinking about it, because ICANN starts the awarding process for community domain names early next year.

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