Recently, .Realtor joined a long list of new top-level domain (TLD) names available for use on the Internet. Reserved solely for Realtors®, i.e., members of the National Association of Realtors, the .Realtor TLD seems, at first glance, to be a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t we want to clearly identify ourselves as Realtors® on the web, making it dead simple for potential customers to find us?
The answer, of course, is that we already do.
Most Realtors® already have a .com or .net registered in their own name, the name of their team/brokerage or a real estate-related tagline. KimSandberg.com, ScottSandberg.com and KimandScottSandberg.com will bring you right back here, for example. So will a1abeachhomes.com and athomeinpontevedra.com. And most Realtors® are savvy enough to identify themselves as real estate professionals in copy and strategically placed keywords throughout their websites.
So, is that .Realtor TLD really necessary? Perhaps the best we can say is it can’t hurt.
Beginning in 2012, there were applications for an additional 1,900 top-level domain names to join the existing TLDs we all know and love. Even among those established TLDs, how many can you name? For most of us, I think three is a pretty good start (.com, .net and .org). If you also got .ru, you’re moving into the realm of Internet power user. But, once you get beyond the more popular country codes (.us, .uk, .ca, etc.), it gets difficult to come up with any TLDs that are getting serious penetration. This usage survey tells the tale. Clearly, .com is the preferred TLD, and will be for some time.
In other words, .Realtor (or .plumbing, .photo or .work) is not going to supplant .com, .net or .org anytime soon. It would be foolish to say never, as the .com TLD is already pretty saturated. But given that NAR has some very specific restrictions on what can and cannot be used as a URL with the .Realtor TLD (member’s first, last or full name immediately before .Realtor, for example), it’s likely that many Realtors® will use the .Realtor TLD as a redirect to their existing primary website (likely a .com or .net), or simply as a secondary stealth site in hopes of capturing a few more leads.
As the SEO experts at Moz indicate, new top-level domains like .Realtor should definitely rank in the search engines. But they’re not likely to rank any higher than an appropriately optimized .com, .net or .org site, or any other TLD (.tv, .io, .us, etc.).
So, if you’re a Realtor®, have you registered your .Realtor domain? If not, will you in the future? And if you’re a consumer, will the existence of the .Realtor TLD change the way you search for or evaluate a real estate professional? Let us know in the comments.