One of the banking communities' newest inventions to fight online scams is the introduction of new top level domain .BANK, which goes live 17th of May. This domain ending is restricted to the banking community (Full FAQ at the end of this post). The .BANK domain ending already now receives some consumer trust as shown in the recent study from DNA and our own poll confirming the results from the other study. So why on earth should a bank such as Wells Fargo change web address from WellsFargo.com to WellsFargo.bank? Did you know that half of all internet users receive one phishing email on a daily basis? Banks suffer from online scams at such a large scale today that it has become a huge problem. Gartner Group estimates that phishing costs alone for American banks amount to USD 2.8bn annually. A solution is needed, and the use of a .BANK domain mame seems to be one of the pieces of the puzzle to deliver a more secure environment on the internet for potential scamming victims. Today banks use so many different domain endings ranging from .com to any country code ending that there is no common industry identity. This is what .BANK gives the banking community. Let's take the example of phishing. It is the most common way to gain access to a bank account. You receive a fraudulent email which appears to be from your bank. In the email you will be urged to urgently update your account information. Fall for it by clicking a link in the email and you are then send to a website which looks legit, but which either just steal your password or install malware on your PC. In the process the victim can see both in the email address and on the website that it's not a .BANK and is therefore warned. If you want a personal phishing story, then do check this video I stumbled upon.
.BANK for branding in the new labelled world
Apart from the trust argument banks have some new branding opportunities with a .BANK domain. A bank such as Chase Bank is a good example. With a 5 characters generic term as your brand name they have to stay alert all the time to secure domain names such as chase.online, chase.web, chase.whatever. A common online strategy within the banking community to use and promote .BANK will eliminate this confusion to a certain degree. And it's the way we're going. Internet users will use web addresses much more as a signal after the introduction of +700 new domain endings. Yoga sites will use a .yoga, real estate agents will use .realtor and florists will use a .florist. This labelling is well underway, and surely it will take some years before we see the change - but the change does seem unavoidable.
Interview with Craig Schwartz from fTLD Registry
I talked to Craig Schwartz, the Managing Director at fTLD Registry Services (The registry behind .BANK and .INSURANCE) about who will be eligible to register and use a .BANK and if the community will embrace this new option. "The most important element, other than being eligible and choosing an acceptable domain name of course, is fulfilling the enhanced security requirements. For example, all registrants in .BANK will have to enable DNSSEC on their website, publish valid email authentication records, deploy enhance encryption standards. There are several technical requirements mandated by fTLD and they all will contribute to .BANK being a trusted, protected, more secure and easily identifiable space on the Internet." He expects that .BANK will be the new standard and is optimistic about banks' changing their domain name to a .BANK as early as 2015. "Judging by the interest we've received to date, I suspect we may see some banks using .BANK as their primary domain name as early as 2015 and certainly by 2016.
fTLD does not underestimate the time and costs it will take to transition from some other TLD to .BANK and we firmly believe that community members will see and appreciate the value in time and with much education and support from fTLD and our registrars." His statement is backed by fTLD's survey sent to members of the banking community: - 64% feel that a .BANK domain will be important for the security of the industry - 80% expressed a high interest in .BANK after reading the description and values presented in the survey - 85% said that a higher level of security will be a key factor in their purchase decision - More than 50% said that the vigorous verification standards are appealing in .BANK - More than 50% find it appealing that .BANK will be protected, trusted and an easily identifiable space. Will definitely be interesting to follow the development from 17th of May, when it goes live.The .BANK FAQ Below you will find the answers to the most frequent questions.
1. Who can register a .BANK domain name?
The folllowing can apply for a .BANK: A. State, regional and provincial banks that are chartered and supervised by a government regulatory authority. B. Savings associations that are charted and supervised by a government regulatory authority. C. National banks that are chartered and supervised by a government regulatory authority. D. Associations whose members are primarily comprised of entities identified above in A, B and C. E. Groups of associations whose members are primarily comprised of associations identified above in D. F. Service providers that are principally owned by or predominantly supporting regulated entities identified above in A, B and C. (if approved by the Registry Operator Board). G. Government regulators of chartered and supervised banks or savings associations or organizations whose members are primarily comprised of such government regulators (if approved by the Registry Operator Board).
2. Which .BANK domain names can we register?
Domain name must: A. Correspond to a trademark, trade name or service mark of the business or organization. B. Not be a Reserved Name. C. Not be likely to deceive or cause material detriment to a significant portion of the banking, insurance and/or financial services communities, its customers or Internet users.
3. Which documentation is required to register a .BANK domain name?
A. Full legal name B. Business name C. Business address D. Business phone E. Business email F. Another proof of identity necessary to establish that the Applicant is an eligible member of the banking community (e.g., business license, certificate of formation, articles of incorporation, corporate operating agreement, charter documents, attorney opinion letter, mission statement for non-profit organization). G. For banks and savings associations, the assigned regulatory ID and government regulatory authority issuing its charter or license.