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.BANK Launches With a Bang

Thomas Barrett

The 30-day .BANK Sunrise Period just concluded this week and is notable for several reasons.

The .BANK TLD is highly restricted to members of the banking industry. The .BANK Registry (which also has rights to .INSURANCE, launching this fall), was founded by 24 companies and organizations from the banking and insurance industries, The Registry's founders include industry leaders such as the American Banking Association, Citigroup, Dollar Bank, Independent Community Bankers of America, JPMorgan, Visa and Wells Fargo.

The majority of banks are community-based and do not have registered trademarks that would be eligible for the Trademark Clearinghouse. Nonetheless, banks registered nearly 800 trademarks in the new TLD. Many of these trademarks were added to the Trademark Clearinghouse solely for the .BANK TLD. At a retail price averaging more than $1000, the total dollar amount spent by bankers on these two activities is well over $1 million dollars.

As a comparison, the average number of Sunrise registrations for new gTLDs has been just over 100, ranking .BANK as one of the biggest Sunrise Periods in the era of the Trademark Clearinghouse.

Unlike the hundreds of unrestricted TLDs that have launched in the last 18 months, here, the trademark owners were not motivated by concerns of cybersquatting or brand tarnishment on their brands. The registry's eligibility requirements virtually eliminate any potential for cybersquatting.

Instead, the Sunrise registrations occurred because these banks actually want to use their brand names in the new TLD. There are not many new gTLDs that can make this claim.

I was privileged to be the only ICANN Registrar serving on .BANK's Security Standards Working Group, consisting of several dozen technology experts from within the banking industry that generated a set of enhanced security requirements that must be followed for the use of .BANK websites. These requirements range from: multi-factor authentication for domain name management, DNSSEC, DMARC, SPF, DKIM and enhanced encryption.

While it is possible to employ these requirements for existing websites, their adoption is uneven and consumer distrust is high. By mandating enhanced security across all .BANK websites, the objective is to deliver a consistent end-user experience so that consumers will learn to identify the .BANK brand as a place where they can safely conduct their online banking.

There will always be security gaps that bad actors can squeeze through, but the banking industry is clearly determined to use the .BANK platform as their vehicle to combat online banking fraud.

The General Availability Period for .BANK kicks off on June 23 at 8pm ET. The level of interest is very high, especially among the 6,000 plus community bankers spread across the U.S. For example, EnCirca has pre-orders from all 50 U.S. states.

The .BANK Registry team has done a great job of defining and building the .BANK brand and their early commercial success from the banking industry indicates that they are on right track. It will be interesting to watch this one develop.

By Thomas Barrett, President - EnCirca, Inc
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Related topics: Cybersecurity, New TLDs
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Great post Tom!Craig Schwartz and the .BANK Constantine Roussos  –  Jun 19, 2015 12:45 PM PDT

Great post Tom!

Craig Schwartz and the .BANK team have done a phenomenal job with the community-based .BANK string and have incorporated appropriate community-tailored safeguards to spur banking industry adoption and increase trust and security in .BANK domains.

Looking forward to seeing more community-based strings launching to add more diversity, trust and credibility to the New gTLD Program, including a higher level of mainstream and corresponding industry adoption.

Congratulations to fTLD!

Constantine Roussos
.MUSIC (DotMusic)

DNSSEC Carl Byington  –  Jul 08, 2015 8:35 AM PDT

Thank you for a tld that enforces a dnssec requirement. I updated http://www.five-ten-sg.com/mapper/blog/launch with some information on .bank. From a list of 104 large financial institutions, I find only three with NS/DS records in .bank. Of course some of the others might have registered domains that are not identical to their existing com/net/org domains.

santanderbank.bank
bbvacompass.bank
nationwide.bank

Those three have NS and DS records, but only Nationwide has a functional web site.

Have you considered adding DANE/tlsa records for their web sites?

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