Is the .US Domain Extension Going Postal?
.US is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States and was established in 1985. Registrants of .us domains must be United States citizens, residents, or organizations, or a foreign entity with a presence in the United States. (according to Wikipedia.org).
The big question for me is why the .us domain name extension has lagged so far behind other ccTLD extensions to date? An updated list of total ccTLD registrations at the end of 2013 is here (note .us in the 15th slot. Just behind Canada.)
.tk 20 million
.de 15 million
.uk 10.6 million
.cn 8.8 million
.nl 5.4 million
.ru 4.5 million
.eu 3.7 million
.br 3.3 million
.ar 3.0 million
.au 2.7 million
.fr 2.7 million
.it 2.6 million
.pl 2.5 million
.ca 2.2 million
.us 1.9 million
There was a very interesting news release this past summer from the Neustar (Neustar.us) Registry regarding the .us domain name extension. The release is here: Neustar to Launch usTLD Stakeholder Council.
This article got me to thinking about just what the Neustar.us registry and Stakeholder Council is up to. That is in regards to the development of the (massively underutilized) .us domain name extension.
From this article regarding the Council:
The Charter of this new Council sets its Scope of Work as follows:
The Council will address matters related to the operation of the usTLD in the interest of the usTLD user community. The work of the Council will be focused on:
- Recommending to Neustar policies and other improvements to the management of the usTLD;
- Ensuring that the needs of current usTLD domain name holders are considered in the management of the usTLD;
- Providing input on mechanisms to enhance and improve the user experience and utility of the usTLD space; and
- Improvements to the security within the usTLD and stable management of the space.
This is from the Councils principles and policies:
The Council’s Guiding Principles and Policies include:
- The usTLD must continue to serve the needs of existing Registrants, support innovative new uses of the name space, and respect the rights of consumers and rights holders.
- Innovation in the usTLD space should promote the public interest and benefit both commercial and noncommercial usTLD stakeholders.
There is one public entity that came to mind that could do it and the reasoning relates to something that has been in the news a good deal lately.
The entity of the US Postal Service and the mechanism could potentially be through postal banking and financial services.
Some of you already know that the US Postal Service is in the process of very possibly expanding their offerings of financial services. The USPS already offers some financial services such as postal money orders and other basic services. The US Postal Service does have a history of offering expanded services earlier this century and successfully so. As it turns out, Postal financial services is already a fairly widespread practice in many foreign countries.
Here is a whitepaper (published this year) by none other than the US Post Office Inspector General regarding the USPS offering expanded banking services: Providing Non-Bank Financial Services to the Underserved.
A few more recent articles on the subject here:
Should the Post Office Offer Financial Services?
Could Plan to Offer Financial Servics Save the Post Office?
What Happens if the Post Office is your Bank?
How to Save the Post Office?
Yes, People Would Bank at the Post Office.
So why would the US Postal Service use the .us domain name extension to propagate its newly developed banking and financial services?
The answer is that many foreign countries are already offering expanded financial and banking services through their countries postal services.
Most of those countries also use their own country code domain name extensions (ccTLDs) for identification and clarity.
The use of the .us domain name extension may very well become a necessity for the US Postal Service. Particularly, if they go down this road of banking and expanded financial services to their customers. Especially with the accelerating trend of these services moving online.
Here are just a few examples of Postal Services who use their country code domain names for Postal Financial Services.
Poste.it (Banco Posta)
Correos.es (Spanish Post)
Here's an example to show another level of confusion and to enforce my point.
http://www.postbank.com actually goes to a German bank.
If I were the US Postal Service, I'd be looking at .us.