As recently announced, fTLD Registry Services has partnered with Symantec to verify applicants before domain names are approved in the new .bank and .insurance generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). So what does this truly mean? Ultimately, it offers a form of brand protection for .bank and .insurance in this new era of the Internet.
July 2013 through February 2014 marked the second major landrush for addresses on the Internet. Companies from around the world applied to ICANN to operate nearly any gTLD they could think of (namely common search terms). For example we have applied to operate .symantec and .norton. With the new gTLDs as options for website developers, there are increasing risks to end-users who may confuse spoofed destinations with their real counterparts. For instance, let’s say ChelmoBank.com was a real address with millions of customers visiting daily.
Without pre-verification there would be little stopping a hacker from creating a spoofed ChelmoBank.bank or Chelmo.bank website in order to confuse my customers and funnel them into a phishing scam as they do with subdomains (e.g., ChelmoBank.example.com). fTLD Registry Services recognizes this and is acting as the responsible operator of this new portion of the Internet. Fundamentally, this is a best practice among gTLD operators. It not only provides better brand protection, but it also enables website owners to go through a majority of the processing for an SSL certificate, which will allow the owners to easily apply for and rapidly install an SSL certificate from Symantec. At the end of the day this drives value for gTLD operators and allows their new virtual tenants to be seated among other websites which have all been vetted. Personally, I see this as the equivalent of setting up shop in a shopping mall in an affluent neighborhood.
If other registry service organizations would be interested in doing something similar to what fTLD Registry Services has done.