.coopThe .coop gTLD was a part of ICANN's highly publicized announcement, in late 2000, of a phased release of seven new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The event was billed as the first addition of major gTLDs to the Internet since the DNS was developed in the 1980s. The seven new gTLDs, selected from over 180 proposals, were meant in part to take the pressure off the overcrowded .com domain.
Why a .coop domain?
The "coop" gTLD was backed by a strong coalition of interest groups with staying power, catering to ICANN's demands of stability and reliability. The gTLD opened for business on January 30, 2002, with hundreds of thousands of organizations eligible to buy xxx.coop SLDs (Second-Level Domains under the "coop" TLD).
Restricted and sponsored
"coop" is known not just as a TLD, but also as both a Restricted Domain and a Sponsored Domain (more verbosely, Restricted TLD and Sponsored TLD). Obtaining a second-level domain name under the "coop" TLD is restricted to those who meet specified criteria - cooperative-type organizations or a wholly owned subsidiaries - as opposed to "com" and the new "info", which are available to anyone.
"coop" also has a sponsor who created a satisfactory agreement with ICANN to insure the domain's stability. DotCooperation LLC (a.k.a. dotCoop and DCLLC) was created to sponsor the gTLD. Based in New York, it's a wholly owned subsidiary of the American NCBA (National Cooperative Business Association). InterNIC's Web site says NCBA is the primary sponsor, so even the experts are not clear on the exact situation.
No one can register an SLD of "www" to become www.coop, as this domain is reserved. There exists a sizeable list of reserved SLDs, including "nic", to prevent unscrupulous perpetrators from misleading the public (for an example of this, see nic.net, a hoax site meant to deceive unwary visitors). The NCBA also reserved "dotcoop.coop".
Internic Contact Information
The InterNIC Web site, www.InterNIC.net, is an information and communication access point for all the new gTLDs, by way of www.NIC.coop, NIC.biz, and so on. Nic.net is not an official site.
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