New '.CPA' Domain Name Formally Launches

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 2, 2020
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The AICPA has announced that, in cooperation with its tech arm, CPA.com, it has begun the early-phase rollout of the new ".cpa" domain name, which will be exclusive to members of the accounting profession.

After having made a bid for it in 2014, the AICPA was granted control of the domain name last year from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which governs domain name control.

Domain names are the three-letter abbreviations at the end of a URL. In the early days of the internet, these domains were generally limited to the now-ubiquitous .com, .org, .gov, .net, .edu, and .mil. As time went on, however, more domains were added, such as the country-specific .us or .uk, or even city-specific domains, such as .nyc. As time passed, more than a thousand ever-more particular domains have been introduced such as .tv for television shows, .bike for bikes, .faith for religious organizations, and, of course, .cpa for certified public accountants.

The AICPA, by being awarded the domain name, is responsible for overseeing the use and distribution of .cpa to interested parties—and the required technical maintenance that comes with it. The new domain extension will be available to CPAs and their firms and will signal a clear connection to the profession. For example, Firm Name, LLC, could have a website address of www.firmname.cpa. Jane Smith, an employee at that firm, could have an email address of jsmith@firmname.cpa. The AICPA said that this could help authenticate legitimate CPA firms.

All firms can begin submitting applications today at domains.cpa. The goal of this initial period, which runs through Oct. 31, is to help firms acquire domains that are most consistent with their current digital branding. To apply, firms must be licensed and agree to use the domain they acquire.  Licensed firms that apply during the early registration phase will be able to register their existing .com domain using .cpa. Firms will be notified of the outcome of their domain applications no later than early November.

The initial application phase  is designed to ensure that domains are issued systematically, according to logic-based criteria that has been verified by an independent third-party.  After the initial period closes on Oct. 31 and the first batch of domains are awarded, firms are free to apply for any available .cpa name on a rolling, “first come, first served” basis. In January 2021, the process will open up to include individually licensed CPAs.

"Trust is a crucial commodity in business and on the Internet, and it’s a cornerstone of the CPA profession,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon. “The .cpa domain will signal you’re doing business with a licensed CPA firm or individual CPA, so it provides an additional level of trust, security and brand recognition in online interactions.”

CPA.com is hosting a CPE-eligible, Sept. 15 webcast on the new offering. For additional information on the .cpa domain or to register for the webcast, CPAs can visit domains.cpa.

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