“We are excited to offer this new and unique branding opportunity to our members,” CREA president Beth Crosbie said in a press release announcing the program earlier this year. “A .realtor domain communicates the positive attributes of trust, professionalism and community that consumers associate with the Realtor name.”
While REP wasn’t able to obtain the exact number of .realtor names now registered, many agents are pointing to the benefits they draw from using them.
“The main thing is the credibility and trust that you’re trying to convey [via the domain],” John Owen, an agent in Whitby, told REP. “There are certain things [that will be challenging], changing marketing materials, but in the long term it’ll be beneficial.”
Owen said the domain was especially useful to him: he was able to pick up a URL with his full name – as required by the .realtor guidelines – which he wasn’t able to do with a .com domain.
“I decided [to get a .realtor domain] because of the personalized nature that I could get,” he says. “I could get one that matched my exact name as opposed to something that was taken by someone with a similar name in the U.S.”
With your name in the URL, potential clients can automatically identify you as a licensed real estate agent.
“I thought it would help to promote myself as a Realtor,” says Krista Petersen, an agent in Port Coquitlam, B.C. “I do think it adds credibility. Before I had just my name .ca; it doesn’t say I’m a Realtor. But with the .realtor domain, that’s clear.”
The exclusivity of the .realtor domain name is another draw for Realtors.
Analysts suggest its growing use could better draw a distinction between Realtors and duly-qualified agents opting to forgo additional certification. Currently, the public struggles to articulate any difference at all.
While CREA acts as NAR’s exclusive marketing partner, it is in fact NAR that administers the domain to Canadian Realtors.
Almost all of the 10,000 free .realtor domains offered by CREA have been scooped up by Canadian agents, compared to just five per cent of NAR members in the U.S.