The American Institute of CPAs and its business and technology arm, CPA.com, have begun an early-phase rollout of .cpa, a restricted Internet domain that allows CPAs to connect with clients and the general public with greater trust, security and verification.
Top-level domains are the letters found at the end of an Internet address, with the most common being .com. The use of specialized or restricted top-level domains has grown dramatically in recent years as businesses, organizations, and online communities seek to promote their visibility and authenticity in the digital world. The restricted domain designated for the CPA profession is .cpa.
”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, CPA, CGMA. “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.”
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 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.
“The digital presence of firms has never been more important,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “The .cpa domain will reduce risks associated with phishing and spoofing attacks and the growing number of online bad actors. Just as importantly, it will give clients and the public-at-large greater peace of mind they’re dealing with legitimate CPA firms.”
The AICPA was awarded ownership and management of the .cpa top-level domain last year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
The institute has contracted with Neustar, one of the largest registry service providers in the world, to maintain and secure all .cpa domains. CPA.com will be responsible for managing the outreach of the service to firms in the United States.
CPA.com is hosting a CPE-eligible webcast on Sept. 15 on the new offering. For additional information on the .cpa domain or to register for the webcast, please visit domains.cpa.