September 20, 2019

AICPA Has Finally Snagged the .CPA Domain Out From Under Untrustworthy Car Park Attendants

In a deal years in the making, the AICPA announced this week it has finally convinced ICANN to let them manage the coveted .cpa domain. Just in time, too, lest it get snapped up by the Canadian Psychiatric Association or Cut and Paste Artists.

Back in 2015, AICPA President, CEO, and Mercy main Barry Melancon wrote ICANN expressing concern that as it stood, any old slob who isn’t a Certified Public Accountant might abuse the .cpa domain and therefore the public trust, setting his sights on getting the organization that basically oversees the entire Internet to hand him the keys to the coveted domain.

“In the AICPA’s view, the .CPA gTLD should be a restricted gTLD, only open for CPAs who are working under the rules and oversight of a governmental body. Only those parties who qualify under the standards and criteria defined by a governmental accounting body that issues the title of CPA should be entitled to a .CPA domain name – any other result would result in consumer harm….”

A letter to Congress from ICANN president Goran Morby late in 2017 stated that of about 68,000 domains starting with, containing, or ending with “cpa” in their names, the organization found no evidence of abuse. Meaning there aren’t wild bands of rogue Internet trolls camping CPA domains for the purpose of diluting public trust or worse, offering professional services without a license. Go figure, Internet criminals have better things to do it seems.

Melancon said:

“By overseeing the .cpa domain in collaboration with other global CPA organizations, the AICPA can help promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing online. We also want the public to have confidence that someone using a .cpa domain address for email or a website is affiliated with the CPA profession.”

The AICPA’s announcement pointed to companies and communities like Amazon, KPMG, and the banking industry as examples of how the popularity of top-level domains for the purpose of brand recognition and trust is on the rise. Because we can all agree those .biz domains are hella trustworthy, right? As yet, KPMG is the only Big 4 firm to make the switch, and from what we can tell they did it for the wrong reason (shock, I know).

It’s unknown what, if any, costs will be associated with registering a .cpa domain through the AICPA once the contract is finalized; they said in their announcement details will be shared later this year. We do know that a year of CPA.com email services runs you $119 so perhaps it will be on par with that. We’ll keep you posted, if you care.

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