Going Interactive Top-Level Co-op Domain Inaugurated

To paraphrase Neil Armstrong; one four-letter, top-level domain for the Internet, and one giant leap for cooperative organizations was inaugurated January 30, 2002, when co-op leaders from around the world gathered in Lower Manhattan to celebrate the addition of "dot-coop" to the lexicon of global commerce and information.

The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) spearheaded the initiative. "ICANN [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] resisted for a long time the notion that we needed a new top-level domain to join dot-com and dot-org," recalls Jeannine Kenney, director of communications and public policy for NCBA. "So the process of getting ICANN to the point where they actually accepted applications was probably a couple years in coming, but after that, the process went pretty quickly."

Kenney adds that ICANN approved seven new domains in November of 2000; dot-coop was one of the first approved - and no others have been approved since.

Although NCBA is the group that vigorously lobbied ICANN for approval of dot-coop, the idea of a top-level co-op domain was first put forth by 1st Rochdale Cooperative Group, Ltd, a consumer-owned, not-for-profit energy cooperative in New York City.

"We were the original proponents of it when it was first discussed applying for it," says Allen Thurgood, CEO and Chairman of 1st Rochdale, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative whose roots go back to 1884. " I thought, what a wonderful opportunity this would be in this information age. I know people are starving for information about cooperative issues, issues they can't read about or know about."

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