AICPA and its technology arm CPA.com are rolling out a new .cpa website domain, allowing firms to provide visitors with greater trust, security and verification that their site is confirmed to be affiliated with the CPA profession.
Firms can now submit applications at domains.cpa during an initial period that runs through Oct. 31. 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. After the initial period closes and the first batch of domains are awarded, firms can apply for any available .cpa name on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis. In January, the process will open further to include individually licensed CPAs.
The .cpa extension will be “restricted” meaning that anyone utilizing .cpa will have to be vetted and verified, as opposed to .com extensions that are largely unrestricted. With so many .com domains given out freely, hackers can more easily and anonymously create “lookalike” websites and email addresses with slightly different .com names to lure unsuspecting visitors.
“Trust is a crucial commodity in business and on the internet, and it’s a cornerstone of the CPA profession,” says 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.”