Who Will Control .MLS Domain?

The Canadian Real Estate Association seemed like the clear front-runner to win control of the .MLS top-level domain being introduced by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is responsible for the coordination of the Internet’s systems of unique identifiers. After all, CREA has registered Canadian certification marks for the letters MLS and the term “multiple listing service” in Canada. Plus, the MLS Domains Association, a nonprofit group of 55 U.S. multiple-listings services backs CREA’s application. Yet in July, ICANN issued a statement that “the expression ‘MLS’ is a generic term for ‘multiple listing services’ and is used as such in English-speaking countries,” and that just because CREA holds the certification mark in Canada shouldn’t prohibit the use of the term MLS worldwide. CREA now has to compete with Afilias Ltd., a Dublin, Ireland-based top-level domain registry service, for management of .MLS. A final decision on .MLS is expected from ICANN in 2014.