Co-ops shine online with adoption of .coop domain

Nearly 500 of the nation’s 900-plus electric co-ops have adopted the .coop extension for their websites, ranking them No. 1 among all co-op sectors, according to the nonprofit that runs the domain. Some 9,000 co-ops worldwide use it.

“More than half of electric co-ops is a fantastic achievement,” said Tom Ivey, community development manager at, which manages the registry for the .coop domain.

The .coop domain was launched in 2002 after a push by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) to create an extension that would give co-ops a distinct online identity., based in England, was created in 2001 to manage the domain after the ICA backed a proposal by the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, which works to develop, advance and promote all co-ops.
Ivey said the mandate behind the .coop domain and is to raise the profile and maximize the economic potential of the world’s 3 million co-ops.

“Using .coop says you’re not just another .com — that you put people first, that you’re great to do business with and that you’re part of a global movement of more than 1 billion members,” he said. is tasked with ensuring that any entity requesting the .coop domain is indeed a cooperative. It also provides tools and resources for switching over from another domain as well as branding and marketing support.

A .coop subscription has other benefits, Ivey noted, including a wide availability of domains, so co-ops will likely get the one they want. And because members are vetted, there’s low risk of reseller markets with people buying them, pushing up the price and selling them.

Ivey said momentum among U.S. electric co-ops toward the domain has been building over several years. “I think there’s just this desire among electric co-ops to form a community and to showcase their network,” Ivey said.

The number of electric co-ops with the domain extension is evenly distributed across the U.S., according to the Global Cooperative Directory. In Illinois, 10 distribution electric cooperatives, one generation and transmission cooperative, the statewide association representing Illinois electric cooperatives, and this magazine utilize the .coop domain.