In December 2009, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) obtained exclusive rights to the “.post” top-level domain for the postal community from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
The .post domain joins existing prominent top level domains (such as .com, .edu, and .org), along with recent additions (such as .museum, .biz, and .aero.) The .post domain is intended to provide a secure space for members of the postal community to develop and deploy digital products and services.
The .post domain is expected to be available for use by private postal operators, regulators, suppliers, vendors, trade unions, and trade associations.
By linking well-established national networks, the UPU hopes .post will allow postal operators and customers to reap the benefits of a global physical/digital network that permits postal service providers and end users to connect quickly and securely to other end users around the world.
The .post domain could be an appropriate platform for a variety of services. Common suggestions include: a global track and trace system linking the existing systems of the posts; the creation of an accessible database holding a universal and global addressing system; and a feature allowing consumers to decide whether to have an item delivered to a physical address or an electronic address.
One approach, at the core of the OIG Risk Analysis Research Center's (RARC) digital strategy paper, Expanding the Postal Platform, would be to give every postal customer an e-mail address and digital ID. The .post top level domain could be a platform to support implementation of this strategy.
The development of the .post top level domain raises a number of interesting questions:
•Should the U.S. Postal Service use .post as a platform for offering digital services?
•What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the .post domain, rather than .com or .gov?
•Are there potential applications for .post that the postal media has not addressed?
•Would .post improve the Postal Service brand by helping differentiate the Postal Service from other services in the digital space?
•Does the choice of domain name affect the quality of service provided or the effectiveness of marketing such services?
Let us know what you think!
This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center.