The Universal Postal Union has revealed that Poste Italiane has become the first postal operator to launch a new website using the “.post” top-level domain.
The UN-affiliated UPU obtained rights to the domain from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), on behalf of designated postal operators, back in 2009, intending it to become a platform for a global digital mail network and for the sending of electronic shipping data.
Other applications could include e-shops, electronic payment systems, address management and hybrid mail services.
The project was quietly launched at the UPU’s Congress, which concluded earlier this month in Doha, Qatar, after a resolution giving it the green light.
Now the UPU has said that along with Poste Italiane, the posts of Malaysia and Brazil were among the first to register their .post domain names, at the Congress.
Poste Italiane is teaming up with PostNL of the Netherlands to develop a cross-border ecommerce system through the .post platform, UPU said.
And, the Italian operator is also working with China and Macau Posts to trial an electronic registered mail service.
Poste Italiane has provided EUR 500,000 to help get .post off the ground, while Pos Malaysia has pledged $100,000 USD (EUR 77,000).
UPU said its Postal Technology Centre has created a global track and trace application to support the .post platform, allowing customers to track items ordered through to final delivery. UPU said participating posts would benefit from end-to-end tracking.
The system uses electronic data exchanged by posts through the UPU’s Post*Net network, and other interconnected networks managed by external partners.
The Centre’s director Harald Weyerich said the project was in its infancy but has “great potential” as posts sign up.
The next meeting of the UPU’s Postal Operations Council, in April 2013, should see a new user group set up to oversee the future development and management of the top-level domain, the agency said.
UPU member countries will be able to join the group for a fee to help shape the future of the project. In the mean time, a committee led by Italy is driving the work.