.coop is a sponsored top-level domain intended for the use of cooperatives, wholly owned subsidiaries, and other organisations that exist to promote or support co-operatives. It was created as a result of ICANN's announcement in late 2000 of a phased release of seven new top-level domains (TLDs) intended in part to take the pressure off the overcrowded .com domain. It was backed by a coalition of interest groups, was developed by the worker co-operative Poptel in the UK and became operational on January 30, 2002.
Its sponsor is DotCooperation LLC (also known as dotCoop), which was created as a subsidiary of a United States cooperative union, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) to operate the TLD. It was the NCBA that funded the lion's share of the costs of creating .coop.
As a sponsored domain with limited economies of scale, .coop domains are expensive compared to generic top-level domains, costing in the region of $100 per year, depending on the choice of registrar or reseller. Registrations are processed via accredited registrars.
Though .coop is restricted as above, not all co-ops with a web presence utilize it. During part of 2005 the REI co-op for a time had a redirector at www.rei.coop that led to their main site at rei.com. Other groups may have a site in .com, .org, or under the code of the country they operate in.