.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 the American NCBA (National Cooperative Business Association) to operate the TLD. It was the NCBA that funded the lion's share of the costs of creating .coop.
.coop domains are expensive compared to many other 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 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.