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ICANN Yokohama Meeting Topic -Introduction of New Top-Level Domains: Expression of Interest #9

Posted: 9 July 2000

July 07, 2000

ICANN Board of Directors
ICANN Names Council
4676 Admiralty Way,
Suite 330 Marina Del Rey,
CA 90292

Re: Call for Statement of Interest in Proposing a New TLD

Dear ICANN Board of Directors & Names Council:

Please accept this letter on behalf of Dotster Inc. (Dotster) as a formal expression of interest in operating a new TLD registry. Dotster is an ICANN accredited registrar, operational since January 15, 2000.

INTRODUCTION

By means of this letter, Dotster formally submits an expression of interest in operating a new TLD registry. We understand that the letters of interest gathered will be used to assist with the formulation of the appropriate policies concerning the consideration of formal new TLD registry applications. We submit this letter of interest in good faith and understand that by submitting this letter of interest, Dotster will neither be advantaged nor disadvantaged in the formal application process expected later this year.

Information on Dotster and our proposed TLD registry description and structure is provided in the following paragraphs.

DOTSTER INC.

Company Background:

Dotster Inc., headquartered in Longview, Wash., is an ICANN accredited domain name registrar. Since launching on January 15, 2000, Dotster has quickly established itself among the top ten domain name registrars worldwide, registering over 300,000 domain names. Focusing on superior customer service, quick and secure domain name registrations and value-added Web site tools for ISPs, Web hosts and other e-commerce businesses, Dotster is committed to providing the highest level of service to its clients by continually expanding its technology and range of features. Dotster's Web site can be reached at www.dotster.com.

Dotster is a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbia Analytical Services, Inc., (CAS) an analytical laboratory network with locations throughout the United States. CAS is an employee-owned company providing a variety of analytical services to industrial, consulting and government clientele on a nationwide basis. Founded in 1986, CAS currently employees more than 400 employees and generates annual sales of more than $35 million.

Service Features:

One of the newest features to be launched on the Dotster Web site, and the feature which best prepares Dotster for operating a registry, is the dotPartner Plus program. Through a sophisticated Dotster-developed Application Programming Interface (API), the dotPartner Plus program allows qualified partners to offer domain name registration services to their clients from their own Web sites. The partner designs the front-end of the site and the Dotster API provides the back-end application support.

Many other value-added services are available on the Dotster Web site for use by all customers. NameSpin helps customers find available domain names by combining key words to generate lists of synonyms and word combinations available for registration. Bulk Registration makes volume domain name registration easy by allowing customers to check for and register up to 300 domain names in a single session. Account Management functions on the Dotster Web site allow customers to quickly and securely make changes to their contact and name server information by logging in with an account name and password. Dotster also just launched the dotAffiliate program. By setting up a link to Dotster on their Web sites, customers who become dotAffiliates earn commissions for every successful domain name registration that originates from that link.

As the needs of our customers change, new services will continually be reviewed and added to the Dotster Web site.

Operating Infrastructure:

Dotster is able to offer the above-mentioned features and services due to the considerable investment in infrastructure the company has made. All aspects of Dotster hardware, software, and networking systems have been built with the goal of establishing the highest quality and most reliable registrar systems possible. Dotster's operating infrastructure has been designed to allow for considerable growth.

The Dotster technical infrastructure is securely protected by the use of advanced firewall devices. The infrastructure is fully fault tolerant and consists of multiple parallel databases, clustered web servers, and redundant order processing equipment. Dotster handles customer support using an industry recognized call center management system. Should Dotster be given the opportunity to host a new TLD registry, we will apply the same information technology and management approach as has been applied to www.dotster.com.

PROPOSED TLD REGISTRY

Dotster proposes a total of four new TLD's: .biz, .ecom, .firm, and .info. The first three are described collectively as their purpose is similar. The rationale for proposing all four TLDs and a propose structure can be found in the following paragraphs.

TLD Description: .biz, .ecom and .firm

These three TLDs are similar in use. Based on customer polling, Dotster is proposing a new TLD that will obtain the same success as the .com TLD. The .biz, .ecom and .firm TLDs would act as generic names for any business, organization, or individual looking to establish an Internet presence.

The primary rationale for adding such TLDs would be to eliminate the reliance of companies on the .com for their domain name. By reducing stress on the .com system, Dotster believes that .biz, .ecom and .firm TLDs would best serve this need. In addition to enhancing the number of available domain names, these proposed TLDs will also enhance the utility of the DNS and registration competition. Of these three proposed TLDs, .biz is the most generic. Companies or entities that plan on an e-commerce site would most benefit from an .ecom TLD. Consulting agencies and firms would most benefit from a .firm TLD.

TLD Description: .info

The .info TLD would be used for any business organization or individual who has plans for an information site and do not intend to develop an e-commerce application.

The primary rationale for adding .info would be to enhance the utility of the DNS by providing more specificity to the TLD naming options. In addition, Dotster believes that the .info TLD will also enhance the number of available domains and registration competition.

TLD Structure:

Dotster realizes that maintaining the stability and integrity of the Internet should remain the first and foremost priority of any DNS management system. Newly instated TLD registries should not disrupt current DNS operations or create competing root systems. In addition, Dotster is in the process of conceptualizing comprehensive security plans for the new TLDs. The structure of the .biz, .ecom, .firm, and .info TLDs would be identical to the structure of the .com TLD. Dotster, acting as the registry, will provide registry services to allow registrars to register second level domain names under this new TLD. The TLD registry would have an unrestricted structure and provide freely open top-level domain names. Dotster would allow all interested ICANN accredited registrars to become registrars of the new TLD and would require they successfully complete a registrar test-bed process prior to operating as a registrar of the new TLD.

Dotster looks forward to working with ICANN and other Internet agencies to create a stable and secure TLD registry.

SUBMISSION OF FORMAL APPLICATION

Dotster is ready to support a new TLD registry infrastructure even if the above-proposed TLDs are not included in the final set of new TLDs to be determined by ICANN. We intend to submit a formal application for operating a new TLD registry once ICANN has requested such proposals. Dotster believes that based on our strong information management capabilities and the significant infrastructure investments we have made, that we are ready to take on such an opportunity.

Respectfully submitted,

DOTSTER INC.

Clinton Page
President

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