Description of TLD Policies
October 2, 2000
.biz TLD Regulatory and Advisory Council
181 Hudson Street, Suite 7c
New York, NY, 10013
Description of TLD Policies
PREFACE: DEFINITION OF TERMS
Throughout this Description of TLD Policies, the following defined terms will be used. All defined terms will be written with initial capital letters in the main body of this application. The main body of the application follows the definitions.
New TLD: The New TLD string granted as a result of this application. As stated in section E2, we are applying for “.biz”, “.firm”, “.ebiz”, “.real”, “.inc”.
Applicant: The company or individual wishing to Register or Reserve a New TLD name.
Application: The process by which a company requests to Reserve or Register a name under the New TLD.
Registration: The process by which a name under the New TLD is registered. There are two types of registrations: Business Name Registrations and Product Line Registrations (described in Sections E16.7.1 and E16.7.2).
Area of Business: When a business applies for Registration of an SLD it is required to specify the Area of Business (or field) in which it will be operating (see section E.5.0.2).
Market Location: When a business applies for Registration of an SLD it is required to specify the country or countries in which it intends to operate (see section E.5.0.2).
Name Approval: The process by which the requested SLD is approved to be registered. If an Applicant is granted Name Approval this does not necessarily mean that they will be granted Business Approval. Both Name Approval and Business Approval are required before an Applicant’s Registration Application is approved.
Business Approval: The process by which the Applicant’s business is approved to register a name under the New TLD. If an Applicant is granted Business Approval this does not necessarily mean that they will be granted Name Approval. Both Business Approval and Name Approval are required before an Applicant’s Registration Application is approved.
Eligibility Criteria: The criteria that must be met by a business for it to achieve Business Approval for a Company Name Registration, (detailed in section E16.7.1) or that a product line must meet in order to be granted Business Approval for a Product Line Registration.
Eligible Business: A business that meets the eligibility criteria.
Eligible Product Line: A product line that meets the eligibility criteria.
Reservation: The process by which a business can reserve a name for future Registration (described in section E16.14).
Company Name Registration: The primary registration of an Eligible Business (see section E16.7.1).
Product Line Registration: Registration made by an Eligible Business for an SLD other than the SLD registered under the Company Name Registration (see section E16.7.2.).
Registration Transfer: The process by which an SLD can be transferred by a registrant to another business.
Registration Administrator: Staff of the TLD Management Group, or of an organization employed by the TLD Management Group to process Applications for Registration and to monitor sites after Registration.
SLD Status: SLDs under the New TLD can have a number of statuses. Some of these are visible to the world at large, and others only to the TLD Management Group and the Registry Operator:
Available: The SLD is available for Registration or Reservation. This status is visible to all.
Application in Process: An application has been accepted and the applicant has paid. This is divided into two sub-statuses.
(1) Pending Review when the application has not yet been assigned for review to an employee of the TLD Management Group.
(2) Under Review when the application has been assigned for review to an employee of the TLD Management Group. These sub-states are visible to the TLD Management Group and to the Registry Operator but not to the world at large.
See section E16.13 for an explanation of how these statuses are assigned.
Reserved: The SLD is not available for registration or reservation, but applicants wishing the SLD can join the Waiting List. This is divided into two sub-statuses.
(1) Reservation in Progress when an SLD has been reserved and the reservation period is in progress during which the applicant has the chance to file a full application.
(2) Awaiting Waiting List Response. The period during which an e-mail has been sent to a member of the waiting list and they have one week to file a full application or an application for Reservation. See explanation of Waiting List (section E16.4). These sub-states are visible to the TLD Management Group and to the Registry Operator, but not to the world at large.
Registered: The SLD has been registered.
Waiting List: If a name has status Reserved or Application in Process, an applicant can join the Waiting List for the name (see section E16.4).
Major Mark: A major trademark meeting various objective financial and business criteria (see section E5.0.6).
Prior Name Rights: Those individuals or entities that hold have a Major Mark, registered trademark, or an active SLD under another TLD will be said to have Prior Name Rights for the mark or site name in question.
Initial Name Lottery: In the first 60 days from the launch of the New TLD, a “Name Lottery” will be held as a way of smoothly and equitably managing any initial “rush for name” and to protect the Intellectual Property of those with Prior Name Rights (see section E11.2). Winning the Initial Name Lottery will not automatically grant the rights to a requested TLD. Rather, the winner will obtain the right to have their Application for the TLD assessed according to the policies specified in this document.
Primary Name: The SLD requested by the Applicant (as opposed to Substantially Similar Names).
Substantially Similar Names: Names which are substantially similar to a Primary Name applied for by an Applicant. The Applicant will be able to either cheaply register such names, or to prevent them being registered by other applicants (see section E5.0.5).
Listing of Names Applied For: A listing of SLDs in alphabetical order for which the status is “Application in Process”. The list will allow a simple method to lodge a protest for those who believe that their trademark rights will be infringed by the proposed SLD (see section E5.0.4).
Accredited Registrar: A registrar that has been approved to accept applications for the registrations of names under the New TLD (see section E4.4).
New TLD Dispute Resolution Policy: This will be referred to in this document as NTDRP. The NTDRP consists of a slightly expanded version of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy to which all registrants of names in the New TLD will be required to agree (see section E6).
TLD Management Group: A group established by Affinity.com, as explained in the Registry Operators Proposal and the Sponsoring Organization Proposal, which has the functions of running the New TLD Registry in accordance with the policies in this document.
It is the purpose of the policies described in this document to create a TLD which ensures those who register SLDs under this designation will use them to run a “real business” on the Internet. By limiting the availability of the New TLD in this way, we will very significantly reduce the problem of “cyber-hoarders” for genuine Internet entrepreneurs.
We define cyber-hoarders as those that buy up Internet names with no intention of using them for any real business purpose. Rather, they hold the names hostage until a genuine entrepreneur that wants the name for a legitimate business is prepared to pay the ransom – which in most cases is many thousands of dollars. Most “.com” names, which are a single word, a recognizable phrase in common use, or a three or four letter acronym, have been purchased. Less than 30% point to an active web site. In other words, the large majority have been abducted by cyber-hoarders.
This is a big problem for new Internet entrepreneurs. On the Internet, name is everything. In many cases, the entrepreneur has no choice but to settle for a second-best name, or to pay off a cyber-hoarder. The New TLD designation will give the entrepreneur an alternative.
Each application for an SLD under the New TLD will be assessed according to various accounting and business criteria (described in sections E16.6.1 and E16.6.2 below), and only approved if, according to these criteria, the applicant is an Eligible Business. The entrepreneur will pay $2,000 for an approved SLD under the New TLD. The entrepreneur can therefore get the domain name that they want (as long as its not owned by another Eligible Business) for a less than the price of paying off a cyber-hoarder.
We will also check all applications to ensure that they do not attempt to infringe on a Major Mark or an existing trademark. The procedures used for these checks are explained in section E5.0.6.
In addition, in order to establish consumer trust in the New TLD, each domain owner will be required to abide by a set of minimal consumer protection policies.
These initial proposed minimum consumer protection policies are a subset of the OECD guidelines on consumer protection (http://www.oecd.org/dsti/sti/it/consumer/CPGuidelines_final.pdf) and the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue's recommendations on minimum disclosure standards for electronic commerce (http://www.tacd.org/ecommercef.html#minimum):
For the businesses to consumer (b2c) selling of goods and services online, the domain holder will agree to make at least the following disclosures on their site:
a. Name of the company,
b. Geographic address of the company,
c. Phone, fax and e-mail of the company,
d. Geographic targeting, length and validity of the offer,
e. Price and currency of the purchase including all relevant costs,
f. Terms of delivery,
g. Guarantees, warranties or other provisions relating to after-sales service,
h. Information on procedures for complaints,
i. Conditions related to return, exchange, cancellation, refund policy,
k. Information on the applicable law and jurisdiction.
The domain holder will also agree to give the consumer an opportunity to confirm the order, and to cancel the transaction prior to the confirmation.
We are applying for the following TLD string stated in order of preference: “.biz”, “.firm”, “.ebiz”, “.real”, “.inc”. All of the policies throughout all of our application materials apply equally to all of these strings. Throughout this Description of Policies, all of these strings will be referred to as the “New TLD”.
E3. Naming Conventions
Initially, we will offer names only registered at the second level, as in “registered-name.biz”. In the longer term we would, however, hope to put together country sub-domains using the existing two letter country code TLD strings as the sub-domain designators, such as: registered-name.uk.biz (United Kingdom), registered-name.ci.biz (Ivory Coast), registered-name.cy.biz (Cyprus), etc. There are two reasons for this: firstly, it will increase the number of SLDs available under the New TLD. Secondly, as is explained in section III, the New TLD is restricted in such a way as to aim to only allow registration of names by “real businesses” as opposed to by cyber-hoarders and name hoarders. Whereas, we believe the parameters that we intend to use to make this determination are reasonable throughout the major industrialized countries; it will probably be appropriate to create slightly lower hurdle levels for smaller countries or for developing countries. Determining exactly what these hurdles should be will involve a considerable amount of research and consultation for each country. We therefore intend to phase these country code sub-domains in gradually over time as we develop appropriate parameters.
As the .com TLD is unrestricted, registrars of .com SLDs are able to instantly confirm registration after they have determined the availability of the requested name. Under the New TLD, registrants will have to submit detailed application materials such as bank statements and proof of trademark ownership etc. These materials will then be examined by the TLD Management Group to determine whether the registration should be granted.
The processing of applications therefore involves the registrar and the Registry Operator. The main responsibility of the registrar is that of accepting applications. The Registry Operator has the responsibility of doing all the automatic checking that is necessary (see section E16.6.1), recording the registration and maintaining a centralized database, and the administrative functions of carrying out all of the manual analysis and processing of applications.
The role of registrars under this system therefore is:
(a) Present standardized materials giving a full explanation of the conditions for Reservation and Registration (as explained in Section III);
(b) Perform a name check to determine whether the name is Available;
(c) Perform various automatic checks through interface with the Registry Operator system to determine whether the applicant is eligible to apply for Reservation or Registration of the requested SLDs (see sections E16.7.1 and E16.13 );
(d) Provide a facility whereby the Applicant can specify the permissible number of Substantially Similar Names (see section E16.5);
(e) If the Primary Name is Available and the Applicant is eligible to apply, accept the Application from the Applicant for Reservation or Registration of the Primary Name and the requested Substantially Similar Names, and accept payment for the Application;
(f) Submit a message to the Registry Operator, which will change the Name Status from Available to Application in Process, sub-category Pending Review for all requested names;
(g) If the Primary Name has either Name Status “Reserved” or “Application in Process”, the registrar will offer the Applicant the opportunity to join the Waiting List and accept payment for this service (see section E16.4);
(h) Accept a message from the Registry when the application process is complete, informing the registrar of the status of the Application;
(i) As explained below, the Whois database is maintained by the Registry and not by each individual Registrar. Each registrar is given an interface to this database and will supply such information to their users.
It is proposed to pay registrars a $100 fee for each Application that is accepted for Registration. If a name is Reserved, a $50 fee will be paid to the registrar. If the reservation is later converted to a Registration at that time, the registrar will be paid an additional $50 fee.
The computational roles of registry operator under this system is:
(a) Provide all of the necessary interfaces to registrars to allow them to perform the tasks listed above;
(b) Perform instant checks of name availability and applicant eligibility, and return the results to the registrar to allow the registrar to perform the actions listed in E4.1(b) and E4.1(c);
(c) Change the name Status from Available to Application in Process, sub-category Pending Review, when the application is received from the registrar;
(d) Accept messages from the TLD Management Group to update the Name Status as it is changed throughout the process of Application Review (see section E.5.0.2);
(e) Provide a centralized Whois service which is made available through an interface to all accredited registrars. As the application is not instantly granted by a registrar, but rather by the TLD Management Group after an extensive review of submitted materials, it makes sense that the Whois database should be centralized and therefore held by the Registry Operator as opposed to distributed among registrars.
The administrative roles of registry operator will be carried out by the TLD Management Group. These roles are:
(a) To initiate the processing of application materials submitted by the Applicant;
(b) To interact with the Client by e-mail, by mail, and over the telephone, to obtain such information as is necessary to process the Application and to inform the Applicant of the progress of that Application;
(c) To inform the Registry Operator of the status of the Application as the process proceeds so that the Name Status is appropriately updated;
(d) To receive payments from applicants for Registration and other services and to returns fees or portions of those fees where appropriate (see Section E9).
A fuller description of the process of Registration and Reservation of names, and the assignment of responsibilities between the different parties is given in Section 3 of this document.
E4.4 Selection of Registrars
For a period of four months, Registration Services will be provided by the Registry Operator and by one other registrar. We are currently in discussions with two of the largest registrars who have both expressed a very strong interest in providing registration services. We will restrict the number of registrars over this first three-month period, as this period covers the period of the Initial Name Lottery (see section E11.2), and the first two months of regular registration operations. It will be our objective to ensure over this period that our software and processes for receiving and processing applications work smoothly before bringing in further registrars.
After this initial start-up period, we will aim to add one registrar per month over the following six months. In this early stage, we will select registrars randomly from applicants subject to a minimum registration rate of at least 15,000 .com/.net/.org names per month over the preceding three months. After this period, we accept registrars on a more general basis. We will allow only ICANN accredited registrars to apply to become a registrar for the New TLD.
In the New TLD price is an essential element of strategy which has the function of deterring frivolous applications. In addition (see Registry Operator Proposal), much of the cost of application will be used in processing applications to determine whether or not the applicant is an “Eligible Business”. As a result, there will be no price competition under the New TLD.
E5. Intellectual Property Provisions
In this Section E5, we will first give an explanation of our general approach, and then in the light of this summary, specifically answer the Application form questions E5.1 – E5.6. Our explanation section will be divided into sections numbered E5.0.1, E5.0.2, etc.
Our objective in creating policies specified herein is to create a screening process that will prevent a significant proportion of deliberate or unintentional inappropriate use of existing trademarks. We also seek to provide additional protection for those with particularly well-known trademarks in the start-up period. The proposed registration process for the New TLD will offer considerably better protection for intellectual property rights than the current registration procedures for .com/.net/.org names, as under the New TLD each application will be checked manually. Clearly, despite our best efforts, we will not be able to catch all instances of intellectual property infringement at the Application stage. It is therefore our objective to ensure that if such infringement does occur, that the injured party is able to easily seek corrective measures.
An Application for Registration will only be approved if it is passed for Business Approval and Name Approval. The following procedures will be used to assess applications for Name Approval:
(a) The Applicant will specify an Area of Business and main Market Location. The location can be specified as a specific country or as “worldwide”;
(b) If the Applicant business has a registered trademark for the Area of Business and Market Location, or any portion of that location (say the Applicant has a primary market of the E.U. and has a trademark for Germany), it will be granted Name Approval;
(c) If the Applicant business has no registered trademark, a basic trademark search (see E5.0.3 below) will be conducted for the specified name in the specified area;
(d) If there is a clear trademark infringement Name Approval will not be granted;
(e) If there is not a clear Trademark infringement Name Approval will be granted;
(f) All Applicants will be informed that they should carry out their own thorough trademark checks and that the basic check carried out in processing the Application is a screening process only, and absolutely no guarantee that their SLD will not infringe on an existing trademark or famous name;
(g) All Applicants will be required to agree to a slightly modified version of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (see section E6);
(h) At the time the Application is submitted, the requested name will be publicly posted on a “Listing of Names Applied For” (see section E5.0.4 below) available at the Registry website or at participating registrar websites. Those believing that their trademark rights will be infringed by the proposed name will be able to submit a protest to the Registration Administrator and the Applicant;
(i) Except in cases of very clear trademark infringement, such protests will not result in Name Approval being withheld;
(j) If a dispute over an SLD is taken to arbitration, the complainant will be able to obtain records of the parameters under which the application was submitted (business area and Market Location), and any protests that were submitted as possible evidence of bad faith on the part of the registrant.
During the Registration process, therefore, our approach will be relatively liberal except in the case of very blatant trademark infringement. We expect, however, that because of the openness of our overall procedure, and because of the costs involved in registering and in subsequent arbitration proceedings, and because of the likelihood of such proceedings being filed in the cases of trademark infringement, that we will deter many cases of intentional abuse of intellectual property rights.
It should be noted that if a Name Approval is not granted, but Business Approval is granted (see sections E16.7.1 and E16.6.1), the applicant would be allowed to specify an alternative name for an additional cost of $300. If both Name Approval and Business Approval are rejected, $1,500 or the $2,000 will be refunded to the applicant.
The following sections (E5.0.3 - E5.0.7) provide greater detail on the process E5.0.2 (a)-(j) listed above.
As stated in 5.0.2 (b) above, when an application is submitted, the Applicant will also be required to state the primary country in which they expect to do business. The Applicant may also say that it is their intention to do business worldwide.
These two elements of information (field of business and primary market location) will be recorded and available to view in the Whois database.
If the Applicant is able to show trademark rights for the field of business and the primary market in which they wish to operate, Name Approval will be granted to that applicant.
If the applicant has no trademark rights and gives a primary Market Location for which a trademark database is available, a trademark search will be done for that country. We expect to be able to provide trademark searches for the major industrialized countries. If the Applicant specified a worldwide market, we will conduct a search for the United States and for the E.U. The trademark search will only be conducted for the exact name specified and not for variants of the name. If the requested name is not already trademarked for the business field and for the Market Location, Name Approval will be granted.
If the Applicant gives a primary Market Location for which no trademark database is available a basic search will be conducted for the United States and the E.U. If the Registration Administrator sees potential overlap with one of these major markets, he/she may ask for further evidence that the business actually exists and performs the activities claimed. For example, if an Applicant were to request Snapple.biz to sell auto-parts in Nepal (which, let us assume, is a country for which Snapple beverages has no trademark), the Registration Administrator could ask for further specific evidence such as invoices, catalogs etc and would only give Name Approval if the Applicant was able to demonstrate to his/her satisfaction the existence of such business activities.
We will only check the U.S. and the E.U. for applications giving a “worldwide” market specification and perform only a basic search because the costs of doing a broader search would become prohibitive (a worldwide search on all possible variants of a specified name could cost over $1,000).
In general, we will emphasize to Applicants that the achievement of Name Approval is no guarantee that the requested SLD does not infringe an existing trademark, and that we strongly recommend that Applicants perform their own trademark searches. The purpose of our trademark search is only to provide an initial screen and prevent some accidental infringements and some of the more blatant attempts at cyber-hoarding.
When an Applicant applies for an SLD Registration or Reservation (see sections E16.6.1 and E16.6.2), the name will be added to the Listing of Names Applied For. The listing will be continuously updated as names are applied for. The list will show all of the SLDs having the Name Status “Application in Process” or Reserved. The listing will be in alphabetical order. Listed with each name will be the proposed Area of Business and Market Location (see section E.5.0.2 (a), and the name of the Applicant. Next to each name will also be a link that will allow any parties that believe that their trademark rights will be infringed to lodge a protest of up to approximately 100 words explaining their objection. The complaint will be forwarded to both the Applicant and to the Registration Administrator who is handling their application. Unless the protest highlights a very clear and obvious case of trademark infringement, a Name Approval will not be withheld on the basis of a protest. The records of the Application will however be stored with any protests that are lodged, and this information may be used to as evidence of bad faith in any arbitration proceedings that are instituted under the procedures described in Section E6. The main purpose of the Listing of Names Applied For is therefore merely to forewarn the Applicant about likely objections to the Registration of their name and to provide a record to the complainant that such an objection has been lodged.
The Listing of Names Applied For will ultimately be searchable by sub-string. So that, for example, the Coca-Cola Company will be able to search for “coke” and find Applications for drinkacoke.biz, or ihatecoke.biz, and so on. This feature may not be implemented in the initial phases of the New TLD.
E5.0.5 Substantially Similar Names
When an applicant Reserves or Registers a name, others will be prevented from registering or reserving names which differ only by hyphens. For example, if dogfood.biz is registered, then others will be prevented from registering dog-food.biz or even d-ogfood.biz. Applicants for Registration or Reservation will also be allowed to specify up to five names which differ only by “regular plurals” (i.e. in English adding an ‘s’), or by regular possessives. For example, in the above case an applicant would be able to specify “dogsfood.biz” or “dogfoods.biz” as Substantially Similar. We will employ translators to verify Substantially Similar Names which Applicants claim to be plurals or possessives in a foreign language. The applicant pays $25 for each Substantially Similar name that they wish to have pointing to their web site, and $10 for each where they just wish to prevent others from using the name.
Various ICANN working group reports have considered proposals that Applicants should be able to buy or block off common misspellings of their trademarked name: “trademark owner would be eligible to register a limited number of domain name variations that were similar or nearly identical to the registered mark” (ICANN Report of Working Group B 18 April 2000). We do not propose to allow Applicants to specify common misspellings for a number of reasons:
(a) There is less need to allow trademark owners to block-off variations of their name, as each name applied for will be checked against a trademark database and the application will be rejected if the name is an obvious violation of an existing trademark or famous name (see section 5.0.3). For example, an Applicant would not be allowed to register Macdonaldsburgers.biz, Fordtrucks.biz or Snapplejuice.biz, and would have their application rejected and lose a proportion of their application fee for trying to do so. Note that the system proposed under the New TLD has considerable benefits, as the process of manual checking allows us to reject names that would otherwise be very difficult to screen automatically.
(b) We feel that under many circumstances we will not be competent to determine whether a given misspelling is or is not taking unfair advantage of an existing famous name. We feel that such issues are much better handled by an approved arbitration panel, or if absolutely necessary, in the courts. For example, if a company wished to register “Coca-Loca” (Spanish for Crazy Cola), it is not instantly clear whether or not this infringes the rights or dilutes the trademark of “Coca-Cola”.
(c) All applicants will agree to a slightly modified version of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (see section E6), and therefore will be subject to arbitration hearings and the possible removal of their SLD if they lose arbitration.
(d) Applicants will be paying a $2,000 fee and going to considerable efforts to register their name, and are therefore are less likely to register a name which they may be likely to lose.
In summary, cost and effort involved in application, and the likelihood that the application will be rejected or lost through arbitration proceedings, make it less likely that Applicants will register common misspellings of famous names. If such names are registered, the injured party can relatively easily have the name taken away by going to arbitration.
E5.0.6 Major Marks
We do not feel ourselves competent to determine what is or isn’t a “famous name”. We have therefore decided to use a set of objective criteria to define what we call “Major Marks”. Major Marks are given priority during the Initial Name Lottery (see section Ell.2), but at no time subsequent to this.
Currently, the criteria by which a Major Mark are identified are the following:
The business must be able to supply a qualified auditor’s letter attesting to at least one of the following:
(a) Annual Sales of at least $200 Million;
(b) At least 1500 dedicated outlets (e.g. MacDonald’s, Gap Stores, Hilton Hotels, etc) and $100 of revenues;
(c) At least 10,000 retail outlets that stock their product (e.g. Champion Spark Plugs, Stanley Tools, Snapple Beverages, etc) and $100 of revenues.
These criteria may be adjusted prior to the commencement of the Initial Name Lottery.
Our reason for giving no subsequent priority to Major Marks after the Initial Name Lottery is because of the difficulty of implementing such a procedure. Although we are able to check submitted documents to determine whether an Applicant has a Major Mark, we do not have a complete listing of such marks. It would therefore be impossible to determine whether a given Application infringed on the trademark rights of a Major Mark. We also believe that such disputes are better handled by arbitration proceedings than during the Application process.
All Applicants will be required to agree to the NTDRP, which is a slightly modified version of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (see section E6), which will require them to submit to arbitration proceedings in response to complaints of Intellectual Property Infringement, of improper site transfer or of having an inactive site.
E5.1 What measures will be taken to discourage registration of domain names that infringe intellectual property rights?
The Application cost is $2,000. If the Application is rejected, $500 of this fee is retained. The application is scrutinized for blatant trademark infringement (section E5.0.3), and the requested SLD is publicly posted for possible objection. In addition, all registrants agree to submit to arbitration proceedings under a slightly modified version of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (see section E6). This makes it relatively likely that attempts to cynically register the trademarks of others will be rejected, or that the name will be lost through arbitration proceedings. We believe that the cost and effort involved in application, and the likelihood that the application will be rejected or lost through arbitration proceedings, make it less likely that Applicants will register existing trademarks or common misspellings of famous names.
E5.2 If you are proposing pre-screening for potentially infringing registrations, how will the pre-screening be performed?
Screening will be carried out by Registration Administrators through the processes described in Section 5.0.3, and by the general public through the Listing of Names Applied For (see Section 5.0.4).
See the answers to E5.1 and E5.2.
We will require that all Registrants agree to a slightly expanded version of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy. In this document this is called the New TLD Dispute Resolution Policy or NTDRP. All existing provisions of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy will remain in place. Our modifications will require registrants to submit to arbitration proceedings “a mandatory administrative proceeding” if a complainant asserts that the SLD is being used for an interest other than that of the Registrant, or that the SLD is being used for the benefit of a business that does not meet the Minimum Maintenance Criteria (section E16.9). The first of these additional provisions will be added so as to prevent the transfer of names without going through the Transfer Procedures described in section E16.11. The second provision will be added to allow the complainant to “free-up” names that are not being actively used for a business purpose.
If the complainant is successful in showing that the SLD is being used for an interest other than that of the registrant, the registrant will be given the opportunity to transfer the SLD under the procedures listed in Section E16.11 to the business whose interests are promoted by the site. If the requested transfer does not meet eligibility criteria (see Section E16.11.1), the SLD will be taken from the existing registrant and returned to the pool of available names. If the complainant is successful in showing that the business using the SLD does not meet the Minimum Maintenance Requirements, the SLD will also be returned to the pool of available names.
The exact legal language of these new provisions is as yet to be determined.
E7. Data Privacy, Escrow, and Whois Data
E7.1 Data Privacy
E7.2 Data Escrow
During the term of this Agreement, on a daily basis or on such other schedule as ICANN may from time to time specify, the Registry Operator shall submit to ICANN or to an independent escrow agent ICANN designates, an electronic copy, in a format specified by ICANN, of the database as designated by ICANN. The escrowed data shall be held by ICANN or the escrow agent under an escrow agreement that specifies that the escrowed data may be used only in the event that Registry accreditation agreement is terminated or expires without renewal.
E7.3 Whois Data
II. REGISTRATION POLICIES DURING THE START-UP PERIOD.
In general we believe the “rush for names” will be lessened by the restrictions that the New TLD will place on cyber-hoarding (see Section III). On the one hand, there will be no rush of cyber-hoarders to rapidly buy up names. On the other hand, genuine entrepreneurs will feel that their selected name is more likely to be available when they need it, and so will not necessarily feel the need to obtain their name as soon as the TLD is launched.
In this section, we will first give an explanation of our general approach, and then in the light of this summary, specifically answer the application form questions E12-E15. Our explanation section is numbered as Sections E11.1 - E11.3.
We specify the "start-up" period as the first two months during which the New TLD is available. During this period we will implement are an initial "Name Lottery" to address the potential rush for SLDs and to provide an additional layer of protection to existing trademarks and Major Marks (see Section E11.2).
E11.2 The Initial Name Lottery.
During the first two months from the launch of the New TLD, a Name Lottery will be held. Applicants to the lottery will be able to apply for either Name Registration (see Section E16.13.), or for Name Reservation (see Section E16.14) for any specified SLD. By applying for an SLD during the start-up period, an Applicant will automatically initiate a lottery for that SLD. The application fee for the lottery the lottery will be $100 per SLD. Those applying under the lottery for Name Reservation will only be considered if there are no applicants for Name Reservation for that SLD. Additional priority will be given to those with Major Marks, registered trademarks or SLDs under other sites, as explained in Section E11.3 below. Subject to these conditions, however, the winner of the lottery for each name will be picked at random.
At the end of the lottery period the winners will be informed of the decision and will be given one week to file a Reservation or a full Registration Application (as specified previously in their lottery application) and to pay the applicable fees. The lottery application fee will be allowable against the full Registration application or Reservation cost. However, this fee will not be returned if the winner does not file within the required time. All losers will be informed of their loss and their lottery application fees will be returned. The losers of the lottery will be placed on the Waiting List (see Section E16.4) for the requested SLD in random order.
A win on the lottery will not be transferable to another individual or corporate entity. In other words, the winning lottery applicant must also be the individual or entity that files the Reservation or Registration Application. This measure will be enacted to prevent those wishing to obtain a name filing multiple applications through friends, family or other companies. Winning the lottery will not guarantee the winner of being awarded the requested SLD. It the winner files an application for the SLD, this application will be considered in the normal fashion as explained in Section E16.6.1.
As explained in Section E16.6.1, only businesses will be able to file for Registration under the New TLD. Lottery applications for Registration will therefore be accepted only from businesses and not from individuals. Status will not be verified at the time of the lottery, however applicants will be informed at that time that if that if they are not an "Eligible Business" in the terms defined in Section E16.6.1, that even if they win the lottery, their application will ultimately be rejected. Similarly, individuals will be deterred from filing for Reservation in a false name, and if they are unable to prove identity at the time of Registration, the Application will be denied.
If the lottery winner fails to submit an application, or the application is rejected, the first member of the Waiting List is sent an e-mail and then has one week to file their Reservation or their full application. If the first member of the Waiting List fails to respond in the designated time, the next member of the list is contacted, and so on.
Note that although we use the term “lottery”, many of the lotteries will have just one or very few applicants. The popular generic SLDs (e.g. Beauty, Cars, Clothes, etc.) will probably have many applications. However, if a business applies for the SLD of their own business name, in many cases they will be the only applicant.
Under the usual application procedure (see Sections E16.1 to E16.8), protection is provided for those with Prior Name Rights. During the start-up period, an additional layer of protection will be provided to those with Prior Name Rights. We feel that we have no ability to truly assess what is and what isn’t a “famous mark”. We have, therefore, decided in the start-up period to give priority to “Major Marks” where these are assessed using objective criteria discussed in Section E5.0.6.
Those applicants that have a Major Mark, a registered trademark, or an active SLD in another TLD (Prior Name Rights), will be able to specify this and claim priority over others in their application through the start-up lottery process described above (Section E11.2). Applications in the lottery will be given priority in the following order:
(a) Major Marks
(b) Registered Trade Marks
(c) Existing SLD under other TLD
(d) General applicants
Those wishing to take advantage of these provisions must apply for Registration under the lottery. No priority will be given to lottery applicants with Prior Name Rights wishing to Reserve an SLD.
If a lottery applicant claims Prior Name Rights, and this claim is subsequently found to be false when the application is processed, the application will be rejected and the lottery application fee in addition to $500 of the Registration fee will be retained. The determination of Prior Name Rights is explained in Section E5.0.6. The right to apply for the SLD then passes to the first member of the Waiting List as described above.
E12. Addressing “Initial Rush” of Registrants
The measures outlined in Section E11.1 above for the Name Lottery will allow us to deal more effectively with the initial rush for names. The TLD start-up period will be the first 60 days from the launch of the New TLD. We believe that we will obtain between 5,000 and 10,000 lottery applications within the lottery period. Many of these applications will probably be for the same names. We believe that there will be requests for registration of between 2,500 and 5,000 different names. After the initial lottery period, we believe that we will receive approximately 2,500 applications per quarter during the first year.
We believe that the number of requests will be at this relatively low level as the regulations of the New TLD will effectively deter cyber-hoarders.
Individuals and corporate entities can file as many lottery applications as they like. Registration and Reservation limits will however be as specified in Sections E16.6.1 and E16.6.2. If therefore an applicant wins many SLD lotteries, they will have to choose which SLDs to apply for. The applicant will forfeit the $100 lottery application fee for any lottery which they win, but where they do not file an application for Registration or Reservation.
E14. Pricing Mechanisms
As explained in Section E9, the application price will be $2,000 for a Name Registration and $500 for a Name Reservation. Name Reservation fees will not be refundable, and $500 of the Name Registration fee will be retained if the Registration Application is declined. We believe that this and the measures outlined above in this section will sufficiently dampen the initial “rush for names”. No additional pricing mechanisms will be utilized during the start-up period.
The Initial Name Lottery (see Section E11.2) functions as a de-facto “Sunrise Period”, as it allows those with Prior Name Rights to obtain priority for registrations during the star-up period.
III. REGISTRATION RESTRICTIONS
E16. Registration Restrictions
In this Section III, we will first give an explanation of our general approach, and then in the light of this summary, specifically answer the Application form questions E17-E21. Our explanation section will be divided into sections numbered E16.1, E16.2, etc.
As explained in Section E1, our objective in restricting registrations to the New TLD is to ensure that those that register SLDs under this designation will use them to run a “real business” on the Internet.
Each application for an SLD under the New TLD will be assessed according to various accounting and business criteria (described in Sections E16.6.1 and E16.6.2 below) and only approved if, according to these criteria, the applicant is an Eligible Business. The entrepreneur will pay $2,000 for an approved SLD under the New TLD. The entrepreneur can therefore get the domain name that they want (as long as its not owned by another Eligible Business) for a less than the price of paying off a cyber-hoarder.
We will also check all applications to ensure that they do not attempt to infringe on a Major Mark or an existing trademark. The procedures used for these checks are explained in Section E5.0.2.
Only Eligible Businesses will be allowed to register names under the New TLD (see Eligibility for Registration Section E16.6.1). The application process is described in detail in Section E16.13.
A business can only register one “Company Name”.
E16.2.2 Product Line Registration
In order to obtain a Product Line Registration, a business must have a Company Name SLD Registration, and each product line must meet the Product Line Registration Eligibility Criteria (Section 16.7.2). Subject to these requirements, a company can have as many Product Line Registrations as they wish where the selected name corresponds to a name for which they are able to show trademark ownership. A company can have only up to five product line registrations for which they do not have trademark ownership.
When an entrepreneur starts a business on the Internet, one of the prime considerations may be the availability of a suitable name. We therefore wanted to create a process which would exclude cyber-hoarders, but would allow genuine entrepreneurs to reserve an appropriate name for a business which is still in the idea stage.
If an Applicant is unable to meet the Eligibility Criteria, but believes that they will shortly be able to do so, they will be able to reserve an SLD for a period of six months at a cost of $500. The Reservation will be renewable once, for an additional three months, for an additional $500 at the end of this period. Reservation fees will not be refundable. When a name has been reserved, other applicants will be prevented from registering or reserving that name, any name that differs solely by punctuation, or any name that is designated by the Applicant (and accepted by the TLD Management Group) to be a Substantially Similar Name (see Section E5.0.5). At any time during the application period the Applicant can file a full application for Registration. The Applicant’s fees will be reduced from $2,000 to $1,650 if the Reservation has not been renewed, and to $1,300 if the Reservation has been renewed. In other words, $350 of each Reservation fee will be allowable against the full cost of an application. If the Registration Application is rejected, or the Reservation period expires without a full application being made, the name(s) are returned to the pool of available SLDs and the Applicant forfeits all reservation fees paid.
If a Reservation is made by an individual at the time the full application is filed, the individual must present a notarized statement of their identity and a notarized statement signed by a senior officer of the company (which could be themselves) showing that they own at least a 5% equity interest, or a 5% partnership interest, in the company applying for a Registration. Similarly, if the name Reservation is made by a company other than that which files the full application for Registration, then at the time the full application is filed, the reserving company must present a copy of their articles of organization or incorporation and a notarized statement signed by a senior officer of the registering company, confirming that the reserving company owns at least a 5% equity interest or a 5% partnership interest in the registering company. If this documentation is not submitted, the Registration Application will be cancelled and $500 of the application fee will be retained. These provisions will help to prevent individuals or companies obtaining multiple reservations using false names, and the Reservation of names by individuals or companies wishing to resell their reservation rights to others. In addition, if it is determined that a payment has been made to the individual or company making the Reservation, for a transfer of the Reservation right, then the Reservation will be cancelled and all fees will be retained.
In order to Reserve an SLD, the applicant will have to meet the Criteria for Reservation Application (Section E16.6.2).
We selected a relatively high price for Reservation ($500), and made this fee non-refundable, because we wanted to deter warehousing of names by those that have no definite intention to use the SLD to start a business.
If a name has status Reserved or Application in Process, an applicant can join the Waiting List for the name. An Applicant can join the waiting list to make a full application or to reserve a name; however, those waiting to apply for Registration are always given priority over those wishing to merely reserve a name. A $20 fee is charged to join the Waiting List. If the previous holder of a Reservation fails to submit an application, or a Registration application is rejected, the next member of the Waiting List is sent an e-mail and has one week to file their Reservation or their full application. If the first member of the Waiting List fails to respond in the designated time, he/she forfeits the $20 fee and the next member of the list is contacted, and so on.
The fee is allowable against the costs of Registration or Reservation. The fee is refunded if the name is Registered by another Applicant. A fee is charged for joining the Waiting List in order to prevent individuals or companies filing multiple Waiting List entries in false names, so as to keep a particular SLD off the market.
As explained in Section E5.0.5, when an applicant Reserves or Registers a name others will be prevented from registering or reserving names which differ only by hyphens. Applicants for Registration or Reservation will also be allowed to specify up to five names, which differ only by “regular plurals” (i.e. in English adding an ‘s’) or by regular possessives. The applicant pays $25 for each Substantially Similar name that they wish to have pointing to their website, and $10 for each where they just wish to prevent others from using the name.
Several automatic checks are performed when a Registration Application or Reservation Application is submitted.
E16.6.1 Criteria for Registration Application
(1) In order to apply for Registration, the applicant must be a Company. No computational check is performed at this stage of the legitimacy of the corporate entity; however, the applicant is informed that the company name must match that on the bank statements that they will be submitting for the assessment of their application materials. Applications for Registrations from individuals will not be accepted.
(2) For a Company Name Registration application to be accepted, the company in question must have no other active Company Name Registrations.
(3) For a Product Line Registration application to be accepted, the company must have either have an active Company Name Registration or must have a Company Name Registration application in process.
(4) A company can have a total of no more than 10 applications in process at any one time.
E16.6.2 Criteria for Reservation Application
(1) Company Name Reservation applications can be made by companies or individuals. Note that if a company is making a Company Name Reservations it may be doing so either to provide a website for their own operations or with the view to starting a new venture.
(2) Product Line Reservations can be made only by companies that already have a Company Name Registration.
(3) Companies can have no more than five Product Line Reservations active at any one time.
(4) Companies and individuals can have no more than three Company Name Reservations active at any one time.
(5) If a name is already Reserved, a company or individual can join the Waiting List for Registration or for Reservation (see Section E16.4).
The criteria defining what is an Eligible Business or an Eligible Product Line, are at the very center of the policies for managing the New TLD. As described in the accompanying Sponsoring Organization’s Proposal, we will hold meetings on a regular basis to review the criteria that are used to make this determination. We will also seek input from registrants, from business associations, and from the Internet community in general to determine how these criteria could best be modified. Although our current criteria will be used to apply to what are broadly considered "developed countries", it is our intention to also develop policies requiring lower levels of restriction to apply to enterprises in developing economies.
In order for a Registration to be granted, a business must have a bank account. The Bank account must be in exactly the same name as that supplied for the business on application. The business must be able to demonstrate at least one of the following to be granted a Business Name Registration:
(a) Bank statements from the three months preceding the application showing at least $30,000 in the account at each statement date.
(b) Expenditures of more than $20,000 over the preceding three months, or $40,000 over the preceding one year. In order to show this, the business should show both bank statements and invoices from the period. A company might, for example, meet this requirement by showing its payroll records, utility bills and rental agreement for the period.
(c) More than $20,000 in sales over the previous year. In order to demonstrate this, the business should present copies of sales invoices from the period.
In addition, the requested SLD must be granted Name Approval under the procedures explained in Section E5.0.2
We fully understand that these criteria are not foolproof, and that someone operating cynically could aim to capture a valuable name in the New TLD by circumventing these restrictions. However, each application will be thoroughly checked (see Section E16.13 below), and if a Registration Administrator becomes suspicious that the application is fraudulent (that is, that the Applicant is not truly a company doing business) they will be empowered to request further evidence of business activities as explained in Section E16.12 below.
E16.7.2 Product Line Registration Eligibility Criteria
(a) A statement from an auditor that at least $15,000 has been spent on development of the product line over the last three months.
(b) More than $20,000 in sales over the preceding year. In order to demonstrate this, the business should present copies of sales invoices from the period.
(c) A separate bank account for the product meeting any of the criteria for a business registration.
In addition, the requested SLD must be granted Name Approval under the procedures explained in Section E5.0.2
A company applying for a Product Line Registration must also have, or be applying for, a Company Name Registration. The Product Line Registration will not be awarded unless the Company Name Registration is awarded.
In order to reserve an SLD, the applicant gives only their name and the name of the company, if any, on behalf if which they are applying. A Reservation is always approved as long as the application is accepted (see Section xE16.6.2 - Criteria for Reservation Application), i.e. no further checking is done. When the Registration Application is submitted, however, as explained in Section E16.3, the identity of the Applicant is checked and the Application is rejected if this is different from the identity of the individual or company filing the registration.
SLDs will have to be renewed on an annual basis. The annual renewal fee will be $150. In order to renew an SLD under the New TLD, the Registrant will have to have an active website. In addition, the Registrant will file an on-line statement claiming at least one of the following renewal criteria:
For Company Name Registrations:
(a) A bank account with at least $20,000 at each statement over the preceding three months.
(b) $20,000 in expenditures over the preceding six months.
(c) $10,000 in sales over the preceding six months.
For Product Line Registrations:
(a) A separate bank account with at least $10,000 at each statement over the preceding three months.
(b) A statement from an auditor that at least $15,000 has been spent on development of the product line over the previous six months.
(c) More than $10,000 in sales over the preceding year. In order to demonstrate this, the business should present copies of sales invoices from the period.
Renewal applications will be checked only in a limited manner as described in Renewal Procedures in Section E16.17.1.
The Minimum Maintenance Criteria are the same as the Renewal Criteria given in Section E16.9 above. If a site fails to maintain the Minimum Maintenance Criteria, a complainant will be able to require the registrant to submit to arbitration proceedings on the basis that their site is inactive. The provision allowing this action by the complainant will be included in the NTDRP (see Section E9). If the complainant succeeds in showing that a site is inactive through these proceedings, that complainant will then be given the option to apply for the SLD and their Application will be processed in the usual way as described in section E16.13. If the complainant succeeds in showing that a site is inactive but does not wish to apply for the SLD then that SLD will be returned to the pool of Available names.
An SLD can only be transferred from one business to another if the first business or product line is purchased by the second. In this case, both the selling business and the buying business must demonstrate that they meet the criteria for SLD transfers on the date for which transfer is requested. If Registration transfer is requested retrospectively, both the buying and selling business must show records to demonstrate that each met the criteria at the date of transfer. A fee of $2,000 will be charged to the transferee for a Registration Transfer.
For either the transfer of a Company Name Registration or of a Product line Registration, the transferring company must show that the business transferred was active at the time of transfer. The transferring company will therefore be required to meet the following criteria:
(a) A company will only be permitted to transfer a Company Name Registration if at least a 50% equity interest in the transferring company is transferred to the Transferee.
(b) For a Company Name Registration Transfer or for a Product Line Registration Transfer, the transferring company must demonstrate that at the time of transfer it met at least one of the following criteria:
(1) Bank statements for the company or for the separate product line from the three months preceding the application showing at least $30,000 in the account at each statement date.
(2) Expenditures of more than $20,000 over the preceding three months or $40,000 over the preceding one year.
(3) More than $20,000 in sales over the previous year. In order to demonstrate this, the business should present copies of sales invoices from the period.
The Registration Administrators are either employees of the TLD Management Group or accounting or legal professionals that have been contracted by the TLD Management Group to process applications. In the course of processing applications, Registration Administrators will be in contact by e-mail, by mail, and where necessary by telephone, with the Applicant to request the documentation to prove the eligibility and if necessary to discuss these documents. If necessary, and with the permission of the Applicant, the Registration Administrators may contact third parties possibly including, but not limited to, the Applicant’s bank, suppliers, and customers in order to verify the applicant’s status as an eligible business. All information submitted by an Applicant in pursuit of an application will be kept completely confidential and will never be used for any purpose other than the assessment of the Applicant’s eligibility to obtain an SLD under the New TLD designation.
Staff employed directly by the TLD Management Group and external organizations employed by the TLD Management Group will process applications for Registration. These individuals will be called Registration Administrators in this document.
(1) Applicant wishes to apply for Registration of a name through any Accredited Registrar.
(2) On the Registrar’s website, the Applicant is informed of Application Criteria and of Approval Criteria for Registration.
(3) The specified SLD is checked automatically for availability. This includes ensuring that the requested name does not differ only by dashes from any name which has already been granted or reserved or from any SLD which has been designated “Substantially Similar” to an existing Reservation or Registration (see Section E5.0.5).
(4) If the name is available, the applicant is automatically checked against the Criteria for Registration Application (see Section E16.6.1).
(5) If the applicant is eligible to apply, he/she may also specify up to five Substantially Similar Names (see Section E5.0.5).
(6) The Applicant uses a credit card, or other approved payment system, to pay the required fees to the Registry Operator. This fee will be $2,000 plus fees for Substantially Similar Names (see Section E5.0.5), less any fees applied from the Applicant’s previous Reservation of the Name (see Section E16.6.2) or Waiting List Fees (see Section E16.4).
(7) The Name Status of the primary name and the Substantially Similar Names is updated to Application in Process, subcategory Pending Review.
(8) Registration Administrators continuously review the database to check for applications Pending Review. A Registration Administrator accepts the application for review, and changes the Name Status to Under Review.
(9) The Registration Administrator makes contact with the applicant and requests materials necessary to show that they are an Eligible Business. If the Applicant originally held a Reservation for the same SLD, this material will include proof of identity and proof of the Applicant’s equity or partnership interest in the business (see Section E16.3). In any case, the materials will include bank statements for the past three months and invoices or bills required to prove revenues or expenditures as specified in the Eligibility Criteria (see Section E16.6.1).
(10) The Registration Administrator checks the requested TLD and determines whether to grant Name Approval under the procedures specified in Section E5.0.2. If Name Approval is rejected, the Applicant may cease the Application process or elect to request an alternate SLD. If the Application is discontinued, $1,500 of the fee is retained and $500 is returned. If the Applicant wished to request an alternate SLD, they will be required to pay an additional $300 fee to continue processing the Application.
(11) The Applicant has four weeks to submit the required materials. If the materials are not submitted within this time frame, the Application will be cancelled and $500 or the application fee will be retained. The remainder of the fee will be returned to the Applicant. The applicant will be sent e-mail reminders every week informing of the time remaining to submit materials. In addition, the Registration Administrator will make efforts to be flexible and to allow the applicant additional time if necessary.
(12) If the Registration Administrator does not receive sufficient proof of eligibility to accept the application, he/she will contact the Applicant and request any further materials that are required.
(13) The Registration Administrator either approves or rejects the application for the Primary Name and each of the Substantially Similar Names. A message is sent to the Applicant and to the Registry Operator informing them of the outcome of the process.
(14) If the name(s) are approved, the:
a. The names are registered;
b. The SLD Status of the Primary name and the Substantially Similar Names are updated to Registered;
c. The Waiting List applying to that name is deleted and sends e-mails to all on that list. The Waiting List fees of $20 are refunded to those on the list;
d. The Waiting Lists are deleted for any name which differs only by punctuation and for Substantially Similar Names. E-mails are sent to all on that list and the Waiting List fees of $20 are refunded.
(15) If the Primary name is rejected:
a. The Applicant is told the reason for rejection of the Application and is given one week to request an appeal (see Section E16.1.6). If the Applicant does not appeal:
b. $1,500 of the application fee is returned to the Applicant ($500 is retained).
c. If there is a Waiting List for the primary name or for any Substantially Similar Names, an e-mail is sent to the first member of the list giving them one week to submit an application for the name. The Name Status is changed to Awaiting Waiting List Response.
d. If there is no Waiting List, the SLD Status of all names applied for (the Primary Name and Substantially similar Names) is returned to Available.
(16) After a short period of time, the Registration Administrator will check to determine that the requested names have been registered, returned to the available pool, or passed to the next in line in the Waiting List as appropriate.
(1) The Applicant wishes to apply for Reservation of a name through any one of a number of Accredited Registrars.
(2) The Applicant is informed of Reservation Application Criteria and of Approval Criteria for Registration.
(3) The specified SLD is checked automatically for availability. This includes ensuring that the requested name does not differ only by dashes from any name which has already been granted or reserved or from any SLD which has been designated “Substantially Similar” to an existing Reservation or Registration (see Section E5.0.5).
(4) If the name is available, the Applicant is automatically checked against the Criteria for Reservation Application.
(5) If the Applicant is eligible to apply, he/she may also specify up to five Substantially Similar Names.
(6) This fee will be $500 less any Waiting List Fees that have been paid (see Section E16.4).
(7) The Name Status of the primary name and the Substantially Similar Names is updated to Reserved, subcategory Reservation in Progress.
(8) Registration Administrators continuously reviews the database to check for new name Reservations. A Registration Administrator accepts the application for review.
(9) The Substantially Similar Names requested will be either approved or rejected by the Registration Administrator. A message will be sent to the Registry Operator to remove any rejected Substantially Similar Names. The Registry Operator will then change the status of these names back to Available and a message will be sent to the applicant informing them of the rejected names. This will occur within a few days of the original Reservation.
(10) The Applicant can renew their Reservation for three months at the end of the initial six-month Reservation period for a cost of an additional $500.
(11) At any time prior to the end of the Reservation period, the Applicant can chose to file a full application for Registration. If the Reservation has not been renewed, the cost for a full application will be $1,650. If the Application has been renewed, the cost for the Application will be $1,350 (i.e. $350 from each $500 fee is allowable towards the cost of the application).
(12) When a full Registration application is submitted, the status of the name(s) is updated to Application in Process sub-category Pending Review, and the application process then continues as from step 6 above in the Registration Processes section.
(13) Every month, before the end of the Reservation period, the Applicant is sent an automatic reminder of the time that remains to them to file a Registration Application.
(14) If the Reservation period ends without a Registration application being received:
a. If there is a Waiting List for the primary name or for any Substantially Similar Names, an e-mail is sent to the first member of the list giving them one week to submit an application for the name. The Name Status is changed to Awaiting Waiting List Response. If this member of the Waiting List fails to respond within this period, their $20 fee is forfeited and the next member of the Waiting List is contacted, and so on.
b. If there is no Waiting List, the Name Status of all names applied for is returned to Available.
(1) The Company Wishing to receive a Registration Transfer applies online by filling in a standard form.
(2) The Applicant uses a credit card or other approved payment system to pay the required fees to the Registry Operator. This fee will be $2,000 plus fees for the transfer of Substantially Similar Names (see Section E16.5).
(3) The transfer is assigned for review to a Registration Administrator.
(4) The Registration Administrator makes contact with the Applicant and requests materials necessary to show that the transfer meets eligibility criteria as listed in Sections E16.11.1 and E16.11.2.
(5) If the Registration Administrator does not receive sufficient proof of eligibility to accept the application, he/she will contact the Applicant and request any further materials that are required.
(6) The Registration Administrator either approves or rejects the Transfer Application. If the transfer application is accepted for the Primary Name it is also accepted for each of the Substantially Similar Names. A message is sent to the Applicant and to the Registry Operator informing them of the outcome of the process.
(7) If the transfer(s) are approved:
a. The name registration(s) is/are transferred.
b. The Whois information is automatically updated.
(8) If the name transfer is rejected:
a. The Applicant is told the reason for rejection of the Application and is given one week to request an appeal (see Section E16.16). If the Applicant does not appeal then:
b. $1,500 of the application fee is returned to the Applicant ($1,000 is retained).
(9) After a short period of time, the Registration Administrator will check to determine that the requested names have been correctly transferred.
E16.16 Appeal Process
If a Registration Application or a Transfer Application is rejected, the Applicant is informed of the reasons for rejection and is given one week to request an appeal. If an appeal is filed, the Applicant is asked to explain in writing why they believe that the materials which they submitted constitute proof of the eligibility criteria. The appeal is considered independently by two senior Registration Administrators, different from the individual that first assessed the Application. Further materials may be requested to prove Eligibility. A final decision is given in writing by the Registration Administrators assigned to the appeal.
If the appeal is rejected, $1,250 of the application fee is returned. Therefore, there is an additional charge of $250 for filing and losing an appeal, as in the case of a rejected application where no Appeal is filed, $1,500 of the application fee is returned. This fee is levied to cover the cost of the appeal process to the Registry Operator and also to deter frivolous appeals whenever an Application is rejected.
If the Appeal is rejected, the Applicant will be free to further pursue their case by applying to an approved arbitration authority. In the case that the Applicant states their intention to pursue this option, the requested SLD will not be registered with any other Applicant until these proceedings are complete. If the arbitrator finds in favor of the Applicant, the liability of the Registry Operator will be limited to a refund of fees, a reversal of the decision instigating the action and reasonable legal fees, but under no circumstances will include damages, lost opportunities, punitive awards, etc.
E16.17 SLD Ongoing Enforcement of TLD Policies
Registration Administrators will visit the Registrants website six and nine months after initial registration or after each annual renewal. If the site is inactive, or if the domain is being used to promote the interests of a business other than the Registrant, the following procedures will be followed:
E16.17.1 Inactive Site
If the site is inactive six months from registration or from the latest annual renewal, the registrant will be warned by e-mail that if the site remains inactive until renewal at the end of the year, the renewal will not be granted. The registrant will be asked to send an e-mail to report when the site is again active. If no such report is received, the site will be checked at month nine, ten and eleven, and if the site is still inactive further warnings will be sent to the registrant. If the site remains inactive for one year from the Registration date, or from the previous renewal, the Renewal Application request (if any) from the registrant will be denied
E16.17.2 Improperly Transferred Site
If the site appears to be operating for the benefit of a business other than that of the registrant, the Registrant will be contacted by a Registration Administrator and asked for an explanation. If the domain has been transferred without going through the Registration Transfer Procedure (see Section E16.15), the registrant will then be given the opportunity to apply for a Registration Transfer. If the registrant declines to apply for a Registration Transfer, the Registration will be revoked and the SLD returned to the pool of available domains.
E17. Criteria For Registration
The criteria for Registration and Reservation are given in Sections E16.6.1 and E16.6.2. The reasoning behind these criteria is to provide a TLD which is available only to those who are actually in business, and to deter those wishing to purchase SLDs for cyber-hoarding or to unfairly make use of the trademarks or famous marks of others. The reasons for using these criteria are given in detail in Sections E22 and E23.
E18. Application Process
The Application process for Registrations and Reservations is given in Sections E16.13 and E16.14.
E19. Enforcement Procedures
The enforcement mechanisms for ensuring that applicants meet the required application criteria are described in detail in Sections E16.13 and E16.14. Essentially, these mechanisms consist of requiring that appropriate documents are submitted in support of the Application. These documents will be reviewed by a Registration Administrator who may, if necessary, directly contact third parties to verify the information in the submitted documentation.
E20. Appeal Process
The appeal process is described in Section E16/16.
E21. Third Party Cancellation
We support and will require that all Registrants abide by a slightly expanded version of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy described in Section E6. This gives the right to third parties to seek cancellation of a TLD registration for failure to comply with restrictions.
IV. CONTEXT OF THE TLD WITHIN THE DNS
E22. Context Of The TLD Within The DNS
This Section, E22, will give a general review of the reasons for and the expected benefits of the New TLD. In the light of this explanation, we will then give specific answers to the questions E22 - E27.
We believe that the SLD registration processes should create an Internet environment that supports those who wish to achieve a business, organizational, or personal goal by creating a website. It is arguable, however, that the vast majority of registrations of SLDs actually work against this objective. Five Million .com names were registered in the first quarter of 2000. A very small proportion point to an active website. Names are being purchased on mass, but mainly by cyber-hoarders. Domain name speculation has become the hottest game in town. Since "wines.com" sold for $3 Million, and "business.com" sold for $7.5 Million, everyone wants a piece of the action. A European customer has apparently bought 20,000 names preceded by the string "24hour": 24hourdrug.com, 24hourpizza.com, etc. (this is only hearsay... but from a source we believe to be reliable).
Basically, we have reached a situation where almost none of the "good" names (those which are a single word or a recognizable phrase) are available in the .com TLD, and the vast majority are held by cyber-hoarders. This creates a problem for the genuine Internet entrepreneur who is often either forced to pay many thousands of dollars to a cyber-hoarder or to settle for a second best name.
We believe that it is not possible to solve this problem simply by adding to the number of unrestricted TLDs. If a TLD looks like it’s becoming successful, cyber-hoarders quickly buy up the names. For example, if a ".flowers" domain is created cyberhoarders will instantly buy "roses.flowers", "springflowers.flowers", "sendmeflowers.flowers" and so on. Once again, the genuine business owner will be at the mercy of name speculators.
The New TLD that we propose would go a long way towards solving this problem. Each application for the New TLD will be assessed according to the criteria given in Sections E16.6.1 and E16.6.2 of this proposal, and only approved if this assessment shows that the Applicant is a real business. In addition, we will place heavy restrictions on transfers of SLDs (as described in Section E16.11.1). These measures will almost completely prevent speculation in names under the New TLD.
The Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy has gone a long way to prevent they inappropriate use of well-known trademarks of others. We propose a slightly extended version of this policy (as described in Section E6.); however, it does not solve all of the problems. Firstly, the victim of such an infringement is still forced to go through the inconvenience of bringing the matter to arbitration. Secondly, it is possible that the owner of a famous trademark could remain unaware for some time of the inappropriate use of their mark. For example, it is conceivable that sites making use of misspelled well-known names could exist for some time without the true owner of the mark becoming aware of the fact. For example, at the time for writing “morganstanly.com” (misspelling of Morgan Stanley) advertises travel, and real estate services. Once again, the proposed New TLD would go a long way towards solving this problem. All applications will be checked for blatant intellectual property infringement as described in Section E5.0.2, and all names applied for will be listed in the Listing of Names Applied For as described in Section E5.0.4. We believe that these elements combined with the cost and effort involved in application, and the likelihood that the application will be rejected or lost through arbitration proceedings, make it less likely that Applicants will register common misspellings of famous names under the New TLD.
All applications will be assessed according to simple criteria (see Sections E16.6.1 and E16.6.2.), and only be approved if the Applicant is a real business and if the name does not make inappropriate use of an existing trademark. By only supplying .biz SLDs to real businesses, we will ensure a continuously available supply of names to those that actually intend to do business on the Internet, and we will prevent Domain Name speculation by cyber-hoarders under this TLD. We also believe that the availability of names under the New TLD to genuine entrepreneurs will have the effect of considerably reducing the prices of hoarded .com names and reducing the overall level of cyber-hoarding throughout all TLDs.
The New TLD will also benefit the Internet community by screening applications for those that make inappropriate use of a trademark or of a famous mark. Despite out best efforts, we expect that there will be some disputes over rights to name after registration. We do expect that this will happen much more rarely than in the unrestricted TLDs.
Essentially, our advantage is that we are charging a price for registration which allows us to review each application individually, and therefore make the best efforts to ensure that the Applicant is a real business and does not intend to make inappropriate use of another's intellectual property.
The TLD will target the business community for businesses of all sizes. This community is already served by the DNS, but as described above, the level of cyber-hoarding has made the situation very difficult for business wishing to obtain an appropriate name without paying a heavy ransom to cyber-hoarders.
E25 & E26. How Proposal Meets Unmet Needs and How Would it be Useful to Internet Users?
See the answer to E22.
This proposal does not significantly enhance competition among registration services. We believe, however, that the New TLD would create a viable and popular alternative to the .com registry run by Network Solutions.
E29. Concepts Likely To Be Proved Or Disproved.
The proposed New TLD will serve as a "proof of concept" in a number of ways:
(a) The .com, .net, .org TLDs and all of the publicly offered ccTLDs are unrestricted and award all SLDs either on a first-come, first-serve basis, or in the case of the .tv TLD, to the highest bidder. No TLD currently uses a manual assessment procedure. We hope to prove that the New TLD will demonstrate the viability of using such manual assessment procedures to more effectively screen applications.
(b) The proposed New TLD is not going to be attractive to all businesses. It may, however, prove very attractive to a significant minority. What is the effect on the Internet of having a popular “niche TLD” of this type?
(c) Because of the time and the complexities involved in such screening procedures, the cost of SLDs under the New TLD will be set at $2,000. We hope to demonstrate that Applicants will be happy to pay considerably higher amounts than the $20 - $70 fees for a .com name in return for not needing to pay off cyber-hoarders and obtaining the name that they need.
(d) We hope to demonstrate that manual assessment procedures and screenings will considerably lessen the number of instances of cyber-hoarding or inappropriate use of existing trademarks.
(e) We believe that the proposed New TLD will demonstrate that creating restricted TLDs can reduce cyber-hoarding and domain name speculation.
(f) We hope to prove that restricted TLDs provide a useful function in the DNS.
The success of the introduction of the New TLD should be evaluated using the following criteria among others:
(a) Volume of Registrations. Are there at least 10,000 registrations in the first year of operations? Although 10,000 may not be a huge number when compared to “.com” registrations (most of which are purchased by cyber-hoarders) this level of registrations would show that the New TLD effectively met a minority need.
(b) Effectiveness and efficiency of Application procedure. Are Applications completed in a reasonable period of time (say within an average of less than two weeks after the receipt of documents) and with an acceptable level of errors and glitches?
(c) Reduction in cyber-squatting and trademark infringement as a result of screening procedures. Are a smaller proportion of name than in the .com world brought to arbitration proceedings?
(d) What is general consumer and business reaction to the New TLD (in the press, on news groups, etc)? Is it popular and seen as solving a problem of cyber-squatting and cyber-hoarding, or is it seen as an infringement of the rights of Internet users?
We believe that there are several benefits for the Internet and the DNS resulting from the New TLD.
The New TLD would effectively demonstrate whether there is room for and benefit from TLDs which involves manual screening procedures. It would also demonstrate in general whether there is benefit from a restricted commercial TLD. If this concept works, it would then seem logical to create other restricted commercial TLDs, e.g. .lawyer (where one has to have a law qualification to register), .doctor (where a medical qualification is required), .florist (where one has to have a flower shop), .restaurant and so on. We believe that the level of success of a restricted commercial TLD could in many ways help to steer the future course of the DNS.
The New TLD will effectively eliminate much of the problem of cyber-hoarding. As “good” names will be readily available through the New TLD for genuine entrepreneurs, there will be much less reason to buy a name from a cyber-hoarder. This will therefore tend to considerably reduce the profits from cyber-hoarding and will have the effect of considerably reducing domain name hoarding throughout the DNS. This in itself is a major benefit, as cyber-hoarding is probably the biggest problem with the Internet facing the average Internet entrepreneur.
In addition, however, it is very difficult to assess the effectiveness or usefulness of other New TLDs while cyber-hoarding is still such a big problem. If new unrestricted TLDs are introduced, all of the “good” names will be bought up in a rush by cyber-hoarders, and it will therefore be difficult to asses the true potential value of the those TLDs. If, however, the New TLD proposed in this document is introduced first, this will mean that subsequent TLDs introduced far less effected by the problem of cyber-hoarding and it will therefore be far easier to asses the true benefit of those subsequent introductions.