REGISTRY OPERATOR’S PROPOSAL
October 2, 2000
1418 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40208-2117
(502) 635-7979 – (502) 636-9157
Jeffrey S. Smith, President
BUSINESS PLAN NUMBER: 00-1009C
THIS BUSINESS PLAN IS CONFIDENTIAL AND THE PROPRIETARY INFORMATION OF COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC., AND MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED OR RELEASED TO OTHERS WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC..
TABLE OF CONTENTS
To create a new domain name avenue for e-commerce which is immediately clear to Internet shoppers, customer service oriented to registrars, and an aid in Internet structural integrity and stability.
Commercial Connect, LLC. was formed as a startup top level domain name registry formed by a partnership of Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. and Simon Property Group, L.P. with the intent of establishing and supporting new top level domains (TLDs) .mall, .shop, and .svc. Commercial Connect, LLC. seeks ICANN authorization for these new extensions to be worldwide generic top level domains for the purpose of electronic commerce on the Internet.
With the breakup of a government approved monopoly, Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. dba CASDNS under CORE became one of nine (9) companies in the United States initially taking registrations for top level domain names. Of these nine companies, Network Solutions, Inc. (the previous monopoly) was the only company actively marketing generic top level domain name services with the established extensions .com, .net and .org.
With the phenomenal and ever increasing growth of the Internet, it has become clear that the three existing generic global top level domain names will not be sufficient in and of themselves to efficiently support the naming needs of the rapidly expanding electronic commerce of the World Wide Web. Commercial Connect, LLC. supports a hierarchy of generic TLDs to logically classify domain names according to their purpose and function, and specifically was formed with the intention of serving as the registry for the top level domain names of commerce on the web.
While many companies are struggling to get equipment and software in order to propose a new registry, Commercial Connect, LLC. is ideally positioned by virtue of the resources brought by the partnership of Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. and Simon Property Group, L.P. to implement, support, maintain and market a registry and obtain a large market share in excess of the 12,000 domain names registered daily.
Equipment and staff are already in place to provide these services.
This venture, very similar to the breakup of AT&T with long distance, where companies such as MCI and Sprint who were quick to jump into the large long distance market, has thrived in today’s market. Similar experience has been enjoyed by the introduction of registrar competition into the .com, .net and .org registry. Now it is the domain name extensions themselves that have become the monopoly.
Commercial Connect, LLC. intends to capture part of the geometric growth curve of the Internet by offering its customers easy access, diligent support, quick response and competitive pricing, which can be achieved by minimizing costs, effective use of technology and experience in customer support.
Commercial Connect, LLC. will have a unique position in that it is a partnership of two companies that together combine all the elements necessary to establish and maintain through the long term, a registry for the top level domain names proposed. Computer Analytical Systems, Inc., a corporation that is already successfully established in the field as a domain name registrar as well as an ISP, owns the infrastructure and Internet connectivity required for a registry. Simon Property Group, L.P. is a corporation with global geographic presence in business and in commerce with unlimited technical and financial resources, and vast experience in electronic commerce and aggressive business management. Both companies bring a firm commitment to the promotion and facilitation of electronic commerce on the web.
Sales projections for Commercial Connect, LLC. are shown in the accounting appendix to follow.. All sales projections are based on very conservative estimates drawn from a return based on advertising. The return is based on the number of domain registrations to each publication, and then multiplied it by a factor considered reachable with these ads. These estimates are neither binding nor guaranteed accurate.
The goals of Commercial Connect, LLC. are quite simple. Commercial Connect, LLC. is preparing to become one of the largest providers of domain name registrations in the world. With no physical boundaries, Commercial Connect, LLC. can market to the entire world. Commercial Connect, LLC. will be targeting the broader segment of the market desiring establishment of a long term relationship with multiple outstanding registrars. Innovative marketing plans and pricing contracts have been designed to retain customers and reward them for additional referrals. Commercial Connect, LLC. hopes to gain the reputation of a service oriented registry and capture a large share of the Internet domain names registered for the purpose of commerce. In addition, Commercial Connect, LLC. wants to be an asset to the Internet, shareholders, its community and its employees.
Formation of a top level domain name registry to seek authorization from ICANN to establish and support new top level domains (TLDs) of .mall, .shop, and .svc.
A report by The Standard has suggested that while stock markets have been unsteady, all Internet economy indicators continue with remarkable growth. Specifically, the total number of domain names ending in .com has been increasing at a rate of over 100% per year. In 1999, on average, over three million web pages were created daily, and 5.6 million new domain names were registered. Of these 5.6 million new domain names, 35% were .coms. Although much of the focus on this market has been with companies such as NSI, Register.com, and CASDNS that register .com, .net, and .org domain names, Commercial Connect, LLC. is uniquely positioned to clearly differentiate itself and is positioned to be the first registry in this arena.
The launch of Shared Registry System has been a huge success. Since offering the competitive registration of .com, .net and .org in July 1998, the Internet community has embraced the new registry system. All major media in the United States have tended to treat the issue with the highest regard, and regularly run stories on the issues.
The managers and leaders who run existing companies that will come together to lead and manage Commercial Connect, LLC. are listed below. The current management team of Commercial Connect, LLC. combines top quality consulting, Internet and technology experience as well as the business and commerce expertise of a large corporate entity.
Jeffrey S. Smith
President, CEO and Founder, Computer Analytical Systems, Inc.
dba BestRegistrar.com, CAS-Com Internet Services, Inc. and CASDNS, Inc.
As President and Founder of Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. dba BestRegistrar.com, Cas-Com Internet Services, Inc. and CASDNS, Inc., Jeffrey Smith brings to Commercial Connect, LLC. extensive education and experience. He has previously worked as an Internet entrepreneur, managing systems integration, IT consulting specializing in e-commerce, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation as well as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and CRMT(Customer Relationship Management Technologies) with multiple companies.
Mr. Smith founded Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. over twelve years ago. With his leadership and initiative, CAS-Com Internet Services, Inc. an Internet Service Provider, and CASDNS, Inc., an accredited ICANN top level domain name Registrar, were started. Mr. Smith has over nineteen years experience in the information systems and business management fields. In addition he has consulted for various telecommunications and high-level technology companies on Internet related issues for the past eight years.
Co-Chairman of the Board, Simon Property Group, Inc.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Melvin Simon is Co-Chairman of Simon Property Group, Inc. Simon Property Group, Inc. is the largest publicly traded retail real estate company in North America.
Mr. Simon also serves as Co-Chairman of the Board of Melvin Simon & Associates, Inc., which until the 1993 formation of Simon Property Group was the nation's second-largest developer and manager of shopping centers.
Mr. Simon attended the Bronx High School of Science and the City College of New York, where he earned a B.S. degree in accounting and an M.B.A. with an emphasis on real estate. He came to Indiana while serving in the United States Army, when a transfer brought him to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis.
Following his discharge from the Army, and prior to creating Melvin Simon & Associates in 1960 with brothers Herbert and Fred, Mr. Simon worked as a leasing representative with the Albert Frankel Company, an Indianapolis developer of strip shopping centers.
Mr. Simon's diversified business interests include co-ownership with brother Herbert of the National Basketball Association's Indiana Pacers.
Mr. Simon is a Trustee of both the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He holds board memberships with numerous community and civic organizations, and has received many awards and honors for his involvement.
Co-Chairman of the Board, Simon Property Group, Inc.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Herbert Simon is Co-Chairman of Simon Property Group, Inc., the largest publicly traded retail real estate company in North America. Simon Property Group, Inc. owns and/or manages some of the nation's foremost retail properties, including: Mall of America (Minneapolis/St. Paul area), The Forum Shops at Caesars (Las Vegas), Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (Washington, D.C. area), and Circle Centre (Indianapolis).
Mr. Simon also serves as Co-Chairman of Melvin Simon & Associates, Inc. of Indianapolis, which before the 1993 formation of Simon Property Group was the second-largest developer and manager of shopping centers in the United States.
Prior to creating Melvin Simon & Associates in 1960 with his brothers Melvin and Fred, Mr. Simon attended the City College of New York where he earned a B.S. degree in business.
Mr. Simon's diversified business interests beyond real estate include co-ownership with brother Melvin of the National Basketball Association's Indiana Pacers.
A firm supporter of professional, environmental and community groups, Mr. Simon serves on the boards of directors of numerous community and civic organizations.
Chief Executive Officer, Simon Property Group, Inc.
of the Board, Commercial Connect, LLC.
David Simon is Chief Executive Officer of Simon Property Group, Inc., North America's largest publicly owned retail real estate development and management company. Currently he also serves as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Melvin Simon & Associates, Inc.
Prior to joining Simon in June, 1990, Mr. Simon was a Vice President of Wasserstein Perella & Co., a Wall Street firm specializing in mergers, acquisitions and leveraged buyouts. He was formerly an associate at First Boston Corporation, also based in New York.
Mr. Simon holds a B.S. degree from Indiana University and an MBA from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. A native of Indianapolis, he is the eldest son of Simon Property Group, Inc. Co-Chairman Melvin Simon.
Richard S. Sokolov
President and Chief Operating Officer, Simon Property Group, Inc.
Richard S. Sokolov is President and Chief Operating Officer of Simon Property Group, Inc., the largest publicly owned retail real estate company in North America.
In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Mr. Sokolov serves as Trustee and as a Member of the Executive Committee of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Prior to joining Simon in 1996, Mr. Sokolov was President and Chief Executive Officer of DeBartolo Realty Corporation. He was formerly a Partner and Executive Committee Member at a major Baltimore law firm, where he specialized in real estate transactions.
Mr. Sokolov earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1974. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 from Pennsylvania State University.
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Simon Property Group, Inc.
David has been with Simon for approximately three years. He was hired as Director of Application Development and now serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.
During his tenure with Simon, he has been instrumental in the implementation of a new Leasing System, Payroll System, Customer Affinity System, Revenue Budgeting System, ShopSimon Portal and has played a key roll in the development and execution of Simon's digital strategy.
Eighteen months prior to joining Simon, Mr. Schacht was engaged by Subaru Izusu of America and Conseco as a systems consultant. David began his career with Resort Condominiums International in 1984. During his twelve year tenure with RCI, David's accomplishments included automation of 20 plus international offices, implementation of a B2B resort access system, a marketing data warehouse and authoring RCI's exchange/match algorithm.
Gerald St. Amand
Information Technology/Research Specialist/Operations Manager, Simon Property Group, L.P.
As Information Technology/Research Specialist/Operations Manager of Simon Property Group, Inc., Dr. Gerald St. Amand has diverse expertise in the analysis, delivery, and management of software methodologies, operational programs and services as well as innovative, administrative management designed to meet challenging business demands and a solid understanding of strategic planning used in integrating highly sophisticated technology into Management Information Systems (MIS), Competitive Intelligence (CI), and Technology Transfer Applications. Dr.St. Amand has a verifiable background of success in providing leadership in private and educational sectors.
Dr. St. Amand holds a Ph.D. in Administration in the Higher Education Program at Indiana University. After taking graduate courses in Business Administration at Michigan State University, he earned an M.A./Economics with a minor in Finance from the University of Detroit (Now University of Detroit - Mercy). He holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Detroit, where he was a Fitzgerald Award winner.
Dr. St. Amand is the published author of A Management Game with Financial Emphasis for Time-Sharing and a book reviewer for The Accounting Review.
Board of Directors, Simon Property Group, Inc.
Melvin Simon, 73
of the Board
Executive Committee Member
Herbert Simon, 65
of the Board
Executive Committee Member
Compensation Committee Member
Nominating Committee Member
David Simon, 38
Executive Committee Member
Nominating Committee Member
Richard S. Sokolov, 50
and Chief Operating Officer
Executive Committee Member
Hans C. Mautner, 62
Chairman of the Board
Executive Committee Member
M. Denise DeBartolo York, 49
and Chief Executive Officer,
The Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation
Nominating Committee Member
Robert E. Angelica, 53
and Chief Executive Officer,
AT&T Investment Management Corporation
Compensation Committee Member
Birch Bayh, 72
Oppenheimer, Wolff, Donnelly & Bayh, LLP
Compensation Committee Member
Nominating Committee Member
G. William Miller, 75
and Chief Executive Officer,
G. William Miller & Co., Inc. and
Chairman, Home Place of America, Inc.
Nominating Committee Member
Audit Committee Member
Fredrick W. Petri, 53
Petrone, Petri & Company
Audit Committee Member
Compensation Committee Member
J. Albert Smith, Jr., 59
Bank One Corporation
Audit Committee Member
Pieter S. van den Berg, 54
Adviser to the Board of Managing Directors of PGGM
Philip J. Ward, 51
CIGNA Investments, Inc.
Compensation Committee Member
Commercial Connect, LLC. proposes the introduction of three new top level domain names, .mall, .shop, and .svc. for the exclusive use of Internet domains involved in the use of electronic commerce. The existing top level domain .com, originally intended for this purpose has become too broad in its scope and so generic that it no longer exclusively denotes its original intention. In fact, the .com extension has suffered from its popularity more than any top level domain currently in use world-wide. With over 18 million names registered in the .com domain alone, it has become nearly impossible to find or improvise an available short descriptive and desirable name. This difficulty is becoming more acute daily, and as already implied by the continued geometric growth of the Internet, will become exponentially more difficult in the future. Twenty and thirty character domain names have now become common, and quite a disadvantage to their owners. Soon, descriptive names of fifty to sixty or more characters may be the only option under the present system, putting domains who are required to use them at a serious disadvantage as users must correctly type what amounts to a small paragraph into the address bar of a browser to reach these sites.
In addition, there are no distinctions between these 18 million companies .com web addresses; there is no logical structure behind the intention of the millions of web pages. By offering a set of alternative commercial extensions, the mechanics of global commerce via the Internet will be greatly enhanced.
The proposed individual domain names are:
Both a noun and a verb, this extension is understood in many languages. We propose that this name be used for electronic commerce sites that actually provide on-line shopping and ordering, whether the site is associated with a physical store or not.
Intended for e-commerce sites offering a service. A company who has diversified interests in many services and products would find it beneficial to register a .shop or .svc extension for the purpose of selling their products, thus giving the consumer an easy path to purchase.
The most restrictive domain of the three, .mall is intended as an umbrella domain under which multiple .shop and .svc sites may be assembled. It may also be used for the web site of an actual, physical mall or shopping center. By virtue of limited usefulness in any other context, this extension could be considered self-regulating.
Please refer to the Registry Operator’s Proposal – Technical Plan for a detailed discussion of Registry Services.
Commercial Connect, LLC. will begin to aggressively market its services and obtain the staff necessary to effectively provide quality customer support the moment ICANN gives its approval for our proposed new top level domain names.
Commercial Connect, LLC. is in a unique position due to the fact that its high-end registry infrastructure equipment and connections are already in place. Commercial Connect, LLC. is located in the same office building as principal owned CAS-Com Internet Services, Inc., Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. dba Bestregistrar.com and CASDNS, Inc. Each company provides Commercial Connect, LLC. with Internet services and equipment respectively. Low rent, plentiful space for expansion, along with readily available Internet service and abundant equipment create a synergy between these three companies. Commercial Connect, LLC. will obtain additional equipment for its sole use should this proposal be accepted.
By all estimates, the market for Internet domain names is growing geometrically along with Internet users. According to Business Week, the "Internet craze" is going to provide big opportunities to entrepreneurs who manage to provide services to a clamoring clientele. PC Magazine, a highly regarded bi-weekly periodical with a circulation in excess of one million, has stated that Internet users are growing at a rate of 160,000 per month. MIT reports that the number of Internet subscribers is doubling every six (6) months.
The stability of the Internet is based on the number of highly funded, research oriented government institutions that have provided the backbone of the Internet. The Internet started in the mid 1960's as a Defense Department project called the ARPAnet. Used primarily to support research on packet switched networks, the Internet has grown through the addition of host computers and local area networks that provide connectivity to millions of people. As the ARPAnet grew as a gateway, the common denominator used to interpret the different layers was called the "Internet Protocol." The overall collection of all the networks and host computers is now simply called the Internet.
With the growth of the hosts on the Internet, there is an abundant need to group these hosts. This is where domain names are used. Domain names are synonyms for a numerical address or group of addresses on the Internet. We see them daily when referring to a web site. The domain name is the name of the computer network or virtual network on the Internet. An example of this is “IBM.com.” In order to obtain this domain name, the company has had to request it from a Top Level Domain Registrar. The registrar verifies that the name is not in use by others, then registers the name and charges a prepaid fee per year for a subscription. This means that the customer can use this domain name for the number of years reserved, and when someone refers to the domain name they will be directed to their network.
After it’s subscription expires the customer is charged an additional fee per year to keep the rights to the domain name. If the fee is not paid, the name goes into the “available” status and can be registered by another party.
Network Solutions, Inc., the former registry monopoly, reported in 1997 that there is an average of 12,000 domain names registered daily.
The total registry business brings in $150 million in renewal years alone for the registry and possibly an additional $150 million for registrars.
For the most part a commercial organization will presently use the .com extension to register its company. In a report by NUI.ie , it was stated that 98% of all of the words in the Webster American English Dictionary have previously been registered. Since there are only so many combinations of words and over 25 million have been registered, there has been a large outcry from the Internet Community requesting additional extensions. This could bring the yearly revenues to $3.2 billion in the year 2001. While this is an extreme estimate, it is a very attainable goal.
The purpose of Commercial Connect, LLC. is to become the premier e-commerce domain registry in the world. Its target market is all e-commerce companies currently doing business on the web, and all other retail product and service providers looking to enter the Internet sales market. With its combined years experience in commercial real estate, catering to the retail market and domain registration and ISP, Commercial Connect, LLC. is undoubtedly qualified to provide the latest TLD to the e-commerce market.
The company's major competitive advantage is its immediate ability to leverage retailers
in 25% of the top regional malls in North America, owned by Simon Property Group, and the over 30,000 domain names currently registered through BestRegistrar.com, to register with the new TLD. These actual future registrants, in addition to the enormous network of retail and e-commerce companies already established, put Commercial Connect, LLC. in a position to make the new TLD as successful as possible, and more so than any other company in the world.
As Internet use increases, so does e-commerce and different web-based ideas for marketing products and services. Conventional e-companies are increasing their ability to serve the public, while the original "brick and mortar" companies all seem to be increasing their Internet presence and expanding the goods and services they offer on the web. With such marked increases in Internet use, e-commerce and conventional business, there is an ever-increasing need for new domain names. In addition to an increased need for names, there is also a need to better categorize sites on the web.
As e-commerce increases, so does the need to not only add new domain names, but to help organize web sites, and help differentiate between e-commerce and other Internet sites and offerings.
With these factors in mind, Commercial Connect, LLC. has come up with e-commerce-specific TLD's in order to become a facilitator for Internet commerce. The TLD's are .shop, .svc, and .mall. Such TLD's will send a clear message to the user community as to the kind of site they are visiting or searching for, and will offer purveyors of e-commerce a new and specific outlet and naming opportunity for their web sites. The joint forces of the Simon Property Group and BestRegistrar.com are in the ideal strategic positions to best manage these TLD's and to market them to companies both Internet and brick and mortar based, who wish to sell goods and services on the Internet.
Commercial Connect, LLC.'s major goals are:
1. Receive the license to be the registry for. shop, .svc, and/or .mall.
2. Market and advertise to all current and potential e-commerce companies.
3. Increase the number of e-commerce sites on the Internet.
The Year One Marketing Goal for Commercial Connect Inc. is to rapidly accelerate .shop, .svc and .mall into the preferred and accepted vehicles for e-commerce.
It is vital to catapult these new TLD’s into this leadership in e-commerce in a manner that rapidly creates and defines the accepted standard for on-line transactions. Initial momentum is required to prevent other potential TLD’s (ex - .buy) from siphoning off both buyers and sellers as well as becoming a viable transactional alternative to .com
Generating a continuing stream of consumers and individuals sampling, accepting, and embracing the new TLD’s is likely to be the most difficult and vital element of the Marketing Plan. The Internet landscape is littered with excellent, high-concept sites, which failed due to a lack of consumer/individual traffic. The challenge, to get potential buyers to change their established behavior and use the new suffix, .shop, .svc or .mall, is undoubtedly broader reaching and much more difficult than driving traffic to a new site. To be successful the TLD’s must enhance the business model of the participating ”seller” partner sites with sustainable buyer utilization. It is acknowledged that purchase behavior and habits are difficult to change. The transition from telecommunications toll-free “800” numbers (i.e. .com) to toll-free “888”numbers (i.e. .shop) was more difficult and took longer than anticipated. The .shop, .svc, .mall proposition must overcome any such transactional resistance.
Once a critical acceptance point of “marketing mass” is achieved, the new TLD shifts from being a “wanted” to a “must have” Internet address. This is a classic marketing opportunity or dilemma of “which comes first… the buyers or the sellers?” A balanced and calibrated marketing approach is required to ensure that sufficient numbers of buyers and sellers are engaged together in the initial phase of acceptance development. The number of buyers generates the number of sellers utilizing the TLD. Greater numbers of sellers generates buyers who are “sampling” .shop, .svc and .mall as a preferred and more convenient alternative.
Simon Property Group, a COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. partner, provides an unsurpassed reputation and contacts among the world’s largest retailers. This will enable the key initial surge of the new TLD sites so critical to becoming the transactional suffix of choice. Retailers in a current contractual relationship with the Simon Property Group account for $38 billion in sales.
COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. evaluates the .shop, .svc, .mall concept to have substantial and real benefits for both consumer and business-to business e– commerce applications. “Buyers” can and should include both consumers and companies. “Sellers” can and should include both retailers and business-to business organizations.
The breadth of opportunity and potential for the new TLD requires a multiplicity of constituents and target audiences including but not limited to
-Current transactional consumer and business –to –business sites
-Small business companies
-Bricks and Mortar retailers
-Entrepreneurial and start-up companies
-Consumers of the entire gamut of consumer goods and services
-Corporate government and institutional purchasers
COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. will provide tangible, unique and advertiseable benefits to each of the Target Audiences and constituencies of the new TLD.
–Buyers ( consumer and corporate)
Convenience of a dedicated and specific set address for a transactional domain.
Simplicity of net address for transactions.
Dedicated transactional domain name to reduce and simplify existing .com site.
Pre-characterization of the person (“hit”) as a “shopper”… to be handled differently than as “ information seeker”
Specialized site aggressively promoted in advance to potential customers as a shopping/buying site.
Total new revenue/profit stream
Rejuvenated interest in registration of site names
Aggressive promotion of a new product they can distribute in partnership with COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC..
Upon approval and the contracting of this proposal, COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. will embark on a comprehensive research program and investment merited by the tremendous potential of the new TLD concept . This research will assist in creating a proven and documented approach to ensure its ultimate success.
This research program will include:
on-line and off-line
quantitative and qualitative elements
multi-continent, multi-national research
all three Target Audience groups(Buyers, Sellers, Registrars)
strategic and tactical issues
pricing elasticity (the .shop address may be sold at a price higher than a .com address)
This research will form the basis of the ultimate Product and Marketing Strategy as well as Creative Development. The research will also be utilized to sell and promote the .shop, .svc and/or .mall address to key retailers and business-to business units.
COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. anticipates a preliminary business model in our year one with a marketing budget between $10 and $15 million for the U.S. market. This will ultimately be governed by the research results and the final business model.
Successful marketing of this TDL is absolutely essential. The e-commerce category is crowded and aggressively marketed. Substantial and smart marketing investment will be required, particularly until a critical mass and the acceptance of the new TLD as the transactional standard is achieved.
Advertising, Public Relations, and Sales Promotion will be utilized aggressively to seat the new TLD as the pre-eminent TLD and standard in e-commerce. All of these communication activities will be executed with Publicis, our marketing partner.
The actual budget allocation between the three Target Audiences (Buyers, Sellers, and Registrars) will be determined by the number, size and profile of the participating “seller” sites at critical points in time. For example, a profile rich in business-to business sites will necessitate a different allocation than a set of predominantly retail consumer sites. The millions of .com sites “happened” in a tidal unguided ground swell. In contrast, COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. will actively brand .shop, .svc and/or .mall.
The communication objectives are two fold : 1) To increase the awareness and preference of the business community for the .shop site for their e-commerce requirements 2) To drive traffic from both consumer and business to the .shop sites.
These objectives will be achieved through a fully integrated and coordinated communication Plan of public relations, advertising, and sales promotion. The multi million dollar budget in Year One will adequately fund these key components. Different messaging will be directed to the three key Target Audiences but unified under a common communication umbrella.
Public Relations (On-line and Off-line)
Public relations will be an important component of the COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. communication Plan for the new TLD. Innovative Public Relations programs will be executed on-line and off-line to our key constituencies. This Public Relations program will first be addressed to our potential “Sellers” and the potential purchasers of these new sites. Once a critical mass of sites is achieved, the Public Relations activities will shift toward a cycle of building consumer and business-to-business traffic.
The Advertising programs will focus on the two largest Target Audiences, the “Sellers” and the “Buyers”. As in the program of Public Relations, the emphasis will be shifted as we achieve the critical mass of active .Shop, .svc and .mall sites.
A multiplicity of advertising media will be necessary to achieve rapid awareness, actual “trial”, and preference for the new TLD sites. However, each element will be unified with the same positioning and messaging. A strong call-to-action will be utilized to gain initial trial.
Registrar “Sellers” “Buyers”
*The 200+ Simon Mall network provides a unique and powerful advertising medium available only to COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. and these TLD’s. Over 100,000,000 consumers shop the Simon Mall network each year. This active retail shopping environment will be harnessed to promote and advertise the TLD’s in a unique manner.
The entire Communication Plan to drive traffic to these new sites will be aggressively merchandised to potential “Sellers” as a major reason they should utilize and contract for a .shop, .svc, and/or .mall site.
In order to enact and develop this plan, COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. has selected and retained the Publicis Groupe SA as its marketing/communications professional partner. Publicis is uniquely qualified to assist COMMERCIAL CONNECT, LLC. in bulding .shop, .svc, and/or .mall to its full global potential. Publicis brings all the required communications expertise under one corporate roof.
Publicis Groupe SA is listed on the Paris Bourse as well as on the New York Stock Exchange in the form of ADR’s. Publicis Groupe is the 5th largest global communications agency. This worldwide network spans 5 continents, 100 countries, and offices in 165 cities. The experience base in fully integrated communications includes such business-to-business and consumer global accounts as Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, Ericsson, Whirlpool, UBS Warburg, L’Oreal, Pfizer, Siemens, Fujifilm, Syngenta, Nestle, and Renault.
In the U.S. Publicis has billings of $1.2 billion in three geographic centers of excellence. Simon has worked very successfully with Publicis for over 6 years.
Publicis brings a highly relevant combination of expertise in brand-building and in-depth experience in retail with such clients as Zales, Champs, TGIF Friday’s, BMW, GNC, Rite Aid, and PETsMART.
Seamless, fully integrated communications for clients are developed through interlocking specialty Publicis groups in general advertising, business-to-business, public relations, sales promotion, and e-commerce. In this manner, the Publicis agency speaks with one voice across all communications disciplines for its clients.
For example, each of the major Publicis offices includes fully integrated communications capabilities and resources.
Business-to-business clients of Publicis U.S. are Hewlett Packard, Ericsson, UBS, Siemens, United Healthcare, Fujifilm, TXU, etc. This is matched by consumer goods clients like Citizen Watches, PETsMART, Del Webb, BMW, Cellular One, and L’Oreal.
Publicis Dialog, the Public Relations division of the agency will be an integral part of the .shop communications effort. They will work in tandem with the Publicis team to ensure a seamless communications and marketing program for .shop. Their broad range of expertise includes media relations, service/product placement, business-to-business communications, reputation/issues management, investor relations and special events, all of which will be essential in the effort to successfully launch .shop.
Publicis Dialog specializes in leading the revolution from one-way “message delivery” to a two-way “dialog” mode. This relationship enables all communication vehicles to become more effective and accountable. Enveloping and engaging the target with an overall approach creates a stronger, more lasting brand impression.
They have a national presence with offices in Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake, Chicago, Indianapolis, New York and Dallas. Their client base includes Whirlpool, PETsMART, Voice Stream Wireless, Pitney Bowes, American Express, Samsung, Agilent Technologies, Nestle and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
In addition to standard e-commerce advertising by all offices, Publicis has a specialized Publicis Technology Division with 50+ dedicated professionals to support on-line marketing and advertising for .shop.
This Division has a full complement of interactive staff, including HTML developers, programmers, graphic designers, information architects, producers, and web strategists delivering everything interactive from online advertising strategies to web solutions. Typical online products include: online advertising, banners, eCommercials, microsites, jump pages, corporate web sites, intra and extranets, CD ROM authoring, interactive kiosks, eRelationship marketing programs, online loyalty clubs and online lead management.
Publicis Technology is a team of skilled e-thinkers and experts at building brands with a significant technology dimension. This is focused on the point where technology and humanity intersect. The passion is for translating the power that technology brings to our world into the benefits it brings to customer lives. A high level of integration of on and offline skills within one organization are achieved. The seamless transition from the offline brand promise into the online brand experience are highly focused on driving customers through the buying decision cycle irrespective of transition across the medium. All the technologies neede to create tomorrow’s interactive environments; everything from simple HTML through database middleware and to e-commerce architecture solutions. A broad range of clients have become category leaders in e-commerce, such as Zales, Cellular one, Hoover’s Online Garden Ridge, BMW, PETsMART, Lancome, and L’Oreal Kids working with Publicis Technology.
Commercial Connect, LLC. will have an operation manual detailing complete company policy and standards for many possible situations that may arise. It will be a fluid document, for as new protocols and standards arise, the manual will be amended. The goal of the operation manual will be to standardize as many parts of the business as possible, in an effort to control cost and aid growth.
Commercial Connect, LLC. will operate registry services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. The Internet never closes, so access to it must be available for all users independent of time, place or other conditions that might limit business hours for any other operation.
Technical support for users will be available in four different ways. First will be a manned support desk, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. The second part of technical support will be the addition of voice mail to insure that if the support desk is held up answering a customer's questions, the person on the other end of the line will be able to leave a message including a return phone number for help regarding a particular problem. The third part of the equation will be the ability of customers to leave an e-mail message addressed to the technical support staff with guaranteed twenty-four (24) hour or less response. The fourth and final part will be that questions may be faxed to the support desk for a guaranteed response within twenty-four (24) hours. The response may state that the technical support staff is researching the problem, but at least communicating with the customer will offer them the security that their problems are being addressed in a professional and courteous manner. Additionally, voice mail will provide a conduit to reach a technician twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, should a problem arise.
Registrar customers will make payments to Commercial Connect, LLC. primarily by wire transfers or company checks.
Registrars, once established, will have a customized web page on Commercial Connect, LLC.’s host server. They will need to answer several questions as to their billing and contract preferences. During the initial sign up screens, they will be queried for specific billing information, and will be allowed to choose a password that will be stored by the system. They will also be presented with all of the particulars of the system including technical support hours, payment plans, etc. The billing system will also provide statistics to insure the most efficient use of technical resources.
Jeffrey Smith, Daniel Kalef, Warren Brown and Nancy Angermeier are Commercial Connect, LLC.’s four officers.
Jeffrey Smith is CEO of Commercial Connect, LLC.. He is also President and founder of Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. He has a background that combines application development, public relations and IT consulting. He extensive educational background includes health care administration programs at University of Kentucky, West Texas State University now Texas A&M and Business related program at the University of Louisville. For the twelve years, he has owned and operated Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. which started CAS-Com Internet Services, Inc. an Internet Service Provider and CASDNS, Inc. an accredited ICANN top level domain name Registrar. Mr. Smith has over nineteen years experience in the information systems and business management fields. In addition he has consulted for various telecommunications and high level technology companies on internet related issues for the past eight years.
Daniel Kalef is Chief Revenue Officer of CommmercialConnect. Daniel was most recently the Vice President of Business Development for onGiving.com, an ASP that channels Internet advertising dollars to charitable causes and organizations. Daniel has spent eight years raising money and consulting on management and organizational structure for a number of national and local non-profit organizations, including the Galef Institute in Los Angeles, CA and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Most recently he started Icarus International, an international import/export company in the business of exporting consumer goods to former Eastern Block countries, and importing wine from these same countries to the U.S. Prior to his non-profit management work and the start up of Icarus International, Daniel was a practicing attorney in Chicago, Illinois, specializing in corporate and intellectual property litigation. Daniel is a graduate of joint programs between Yeshiva University and New York University in New York City, as well as the Benjamin N. Cardozo and NYU Schools of Law. Daniel brings an extensive knowledge of, and skill in, relationship building, negotiation, sales, marketing and overall business development.
Warren Brown is Chief Information Officer. He has spent the last twenty years in the database and software development communities. He started Business Electronics Network in the early eighties which provided medical billing software to various ambulance companies worldwide. In 1988 his company merged with Metro Ambulance Service and he continued developing ambulance billing software. In 1996 he accepted a position with Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. where he was Director of Programming Management. In this position he oversaw the programming team on the development of a Shared Registry Systems to interact with CORE, then later a turnkey system to Interface with Network Solutions Registry.
Nancy Angermeier is the Director of Accounting for Commercial Connect, LLC.. She has fifteen years accounting experience with eight years of certified public accounting firm experience. In 1990 she started Systems Management Group, Inc. Systems Management Group, Inc. was a consulting firm for the healthcare and legal industry specializing in billing systems and office automation. In 1994 she came to work for Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. as a specialized consultant and strategic partner. This alliance merged her company’s expertise with the medical expertise of Computer Analytical Systems, Inc. She has made an invaluable team member and has accepted the position in September, 2000.
Commercial Connect, LLC. recognizes that additional staff is required to properly support the company functionality. Our intention is to begin with the following and modify when needed:
1. Chief Executive Officer
2. Chief Financial Officer
3. Chief Information Officer
4. Chief Operations Officer
5. Chief Revenue Officer
6. Director of Accounting
7. Network Administrator
10. Customer Service/Technical Support
11. Accounting Clerk
12. Administrative Assistant
14. Receptionist/Telephone Operator
15. Satellite Office Staff
The Commercial Connect, LLC. Board of Directors plays an active role in assisting the company in various facets of its operations.
David E. Simon is currently the only board member of Commercial Connect, LLC.. He is the Chief Executive Officer of the Indianapolis based real estate development and management company, Simon Property Group, Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded retail real estate company. Before joining Simon in June, 1990, Mr. Simon was a vice-president of Wasserstein Perella & Co., a Wall Street firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions and leveraged buyouts. He was formerly an associate at First Boston Corporation, also based in New York.
The balance of the seats are being filled by prominent members who are contacts of the company's principals or company principals.
Commercial Connect, LLC.'s corporate headquarters will be located in Louisville, Kentucky. The office will be 6,000 square feet and will consist of offices and cubicles with enough room for 20 people. There is a secured server room and constant high speed Internet access. Web and database servers are currently hosted by CAS-COM Internet Service. There is a technologically advanced phone system to enable us to handle the volume of calls made from this location.
After the first year of operation, Commercial Connect, LLC. will expand its offices if necessary by obtaining additional space at or adjacent to it’s corporate headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. Currently there is an additional 9,000 square feet available to be committed to them. In addition, from Simon Properties assets of over 184 million square feet of gross leasable area, we have designated satellite offices in London, U.K.; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; Indianapolis, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois.
Commercial Connect, LLC. has retained the services of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue for intellectual property and international legal issues.
In addition, the general counsel and legal department of the Simon Property Group, L.P. and its entities will contribute their legal services. The department holds significant expertise in the area of Internet law and has a significant base of operation
in many areas of the Internet.
Arthur Andersen, LLP has been retained to handle many aspects of the company's financial, tax, and some back office concerns. Some core services being provided by Arthur Andersen, LLP include:
• High-level strategic consulting
• Financial and tax consulting
Chief Executive Officer - CEO
Development and implementation of primary goals, operating plans, policies, and short and long range objectives for the organization. Directs and coordinates activities to achieve maximum profit and return on capital. Establishes organizational structure and delegates authority to subordinates. Leads the organization towards objectives. Determines action plans to meet needs of shareholders. Represents organization to financial community, major customers, government agencies, shareholders, and the public.
Chief Financial Officer - CFO
Directs the overall financial plans and accounting practices of an organization. Oversees treasury, accounting, budget, tax and audit activities of the organization. Oversees financial and accounting system controls and standards and ensures timely financial and statistical reports for management and/or Board use. This is the top finance and accounting position for the organization. Plans and directs analysis of financial data. Provides assessment of existing and proposed financial plans and policies.
Chief Information Officer - CIO
Directs IS operations including computer operations, technical support, systems analysis and programming. Manages the acquisition, installation, and maintenance of the organization's local area networks and wide area networks. Directs database management, telecommunications, IS training and microcomputer technology. Manages LAN/WAN performance and security. Establishes and implements policies and procedures for LAN/WAN usage, technical priorities, standards, and procedures. Ensures sufficient systems capacity for organizational needs. Contributes to general business planning regarding technology and systems required to maintain company operations and competitiveness. Analyzes and recognizes new developments in information systems technology, and anticipates organizational modifications. Establishes long-term needs for information systems, and plans strategy for developing systems and acquiring hardware to meet application needs. Ensures confidentiality and reliability of corporate data, proprietary information, and intellectual property.
Chief Operations Officer - COO
Implements programs to ensure attainment of business plan for growth and profit. Provides direction and structure for operating units. Manages, directs and coordinates activities by directing and coordinating activities consistent with established goals, objectives and policies. Follows direction set by Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors. May report to a Director or COO, assists with development of organization related to policies, practices, and attainment of operating goals. Reviews and analyzes reports, records, and directives, and obtains data required for planning activities, such as new commitments, status of work in progress, and problems encountered. Assigns or delegates responsibility for specified work or functional activities and disseminates policy to employees. Gives work directions, resolves problems, prepares schedules, and sets deadlines to ensure timely completion of work. Coordinates activities of department with related activities of other departments to ensure efficiency and economy. Monitors and analyzes costs, prepares budget, and prepares reports and records on department activities for management, using computer. Evaluates current procedures and practices for accomplishing department objectives to develop and implement improved procedures and practices. May initiate or authorize employee hire, promotion, discharge, or transfer.
Chief Revenue Officer
Manages development programs and activities to facilitate introduction of new products or processes or recommend improvements to existing products or processes. Oversees research and development of new products and services as well as related marketing and sales strategies for these products. Integrates research, development, sales and marketing strategies to successfully install new products and services or to revise existing product lines.
Director of Accounting
Compiles and analyzes financial information to prepare entries to accounts, such as general ledger accounts, documenting business transactions. Analyzes financial information detailing assets, liabilities, and capital, and prepares balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and other reports to summarize current and projected company financial position, using calculator or computer. Audits contracts, orders, and vouchers, and prepares reports to substantiate individual transactions prior to settlement. May establish, modify, document, and coordinate implementation of accounting and accounting control procedures.
Installs, configures, and maintains the organization's LAN server and workstations. Manages performance and maintains security of LANS. Works with multiple hardware and software platforms at the most complex level. Monitors reliability of network infrastructure and operating systems on multiple platforms. Diagnoses and repairs system problems.
Programmer – Senior
Prepares specifications and programs of a highly technical or complex nature. Analyzes, designs, codes, tests, implements, maintains, and documents computer system software. Usually works on one or more specific software applications and includes operating systems, compilers, utilities, job control language, and other control modules. Requires advanced technical knowledge in all areas of applications programming, system design, update, storage, and retrieval methods
Programmer – Junior
Analyzes user specifications and requirements. Encodes, tests, debugs, and documents programs on projects. Assists the Senior Programmers as required.
Provides technical support to workers in information processing departments. Develops work goals and department projects. Assigns and coordinates work projects, such as converting to new hardware or software. Designates staff assignments, establishes work priorities, and evaluates cost and time requirements. Reviews completed projects or computer programs to ensure that goals are met and that programs are compatible with other programs already in use. Modifies, tests, and corrects existing programs. Evaluates and tests vendor-supplied software packages to determine compatibility with existing system, ease of use, and if software meets user needs. Assists user to resolve computer-related problems, such as inoperative hardware or software. Reads technical journals or manuals and attends vendor seminars to learn about new computer hardware and software. Writes project reports and documentation for new or modified software and hardware.
Verifies and posts transactions to journals, ledgers and other records. Prepares statements, invoices and vouchers. May handle balancing and reconciliations. May specialize in one area of the accounting function. Requires understanding of bookkeeping procedures and 1-2 years of relevant experience.
Supplies administrative support services to an executive, professional group, or organizational department. Uses independent judgment in completing activities and operates under general supervision. Oversees administrative procedures and processes for assigned area. May act as an administrative liaison with internal and/or external sources. Assigns duties and direct activities such as typing or word processing documents, filing, answering phones, ordering supplies, mailing correspondence or packages, or other services. Examine workflow and revise processes as necessary to improve efficiency.
Needs to have a working knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel and be able to perform other general office duties such as filing, copying, and faxing. Must possess excellent written and oral communication skills and strong organizational skills. Must communicate in a very professional manner. Schedules appointments, gives information to callers, takes dictation, and provides secretarial and administrative support. Reads and routes incoming mail. Locates and attaches appropriate file to correspondence to be answered by employer. Composes letters and memoranda from dictation, verbal direction, or from knowledge of company policy or procedures. Assists executive in some administrative details. Takes dictation in shorthand or by machine and transcribes notes or voice recordings. Composes and types routine correspondence, files correspondence and other records. Answers telephone and gives information to callers or routes call to appropriate official and places outgoing calls. Schedules appointments for employer. Greets visitors, ascertains nature of business, and conducts visitors to employer or appropriate person. Anticipates ways in which executive time may be saved. Handles details and performs administrative functions based on understanding of company policy, executive's views and philosophy, which can be assumed by this level of executive secretary.
Receives incoming telephone calls for corporation. Obtains caller's name, and forwards call to appropriate person or takes a message. Greets clients and visitors and directs to conference room or staff member's office. May record calls and visitors. Provides information and assistance to clients and customers. Answers inquiries for the general public. Schedules appointments, maintains conference room schedule, receives or sends out messenger/courier items. Performs typing and other clerical duties.
Simon Property Group, L.P. will hold a substantial interest in Commercial Connect, LLC.. Attached is a copy of the report filed on Form 10-Q for the quarter ending June 30, 2000 from Simon Property Group, L.P. which demonstrates that sufficient financial resources are available and committed to support the business and operations of Commercial Connect, LLC..
Simon Property Group, L.P. has pledged all necessary financial backing for the operations of Commercial Connect, LLC. as stated in the attached letter from Chief Counsel James M. Barkley.
Commercial Connect, LLC. expects to be profitable during its second year of operation. Any net profits will likely be reinvested in the company.
Commercial Connect, LLC.’s financial backing will be from the assets of the Simon Property Group, L.P. As noted in form 10Q page 3 the joint venture has at its disposal current cash assets of over $133 million USD and total assets in excess of $13 Billion USD. From this will come the funds for our plan to aggressively solidify our first-to-market opportunity, to expand our technology and product offerings and to enhance our management team. The company expects to be profitable within 2 years. Revenues are to be derived solely from domain name registry operations.
All bookkeeping, accounting and financial information will be prepared using Peachtree Complete Accounting in the most current version available.
The chart of accounts shall be developed by the Chief Financial Officer to facilitate accurate and proper documentation of all activities and transactions in the operation of the business, utilizing generally accepted accounting procedures (GAAP) as allowed by the software. The Chief Financial Officer and other accounting personnel will track, forecast and budget the company’s finances to best utilize the information vital to our success and growth.
Capital assets are to be scheduled and managed through the use of the Peachtree Fixed Assets module, with appropriate tracking taking place as well within the general ledger. This provides the necessary documentation and treatment for financial statement preparation as well as for federal and state tax basis reporting requirements.
Revenue will come into the business primarily through wire transfers and possibly later by corporate check, thereby eliminating the need for a great deal of security in handling large sums of cash. The bank or depository institution will then transmit a daily transaction report of funds received and deposited. The registry information will be turned over expediently to the appropriate department for further processing. The revenue information will be recorded as a cash receipt for the appropriate day as well as simultaneously being reported to the appropriate revenue account. Totals reported as received by the financial institution will be balanced against the totals of detail transaction entry, and any fees or costs charged by the financial institution will then be posted as expenses. Reports from the registration section shall be compared with the financial reports in order to maintain the integrity of the procedure. Any discrepancies are to be reconciled immediately so that all daily reports are synchronous with each other. Utilization of daily concomitant controls prevents excessive and repetitive auditing of detail records at later times.
Expenditures for costs of revenue and general operations shall be made promptly and according to procedure as determined by the Chief Financial Officer and other financial personnel. Purchase Orders are to be issued by appropriate personnel upon receipt of documents of approval to purchase necessary items and services for operations. When merchandise or services are received, a signatory document confirming receipt of the merchandise or service shall be submitted as proof that the merchandise or service has been performed or received. Upon receipt of the invoice for the merchandise or service, the purchase order, the signatory document of receipt and the invoice are put together and submitted for payment.
Accounts payable are to be reviewed and payments of vendor invoices are to be determined as necessary by appropriate accounting personnel. All payments are to be made timely so that further costs are not incurred. Payments are to be made in such a manner as to maximize profitable utilization of cash reserves and other resources of the company while maintaining standard area business practices and vendor relations. Utilization of computerized checks will keep processing within the standardized system, thereby eliminating manual intervention and reducing the margin for error. Upon determination of signatory requirements for checks, appropriate accounting personnel shall sign checks as required and submit them for further processing and receipt by vendors.
Proper handling of the bank statement upon its delivery to or on behalf of the business is done as recommended by GAAP and accepted auditing standards. The bank statement is to be reconciled within twenty-four hours of its receipt by accounting personnel. Utilization of the account reconciliation feature of the software will facilitate completion of this task in accordance with procedures. Upon completion, the bank statement documents are to be safely and accessibly stored should further access be needed. Additional debit or credit adjustments to be posted to the general ledger are to be approved by the appropriate personnel and promptly entered into the system, also by the appropriate personnel.
Monthly transactions, general ledger and financial statement detail are to be reviewed for accuracy and completeness prior to issuance each month. Interim reports and financial statements are to be provided to Chief Officers and management personnel as they may require.
All financial information is to be held in strict confidence by all employees of the corporation.
There are substantial risk factors associated with Commercial Connect, LLC.. The company has a limited operating history and is introducing a new product to the market.
There is little reputation or history on which to rely for assumptions made in this business plan.
· The company will be highly dependent on key personnel. Any change in personnel could be detrimental.
· Forward-looking statements in this plan may be inaccurate.
· The company will be dependent on the continued growth and acceptance of the Internet and domain names.
· The company will be dependent on its perception on the Internet
· Legal issues faced by other registries will be of great concern
· There may be problems with computer systems that will disrupt operations.
· There may be security problems with computer systems.
· There may be future government regulations on Internet companies that adversely affect revenue.
See Registry Operator’s Proposal Technical Plan.