E0 Executive summary of the GNR proposal

E0.1 What is being proposed

This proposal is for an unsponsored TLD that targets individuals rather than corporations for a personal domain space and it is being made by the Global Name Registry (GNR).

The suggested TLD is .NAME, and significant research has been done to establish the acceptance and need for the string. We have also in this application requested or foreseen the creation of .NOM, .SAN, .XING  and .JINA (the proposed TLD string .JINA has been withdrawn by the applicant) , as reflections of the "name" concept in other languages and cultures.  Language and culture are ways in which we express our individuality and we expect this individuality to be reflected in various TLD strings after successfully proving the need for a .name.  

To date, the Internet has been dominated by the English speaking nations (largely because of market demands) and Internet based identification has reflected those forces.  The .COM, .NET and .ORG domains are readily differentiated in respect to purpose and our proposal seeks to create a clear and unambiguous label that is semantically different from all other TLDs.  This not only differentiates our users, but it also enhances the structure of the DNS by creating a hierarchy of need.  In our case, it’s the needs of the individual.  Imagine the advantage of being able to search for your family by finding all the domain holders that have your surname!

Geographical diversity and representation of interests is also a key aspect of the GNR proposal and as a pan-European organisation that will also have an office in the USA , we are well placed to serve a worldwide audience.

Clearly, the current market needs to be serviced, but most would agree that the greatest opportunities for expanding the influence and usefulness of the Internet lie in new markets.  Countries such as Germany, Japan, Canada and the UK are natural extensions to the large and established market in the USA. 

GNR is equally committed to servicing the needs of all users around the world and will measure its success (in part) on the breadth, as well as depth, of its offering.


E0.2 Why do we believe we need it ?

The primary driver is user demand

The concept of a personal domain space has existed for some time and the GNR proposal is a response to this need.  A survey recently conducted by Nameplanet.com (the world’s largest provider of personal email) to 100,000 of its users showed that over 60% believed they would use a personal domain and of those, 10% were prepared to pay for it.  Extrapolate these figures to the broader Internet community and this equates to tens of millions of users.  In fact, our research indicates that upward of 100 million people could have a personal domain space within the next 5 years.

The second reason is differentiation

Current TLDs such as .COM, .NET and .ORG are (in part) intended to separate users into categories of interest but there is no distinction between the individual and the corporate and inevitably, large companies and organizations are able to dominate the space.  Even the use of domain names from ccTLD’s are limited in that they reflect a geographical orientation and in many cases this distinction is a reflection of availability rather than a desire to have an identified nationality.

The .NAME domain identifier is independent of location and commercial orientation and the extension of this concept to .XING, .SAN etc will further differentiate the user base. 

The TLDs requested are all intended to convey the concept of how we identify ourselves, that is, by our names and the way in which we do this varies across geographical and cultural borders.  For example, to those people of African decent, regardless of where they are domiciled, it is our hope that the .JINA (a Swahili word for name) (the proposed TLD string .JINA has been withdrawn by the applicant) might be a more meaningful identifier than .NAME.  Of course, there are practical and commercial considerations to be considered in establishing multiple TLDs such as this, but GNR intends to be at the forefront of innovation and user demand will ultimately drive these considerations.

The third reason is availability

Any user who has tried to register a .COM or .NET domain name will have experienced the shortage of Internet "real estate".  But will a new TLD expand the space or merely create another mechanism by which a few users (or groups) can dominate the turf ?  The GNR proposal addresses some of these issues by only allowing registration on the third level.  If your last name is "Smith" or "Li", the current system means that only one user can own smith.com or li.net.  Under the GNR proposal, we will control smith.name and li.name and therefore John Smith and Mary Smith and Graeme Smith and Anson  Li and Wu Li will have equal opportunity to own their personal space.

It’s not just about availability; it’s also about diversity

The .COM, .NET and .ORG TLDs dominate a market that is calling out for diversity.  Although the concept of a personal TLD has previously been suggested, its introduction on a global basis is a compelling proposal to increase the diversity of the domain space.

E0.3 Who is the Global Name Registry ?

The Global Name Registry (GNR) is a new company that blends experience, wisdom, business acumen and technical expertise into one consortium.

The system infrastructure and hosting comes from IBM.  The funding and management input comes from Venture Partners and Four Seasons and the market experience in dealing with a business dedicated to the individual user comes from Nameplanet.com.

The combination of the world’s largest holder of over 700,000 personal emails (Nameplanet.com) and the world’s largest provider of IT systems and solutions (IBM) teaming with investors who measure their combined portfolios in billions of dollars delivers a world class, “best of breed” solution.

GNR has in the application process approached persons with significant experience in different aspects of the Internet. Julie Meyer, co-founder of First Tuesday, and Michael Dillon, a well known name and person in the DNS community, have both accepted to be non-executive directors in the company. GNR aims to have a world class Board of Directors who represent all facets of the user, technical and Internet regulatory communities and will be committed to making this a safe, secure and dynamic environment.

E0.4 How will it be managed ?

Through a well known channel

GNR is proposing to market the .NAME TLD exclusively via ICANN accredited Registrars.  Further, there will be no charge to the Registrars (new or old) to become GNR accredited and existing methods for registering domain names via Network Solutions will be maintained.

The concept will be to maintain the best elements of the current model with a minimum of change and create an atmosphere that encourages growth and competition.

In safety

Whilst there will be no requirement for Registrars to change their systems in any way, GNR is proposing a simpler and more secure registration protocol that is protected by hardware encryption. 

With no preferential treatment

The .NAME TLD is intended for individuals and for personal use.  There is no pre-registration period.  All Registrants will be required to certify their bona fide interest in registering a domain name for personal use and they may be required to produce evidence of this interest in the event of a dispute.

The wide variance of convention in respect to the structure and expression of a person’s name (including nicknames) is such that screening processes (by comparing names to a pre-determined list), or even potential trademark issues are virtually impossible to implement.  Further, the fact that a trademark may exist in a corporate environment does not necessarily exclude its availability for personal use.

We are, however, committed to protecting the rights of trademark and service mark holders and are proposing to introduce a system by which holders of these marks can be notified of potential infringements.

As registrations will only be allowed on the third level, the advantage to "squat" or "warehouse" names is greatly reduced.  In other words, because GNR will hold the lastname.name (eg, smith.name and li .name), and register the third level only (as in john.smith.name or wing.li.name) this element is not attractive.

Lastly, GNR will fully implement the tried and tested Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) to deal with any issues of dispute.  The rules in this area are clear and it discourages deliberate breaches of the guidelines.  Whilst this is not a perfect answer, it is the fairest. 

For a creative and innovative future

Our marketing plans are simple, yet effective and the proposal outlines possible future expansions to the service.  This might include micro-sites (the concept is not dissimilar to geocities), email on the 2nd level (such as firstname@surname.name) and even the provision of multi-lingual domain names.