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New sTLD Application

Part C. Business Plan

15 December 2003

Part A. Explanatory Notes | Part B. Application Form | Part C. Business Plan | Part D. Financial Model | Part E. Technical Specification | Part F. Application Checklist

 

Introduction

The purpose of this section is to provide information that substantiates the robustness of the organization in terms of its ability to provide continuing registry services, and to provide a plan for assuring continuity of service in the event of business failure of the Sponsoring Organization. Establishing a new TLD registry is a complex undertaking when all factors are taken into account and this document describes the minimum business plan information necessary to comply with the specifications of the Request for Proposal.

This section should be completed in conjunction with and be considered with Part D - Financial Model.

The independent evaluators will expect to see a Business Plan for the proposed registry that describes:

  • the services to be provided (a full description including the date operations start),
  • an outline of anticipated cost and capital requirements,
  • cost analyses and a revenue model,
  • the availability of capital including sources of start-up and expansion funds,
  • a marketing plan including a brief market analysis and forecast,
  • an appropriate pricing model,
  • a resource requirements projection, and;
  • risk analysis and contingency provisions.

The applicant should confirm to ICANN that it has the documents listed below and is prepared to provide them at a later stage in the application process:

  • evidence of financial and economic standing through statements from bankers or investors, balance sheets, or other certified financial statements,
  • evidence of performance bonding, including the provider name and address, and coverage amounts, or financial evidence of self-bonding, and;
  • copies of recently performed external audits.

Business Plan - Current Operations

I. Provide a full description of registry services to be provided.

II. Demonstrate current business operations including core capabilities particularly in registry/database and Internet related operations; the services and products offered; duration of provision of services and products in current business. Demonstrate capacity to provide ongoing registry services.

III. Demonstrate the qualifications and experience of financial and business officers and other relevant senior employees. Show the current size of their staff and demonstrate their ability to expand the employee base and recruit employees with specialized skills as necessary.

IV. Describe whether the business currently provides domain name registration services through an accredited ICANN registrar. Describe how the registry would augment base level registry services with value-added services or products associated with the registry.

V. Describe the location of facilities available to house staff and equipment necessary to operate the registry.

VI. Commercial general liability insurance. Include the name and address of insurer/provider, amounts of insurance policy and, in general terms, the coverage of the policy, and any plans for obtaining additional insurance.

Business Plan - Registry Requirements

I. Revenue model. Provide a full description of the revenue model, including proposed rates to be charged for various registry services. Revenues should be forecast at low, medium, and high projected levels of demand.

II. Resources required to meet demand. Provide an estimate of all resources including financial, technical, staff, physical plant, customer service and any other requirements to meet demands, at low, medium, and high demand levels.

III. Plans for acquiring necessary systems and facilities. Describe plans for acquiring all necessary systems and facilities for providing the proposed services at each estimated demand level. Provide details as to the scope, cost, and vendor for any significant planned outsourcing, as well as brief detail on such vendor's capabilities.

IV. Staff size/expansion capability. Describe plans for obtaining the necessary staff resources, capacity for start-up and expansion. Include description of hiring policy, employee training, space for additional staff, staffing levels needed for provision of expanded technical, support, escrow, and registry services.

V. Key management personnel (including experience and position). Review the expected initial management team and the skills of each member, and plans for obtaining additional management personnel as necessary.

VI. Capital requirements. Quantify capital requirements in amount and timing. Specify in detail all expected sources of capital and the cost of that capital.

VII. Business risks and opportunities. Describe upside and downside contingencies you have considered and discuss your plans for addressing them.

VIII. Provision for Registry Failure. Provide details on how you would assure continuity of operations in the event of business or operational failure of the Registry Operator or Sponsoring Organization and make provision for contingencies and a failsafe back-up plan.

The requirement for providing ICANN with escrowed data does not in itself suffice. Unless appropriate restoration arrangements are made, there could be a considerable lag between business failure and the ability to make arrangements with another Registry Operator to make use of the escrowed data. Applicants are encouraged to propose creative approaches that emphasize reliable plans for assuring continuity of service in the face of Registry Operator business failure.

The possibility of business failure of the Sponsoring Organization and contingency planning must also be addressed. The Registry Operator must agree in the event of business failure of the Sponsoring Organization, to assign the rights of the Sponsoring Organization under the agreement(s) between the Registry Operator and the Sponsoring Organization to ICANN (or a designee of ICANN) for at least one year.

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