ICANN Registry Proposal
Overview of Group One Registry Proposal
Group One Registry is applying to ICANN to operate a new Internet Top Level Domain (TLD). Group One's proposed TLD and its implementation plan are designed to give a unique, numeric domain name to every Internet-enabled device in the world. This means that every device -- cell phones, PDAs, i-mode games, and one day refrigerators and automobiles etc. -- can act as a server and be contacted directly by any other device on the Internet. Individuals can buy names so that anyone can contact them. Manufacturers and service providers can buy blocks of names to use as value-added components in their products and services. The result will be a massive peer-to-peer network allowing users of any connected device to share files, send messages, and retrieve data. This application is specifically crafted to enable new services without duplicating the services of existing TLDs such as .com, and to avoid the intellectual property problems that have existed in other TLDs.
Group One will provide the infrastructure to enable this new functionality, while individual product and service providers create the applications that operate on that infrastructure. Group One will operate as the marketing and service center of the registry. It will contract with a registry operator for technical services. The initial registry operator, and the sponsor of Group One's application, is WebVision. WebVision is a provider of hosting and consulting services with over 200 employees. Paul Kane of Internet Computer Bureau will also participate in the founding of Group One. Internet Computer Bureau has built and operates several registries for country code TLDs and the ICB group was winner of the Internet Industry Awards 1999, beating well known companies such as America Online and the Consumers Association. To help in preparing its application and making its business succeed, Group One has retained first-class legal, marketing, and financial forecasting assistance.
More detail about our proposal and why our proposal should be selected
First, the proposal sponsors:
Group One Registry, Inc. www.grouponeregistry.com
Group One Registry, Inc. is a company formed to sponsor the new TLD. The company has firm commitments for capital investment of over $12 million (the amount needed to implement its business plan) with additional funding commitments, for a total of $35 million, currently under discussion. Drawing on the resources of the proposal's other supporters, Group One is positioned to deliver a robust, stable registry that will offer new capabilities to Internet users worldwide. Group One has formed a geographically diverse Registry Policy Board that will oversee the policies of the new TLD, and will allocate a share of Group One's profits to organizations around the world to help expand Internet access and services.
WebVision, Inc. www.webvision.com
WebVision is a comprehensive provider of full-scale Internet business solutions for companies building next-generation businesses on the Internet. With over 200 employees, WebVision owns and operates two 28,000 square foot data centers on the east and west coasts of the United States, and system centers in Phoenix, Chicago, and Seattle. The company's philosophy incorporates an end-to-end e-Business solution by building the commercial site, deploying it online, and supervising ongoing site management. WebVision has proven its Internet business leadership and expertise with customers including Sotheby's, Toshiba, Visa, Seagate, First American Financial and International Rectifier. Headquartered in Torrance, California, WebVision is a privately held company that has raised $62 million in the last 12 months, including $45 million in the last 4 months. Major investors in WebVision include Freeman Spogli & Co., The Goldman Sachs Group, TL Ventures, and SCP Private Equity Partners. Deloitte & Touche audits WebVisions financial statements. A due diligence report on WebVision by The Gartner Group is available on this site.
Internet Computer Bureau www.icb.co.uk
Internet Computer Bureau plc, led by Chairman Paul M. Kane, operates a number of ccTLD registry systems from its UK and Tokyo Data Centres. The company emphasizes stable technical platforms across a variety of applications. Specific examples may be viewed at http://www.nic.AC and http://www.nic.SH. In addition, a number of other companies are under the direct management of senior ICB technical and management staff, namely:
REACTO has been instrumental in developing stand-alone systems for a number of ICANN Accredited Registrars interfacing the Registrar with NSI Registry over the RRP protocol. A demonstration system may be viewed at http://demo.reacto.com.
Uwhois Inc (http://www.Uwhois.com) is a Universal WHOIS service designed to build consumer confidence in the DNS and the Internet at large. Uwhois is a US corporation with servers located in a significant number of data centres around the world specifically on the East and West coasts of the USA, various locations in Europe and in Tokyo.
INternet ONE (http://www.io.io) is a Group of Eight Industrialized Nations Information Society test bed Project. INternet ONE was voted winner of the Internet Industry Awards 1999 for "Best Consumer Customer Support," beating well known companies such as American Online and the Consumers Association.
Next, the consultants who helped prepare the proposal:
Perkins Coie www.perkinscoie.com
Perkins Coie is the largest law firm in the Pacific Northwest and a leader in serving Internet and technology clients. With over 500 attorneys, the firm has offices throughout the United States, and in major Asian cities. MSNBC recently called Perkins Coie "one of the big guns of Internet law," and Red Herring named the firm one of the top ten electronic commerce law firms in the United States. Rick White, a partner at Perkins Coie, is the lead attorney for Group One Registry. As a member of Congress from 1995-1999, White served on the House Commerce Committee. He was assigned to the subcommittees on Telecommunications, Trade & Consumer Protection; Finance & Hazardous Materials; and Energy & Power, and was founder and co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.
Peter Schalestock, who has played a critical role in thepreparation of this proposal, is an attorney in the Internet Commercepractice group at Perkins Coie. His practice includes advising clients on legal issuesrelating to the Internet, and business issues facing emerging Internetcompanies. He was Counsel and Communications Director for U.S.Representative Rick White from 1997-1999. During that time, he played aleading role in securing amendments to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.He is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law, where he currentlyteaches Legislation and the Legal Process as an adjunct professor.
Hill & Knowlton www.hillandknowlton.com
Hill and Knowlton's Northwest division prepared the registry's marketing plan. Using traditional methodologies as well as cutting-edge technologies, they developed integrated communications strategies consistent with the clients' overall business strategies, and delivered relevant messages to target audiences.
Hill and Knowlton, a member of the WPP Group, is an international public relations, marketing and public affairs company. Founded in 1927, the company has extensive resources and geographic coverage. Currently, they have 66 offices in 34 countries, as well as an extensive associates network.
Financial Consulting Services. The financial and marketing projections for this proposal were created using the consulting services of one the "Big Five" largest accounting firms.
Additional supporters include representatives of:
British Telecom (UK)
European Telecommunications Standards Institute (EU)
World Intellectual Property Organization
Car Phone Warehouse (UK)
Spencer Trask & Co. (USA)
Dallah Albarakah (Saudi Arabia)
Malaysian Resource Control Board (MRCB Berhard)
SCP Capital (USA)
University of Washington (USA)
A new entity called Group One Registry has been formed that will be the sponsoring organization. Web Vision, Inc., with support from Internet Computer Bureau, will be the registry operator.
We are proposing a restricted TLD. It is envisioned that names in this TLD will be used primarily to provide a globally unique identity for any device connected to the Internet (not just web servers). We propose that the TLD initially will be restricted to names that are made up exclusively of digits. Names that include alpha-characters will be reserved for future use. Restricting the namespace to all-numeric strings provides the following advantages:
- It minimizes Intellectual Property disputes;
- Numbers are international. Most of the worlds population recognizes and uses the number characters 0-9, regardless of their native character set;
- Numbers are a familiar way of identifying devices with which people communicate;
- Numeric SLDs are more easily utilized from devices that do not have a full keyboard. (It is difficult to enter an alpha-numeric string into a device that contains only a 0-9 keypad.); and
- Numeric strings utilize the name space more efficiently because numbers do not have an independent meaning.
The TLD string that we propose:
We view the use of .one as a means to implement the many advantages of this proposal for the Internet community, and an evolutionary phase progressing toward an all-numeric domain name.
All-numeric domain names are more easily recognized internationally, and can be accessed more easily from devices with limited keyboards. However, we recognize that numeric TLDs are discouraged by ICANN at this time due to conflicting positions of various RFCs. We intend to seek to clarify this issue through the IETF process.
We request selection by the ICANN Board as a registry:
1. We will maintain the Internet's stability.
We propose to utilize an existing registry system (with some modifications) that is currently the registry system for several ccTLDs. This registry system will maintain the whois information. This fat system is proven and reliable. We will host the system in two separate 28,000 square foot world-class data centers (one on the east coast and one the west coast of the US). The registry operator owns both of these data centers. The data centers are fully redundant and include:
- Three power source grid connections
- Fully redundant and parallel backup power generators and batteries
- Internal card key access, security video surveillance and recording systems, and armed security guards
- Redundant Liebert cooling towers, total cooling capacity is over 400 tons
- Fire and smoke detection systems include 3 separate halon systems with a pre-action backup sprinkler system
- The entire facilities are 24 inch raised floor with seismic stabilization
- Multiple fiber access points provide a network Infrastructure that is ATM/IP based. Xylan ATM switches feed both ATM and Classical IP Infrastructures. ATM OC3C and OC12 available today, IP Ethernet from 10, 100, and Gigabit.
- NOC manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week
- Remote backup and restore facility using ADIC any media library with robotictape mechanism expandable to 19 Terabits online.
During the initial period of domain name registration, we will restrict the name space to names of at least 20 digits. During a phase-in period, the minimum name length will decline to 9 digits, gradually releasing the names in the namespace that are available for registration. This method will provide an orderly, stable and reliable assignment of domain names during the initial roll-out period.
2. Selection of our proposal will lead to an effective "proof of concept" concerning the introduction of top-level domains in the future.
Establishing a TLD with all-numeric SLDs will allow the Internet community to evaluate the additions and enhancements to the DNS and possible methods of implementing them. We envision that other companies will build devices and programs that will utilize names in the TLD so that people can more easily reach each other and connect to each other over the Internet.
Our proposal will demonstrate:
- A new type of TLD that will provide additional utility beyond existing gTLDs by using the DNS to connect devices to each other in addition to connecting to web servers. This will provide additional services to existing products and stimulate development of as-yet unforeseen new applications;
- A gradual launch of the TLD based on slowly and fairly releasing the name-space;
- A procedure to develop policies for the TLD that is dynamic and flexible to meet the changing needs of the Internet, while maintaining accountability to ICANN and the Internet community;
- A sponsoring organization to perform marketing and management functions and a registry operator to perform only the technical back-end functions. This structure stimulates competition by allowing the sponsoring organization to replace the registry operator if another organization can more efficiently provide services at the same level of quality and stability. In addition, the registry operator may be replaced immediately for failure to meet service or quality requirements;
- A means to provide the sponsoring organization with sufficient resources and incentive to promote the new TLD and enhance the utility of the DNS, while providing service on a non-discriminatory basis and reserving some funds for allocation to benefit Internet development and access;
- A TLD structure that will promote active use of registered names and reduce the percentage of lame delegations;
- A means to understand the market demand and utility of this new type of TLD;
Our proposal will test whether or not the myriad of devices being connected to the Internet will utilize the standard and open DNS for identifying one from the other or if they will utilize various proprietary identification schemes. After a suitable period of time, we will be able to evaluate the success of the TLD through measurements such as:
- the number of names registered;
- a comparison of the percentage of registered names that are lame delegations to the same percentage in other TLDs;
- system stability, measured by the percentage of time the system is unavailable to accept registrations;
- the percentage of name registrations that become subject to dispute;
- the number of registrars registering names in the new TLD;
- the number of names connected to devices that are not web servers, mail servers, or ftp servers.
3. We will enhance competition for registration services.
We will enhance competition on two levels:
- Registrar services; and
- Registry services.
Registrar competition will be enhanced because we are not proposing that the registry will serve as both registry and registrar. We are proposing to utilize the existing TLD competitive registrar/registry system so that any ICANN accredited registrar will be able to register names in the new TLD. Transfers will allow inter-TLD registrar competition and prevent lock-in. We believe some registrars may differentiate themselves by offering new real-time DNS services, which would be particularly suited to an all-numeric TLD.
Registry competition will be enhanced because the registry operator will only perform the back-end technical functions, which will help to reduce lock-in by allowing the sponsor to change registry operators without disrupting other functions such as marketing or branding. Also, the sponsor will be free to move the operations to another company if the original operator is not performing adequately. This flexibility for the sponsor will be further enhanced because the interface to the operator from the registrars will be via a central domain name that the sponsor controls. Under this structure, registry operators will be able to bid to serve other new TLDs, further enhancing competition in the registry operator space. In addition, the "fat" registry for whois information will make the new TLD attractive for registrars and users.
The need for a single, non-proprietary system using existing technology that can identify devices across multiple applications and service providers is not adequately being served by proprietary and closed systems. We believe that the new registry will increase competition in this market space. The restrictions we propose will serve specific market segments without inhibiting competition.
4. .one will enhance the utility of the DNS.
The word one as the TLD label indicates that the TLD is for digits, and the meaning is not confused by use in different languages. No other TLD sounds similar to one when spoken, no other TLD has a similar meaning and no other TLD is spelled similarly. The TLD .one is not reserved by any RFCs. Users will remember that the .one TLD is for numbers, leading them to look for an all-numeric SLD in .one before another TLD.
5. We will meet previously unmet types of needs.
Our Registry will focus on meeting the needs of people and companies that need their Internet connected devices to have a domain name. Our proposal is thoroughly researched, well-planned, and is backed by substantial marketing, technical and financial resources ready to execute the plan.
6. We will enhance the diversity of the DNS and of registration services generally.
Diversity of TLD Types: We propose a new type of TLD, an all-numeric domain, which increases the diversity in types of TLDs.
Diversity of Geography: Group One Registry is comprised of and supported by individuals, organizations and companies from diverse world-wide geographical locations, with no one person or entity in control of the organization. These locations include Japan, Malaysia, the US, Europe, and Saudi Arabia, as well as international organizations. The Registry Policy Board is structured to represent a diversity of interests and geographical regions.
Diversity of Business Model: The structure of sponsoring organization and registry operator proposed by Group One Registry is a new type of business model that offers numerous advantages over existing models.
7. Our Registry Advisory Board aims to represent the needs of the Internet community.
Group One Registry, Inc. intends to follow many of the policies ICANN has established under its authority. Group One Registry, Inc. views the delegation of policy-formulation as one means to achieve ICANN's goal of functioning as a bottom-up organization, and will work with ICANN to determine appropriate areas of policy-formulation to consider delegating.
When there are multiple registries operating in a competitive environment, delegating certain limited policy-formulation authority to those registries can contribute to broad-based decision-making about the Internet. The registries who directly serve interested communities can be highly accessible and responsive to them and enhance decision-making under the ICANN umbrella.
Group One Registry, Inc. is highly sensitive to the need to serve the Internet community at large and will not allow registrars to become captive to a particular constituency or interest. That is one reason it has created the Registry Policy Board. Out of the eleven members on the Policy Board, three will be named by ICANN to assure that its concern for the broad interest of the Internet is represented, and five members will be outside members from diverse backgrounds chosen to make sure that the Policy Board's actions are in the interests of the Internet at large. No more than five members of the Policy Board may come from a single geographic region, ensuring that international concerns are addressed.
8. We will safegaurd the rights of others in connection with the operation of the TLD.
Because .one will be an all-numeric domain, we do not foresee the level of conflict that other TLDs have experienced. This statement is supported by the letter provided to Group One Registry by the World Intellectual Property Organization. In the event that disputes do arise in this non-contentious name space, they will be addressed through the established online dispute resolution process. We plan a gradual and nondiscriminatory introduction of the name space, thereby removing the land-rush during the start-up phase of the TLD. We propose a central whois service so that the public, and trademark holders may easily determine the owner of domains. There will be relatively little incentive to cybersquat in the .one name space, because numeric domain names do not have intrinsic meaning separate from the device they identify.
9. Our proposal demonstrates realistic business, financial, technical, and operational plans and sound analysis of market needs.
Our proposal is thoroughly researched and described, well-planned, and is backed by substantial marketing, technical and financial resources ready to execute the plan. The plan was developed in consultation with leading advisors on marketing issues (Hill & Knowlton), finance (a "Big Five" accounting firm), and legal issues (Perkins Coie). The proposal's sponsors are experienced in Web hosting, Internet infrastructure, and domain name registry systems (WebVision, Inc. and Paul M. Kane).