MONSOON ASSETS LIMITED (BVI) d/b/a DOTYP, INC.
A. General Description of the Application
- TLD String(s) Requested.
New Services, Other.
Monsoon Assets Limited (BVI) d/b/a/ dotYP, Inc. (“dotYP”), through its request for the .yp TLD, seeks to establish a lookup service for businesses in a manner similar to a yellow pages phone book. This type of directory service is generally not available on the Internet today and qualifies dotYP for the new service category, other group.
- Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
b. Registry Operator.
dotYP is a British Virgin Islands corporation with its principal address in Tiburon, CA. dotYP's core capability is a service to enable users with web-enabled devices to conduct geographic and topic-based directory searches for business or organizations anywhere in the world. dotYP claims that its senior management and advisors have been involved in creating and managing several successful firms from startup to IPO to maturity since 1975. With regard to database operations, dotYP claims several members of the senior management team together developed a patent for a global stored value electronic payment system.
Subcontracting will be limited to network operations staff from co-location providers (e.g., Exodus, IBM, AT&T).
- Registry-Registrar Model.
Given dotYP’s unique nature as a uniform search locator, dotYP claims there will be no need for registrars or registration procedures.
B. Technical Review
- Summary Description of Proposal.
dotYP is an innovative approach to bridging printed business directories to the Internet without requiring that the bridged companies have web sites. The TLD would not be managed as a domain in the traditional sense, but rather the strings used for second and third level domains essentially would be query strings for the dotYP search engine. Business directory operators would provide listings in electronic format, already organized according to the categorization that maps to the search strings used by the search engine. For example, plumbing.Hollywood.yp would return plumbers listed in business directories covering Hollywood.
Name translation would produce an IP address to a directory service listing for the particular directory topic within a location. The search process would be designed to provide a good guess if the location or topic does not exist or is misspelled.
- Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
It is difficult to say. The technical plan appears to be well thought out and architecturally consistent with best practices. However, existing metrics for registry operations are not relevant to this evaluation.
a. Total Capacity.
System capacity is adequate considering the proposed staged roll-out. Capacity estimation is somewhat difficult to evaluate because the proposed registry/registrar model is quite different from the usual DNS approach. The registry will contain a relatively limited number of entries because it will only include translations from location/topic pairs to IP addresses. The registrars will not actually register in the registry, but will provide the directory entries (presumably in the form of web pages) to each request. However, the DNS mechanism is more complex because it is not a simple character string to number translation, but rather might include a search and it must collect billing information. Thus the DNS function would appear to require more capacity than one would expect in more conventional translation approaches.
b. Projected Growth Rate.
Probably modest considering that the actual registration in the domains is small.
c. Startup Period.
dotYP proposes to control all SLD and 3rdLD names. The SLDs will relate to regions or cities and the 3rdLDs will relate to subjects as currently provided in directories. Because of this tight control it is expected that there will be no “land rush”. dotYP proposes to gradually roll-out the service region by region, further controlling the in rush of name demand.
d. Fault Tolerance.
DNS services are much more capable than in other proposals because they do more actual work. Each element of the constellation is duplicated with fail-over provisions. Although the general aspects of the availability plan are provided, the details are missing.
Physical security follows standard practices and is based on the security of the co-location host. Other aspects of security are not discussed.
- Summary of Relevant Experience.
The founding management team seems well qualified, although they do not have direct experience in providing registry services. Founders have had extensive experience in developing secure transaction systems within the banking industry.
- Apparent Implementation Risks.
dotYP has identified the difficulty of hiring qualified personnel. The current management and technical team is small, but well qualified. This team will need to be substantially enlarged. dotYP plans to use an array of hiring and executive search services to fill positions.
Success may depend upon a new type of DNS translation model. dotYP’s proposal does not provide a clear view of the mechanism that will be used here. Apparently, aside from the obvious direct DNS translation of ..yp to IP addresses the DNS is expected to provide answers if there is a misspelling and to allow for enlarged searches if the initial search fails. It is unclear if the applicant’s approach has been tested. No quantitative results are provided.
The plan calls for registrars to provide directory services in response to DNS translations. The proposal provides little discussion of how registrars will be qualified and what sort of standardized services they will provide. There seem to be many loose-end in this area.
Controlled roll-out that is not susceptible to a land rush will allow careful test bed based development.
- Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
dotYP is relying on the general experience of the founders to jump start the hiring process and company development.
- Advancing the State of the Art.
dotYP proposes to develop and support extension of domain names to Asia and the Middle-East.
dotYP’s translation mechanism is very different from that currently in use. The introduction of such an unusual approach might be a useful way to gauge the usefulness and desirability of services which effectively reflect the translation request to the registrar. This is an approach that has been put forward in a similar manner by SRI in their .geo proposal.
- Other Comments.
What was left unclear was why this service requires the provisioning of a new TLD instead of being in, for example, yp.com. Many services are already offered directly under the .com TLD (e.g. bigbook.com) that provide directory and search capabilities.
The proposal recognizes that a “.com” may be unsuitable for use by local and small businesses. For a small business a suitable .com name may be hard to get and even if one is obtained queries may arrive from around the world. In some sense the .com name is too powerful. The application proposes to combine traditional directory services with the TLD structure to expedite the identification of local entities.
The proposal presents an unusual idea that may have some merit. However, the proposal itself is seriously underdeveloped. Many of the technical questions suggested in the application request issued by ICANN are simply ignored and remain unanswered. This applies to large sections of the required technical proposal section (15).
C. Business Review
- Applicant’s Representations.
dotYP is a newly formed organization whose goal is to enable users with web-enabled devices to conduct geographic- and topic-based directory searches for businesses or organizations anywhere in the world. dotYP will enter into agreements with publishers of directory type data. This will enable firms that are already listed in the existing geography-based publishing industry to be located with a convenient online search – with no changes or disruption to their existing listing. The founders of this organization have started numerous other businesses and pending the assignment of the new TLD. The staff will be comprised of six individuals.
dotYP is free to users. The company’s revenue model is based upon charging publishers for referrals of users resulting from a user-initiated search. The publishers will be offered a variety of pricing structures including a (i) fixed fee per geographic or topic search in the range of $0.01 each, (ii) subscription for search referrals, (iii) hosting the publisher’s database.
- ICANN’s Evaluation.
The strength of this application is its creative use of the TLD. The weakness of this application lies in its lack of completeness. Factor nine states that the “ICANN staff intends to place significant emphasis on the completeness of the proposal.” The plan states that the senior management team has extensive marketing experience but fails to disclose sufficient details or how this plan will unfold. The market size is not explored or explained very well. The company prepared income statements yet does not include balance sheets or information pertaining to confidence intervals. The income statements are also prepared without sufficient explanatory detail. Further, there are no details on the amount of capital required. The plan states that the founders have significant experience in raising capital, but does not provide sufficient details. The plan also has risks of market acceptance in that it requires the potential customers change their long-standing business practices, which they may be reluctant to disrupt. Overall, there are other applications that are stronger in this category from a business plan perspective.
D. Summary of Public Comments
- Number of Comments.
- Support for the Application.
“In essence dotyp will provide a public service, a commercial utility, a value-added resource, and a boon for the Internet at large.”
“The lower barriers to entry mean that nearly everyone gets to participate in the benefits of global communication, regardless of wealth or the size of your homeland.”
- Opposition to Application.
“.yp seems to be too limited in scope and purpose to be of any real value to the general-name seeking e-public. Their .find does have some merit, but it is questionable if it holds enough to realistically be of broad business usefulness.”