THE GLOBAL NAME REGISTRY, LIMITED
A. General Description of the Application
- TLD String(s) Requested.
.jina (the proposed TLD string .jina has been withdrawn by the applicant)
General Purpose, Personal.
Global Name Registry, Ltd. (“Global Name Registry”) requests new TLD’s intended to support human domain names. Global Name Registry targets a broad registrant base and large user end group focusing primarily on commercial endeavors. As such, Global Name Registry qualifies for the general purpose category, personal group.
- Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
b. Registry Operator.
Global Name Registry is a limited liability company, organized under the laws of England and Wales. Global Name Registry is wholly owned by Nameplanet.com, Ltd.("Nameplanet"), a limited liability company registered in England and Whales. Global Name Registry was formed in December of 1999 to apply for and run a new TLD, .name. NamePlanet has, as its core proposition to end users, the free usage of a domain name that corresponds to the user's personal name for e-mail and web page purposes. NamePlanet claims to have acquired over 700,000 users in eight months of operations.
IBM will provide the hardware for the registry system while NamePlanet will provide the software. SourceFile will provide data escrow services. SourceFile claims to be one of the world’s leading technology asset and intellectual property protection services companies. SourceFile specializes in providing source code escrow to developers, licensees and attorneys representing both parties. Together with its international affiliates and representatives, SourceFile claims to serve over 25,000 corporations and software developers from fifty countries. IBM claims to provide customer solutions through the use of advanced information technology. IBM operates primarily in a single industry but utilizes several business segments, including: 1) the Technology segment, produces principal equipment for use in general purpose computer systems, 2) the Personal System segment, produces general purpose computer systems, 3) the Server segment, produces many open-network based applications and are used primarily by multiple users at the same time, 4) the Global Services segment, claimed by IBM to be the world’s largest and must versatile information technology services provider, supporting computer hardware and software products and providing professional services to help customers realize the full value of information technology, 5) the Software segment, delivers operating systems for the company’s servers and middleware for IBM and non-IBM platforms, 6) the Global finance segment, provides and facilitates a broad array of financing services for the company, its customers and business partners and 7) the Enterprise Investment segment, provides a spectrum of initiates in information technology solutions supporting the hardware, software and services segments of the company.
- Registry-Registrar Model.
Global Name Registry intends to invite all existing ICANN accredited registrars to become registrars in the new TLD. It does not intend to restrict the number of registrars. Registrations will only be possible on the third level. Global Name Registry has listed IBM United Kingdom Limited (“IBM”) and SourceFile as subcontractors for certain portions of its registry operator’s services and systems.
B. Technical Review
- Summary Description of Proposal.
The applicant wants to create a new TLD to support human domain names. They will control 2nd level domain names, which will contain common “family” names. Users will register for 3d level names under the appropriate 2nd level name. They use a thin registry model, but keep Whois information in databases supported by the registry service, not at the registrars. The applicant provides normal name service for their clients, not the more ambitious service of dynamically mapping personal names to varying locations and delivery mechanisms.
- Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
a. Total Capacity.
Global Name Registry foresees a five year need of tens to hundreds of millions of registered names. Their projections suggest a continuing demand adding perhaps six million names per year. Their architecture should be able to support this level of demand. Further, their architecture is designed for relatively easy expandability, so if the demand is significantly higher, they should be able to meet that demand.
b. Projected Growth Rate.
They expect a fairly fast growth rate, and their plans are designed to meet it.
c. Startup Period.
Global Name Registry requires registrars to check that names are being registered by people who have some right to that name. This method will limit the rate of registrations. Further, they plan a declining price for registration over time, which is intended (in part) to encourage many users to delay registration. Their architecture is structured to handle more than the expected startup registrations.
d. Fault Tolerance.
This proposal has very impressive attention paid to fault tolerance issues. The resulting registry and associated services (DNS, Whois, etc.) should be highly reliable and available.
The security aspects of the proposal are strong. The applicant plans to use proven techniques and to exercise prudent care in running their facility. Security will be audited on a regular basis by an independent company that has submitted a proposal related to the specific system.
- Summary of Relevant Experience.
Global Name Registry seems to have no actual experience running registries or registrars, as such. NamePlanet, however, has offered an email service with substantially similar characteristics at a large scale. IBM is a partner, bringing strong experience with large database systems, fault tolerance, security, and practical operation of large complex computing facilities. Applicant has also developed sub-contractor relationships with a data escrow service, a billing and collections provider and a security auditor.
- Apparent Implementation Risks.
Global Name Registry achieves fault tolerance through use of large amounts of fairly expensive redundant hardware, with administration and staff time to support it. If the service proves substantially less popular than expected, revenues might be insufficient to continue supporting this large infrastructure.
Global Name Registry will rely on a new registration protocol, SRRP. While they plan to support requests coming in from RRP registrars, all requests will be converted to SRRP internally. If the new protocol has hidden flaws, the service could suffer to the extent that those flaws do harm.
Global Name Registry will store most registration information in a centralized form, in the Whois database they propose. This choice might make it hard to augment the personal name service with dynamic data that might be appropriate for mobile users.
- Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
The partnership with IBM gives Global Name Registry access to a wide array of expertise in that company, though the extent to which IBM will make such expertise available is unclear. Further, the existing staff at the main partner, NamePlanet, has already done a pilot version of something similar to a personal name TLD in its personal name email system. The expertise of that staff is likely to prove helpful. The hardware resources that the proposal outlines are impressive and should be up to handling far more than the proposers expect to see.
Propose has developed good subcontractor relationships with a number of software and sub system providers.
- Advancing the State of the Art.
The applicant plans to use a new stateless registration protocol that might prove superior to existing protocols. Applicant has provided a very detailed specification of their proposed protocol.
The applicant will use a protocol to propagate only deltas to the zone file, rather than the entire file, allowing faster propagation of new names.
The applicant will investigate the effects of using different DNS implementations to support the same namespace for fault tolerance purposes.
- Other Comments.
This proposal has strong practical elements. The applicant clearly knows how to set up and run facilities. Their experience running a different kind of personal name service further increases confidence that they will do a professional job.
C. Business Review
- Applicant’s Representations.
Global Name Registry was established as the operational company to apply and run a new TLD, .name. This is a wholly owned subsidiary of NamePlanet.com Ltd. NamePlanet.com was formed in December 1999 and has 35 employees. The Nameplanet.com current vision is to enable as many people as possible with the same last name to share a domain name. Effectively, it builds communities of individuals with the unique benefit of having their own name as their Internet address. Some of the company’s products and services include web-mail, WAP service and E cards. After eight months of operations, the company has acquired 700,000 users. All users have a personal domain name space. The plan is proposing to move its current operations from its existing structure to a new top level domain.
The revenue model is subscription based with a price of $5 per year in the first year declining to $1.50 by year four. The renewal rate begins at 65 percent and increases to 80 percent. The total expected demand in registrations is expected to be 853,000 and 14.1 million in years one and four, respectively. Global Name Registry expects to have 27 employees by year four and is expecting to invest $7.5 million.
- ICANN’s Evaluation.
The strengths of this application are a strong assessment of the market opportunity, segmentation analysis, and channel opportunities. The marketing plan is also well laid out identifying the value proposition, pricing strategy and communications strategy. Further, this applicant has evidence of commitment letters from Venture Partners Multimedia III for the required $5 million and the parent company for $2.5 million. Overall, this application is a stronger application given its category from a business perspective.
D. Summary of Public Comments
- Number of Comments.
- Substantive Comments and/or Questions.
Question was raised as to how the registry would deal with multiple individuals with the same name. A representative from the company responded in some detail
A concern was expressed that registering individual’s names and then selling them back to the individuals would, in effect, constitute cyber-squatting.