Report on TLD Applications: Application of the August 15 Criteria to Each Category or Group
(9 November 2000)

2. Special-Purpose TLDs

There were seven applications assigned to this group:


Strings Requested
Cooperative League of the USA (NCBA) .co-op, .coop
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) .union
Internet Events International, Inc. .event
Museum Domain Management Association (MDMA) .museum
Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA) .air
Universal Postal Union .post
World Health Organization (WHO) .health

Threshold Review

As a threshold matter, the evaluation team applied the first and the last criteria to these applications as described in Part III.B.1.a. As a result of an extensive review directed toward these criteria, the evaluation team concluded that the following applications merited further review:


Strings Requested
Cooperative League of the USA (NCBA) .co-op, .coop
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) .union
Museum Domain Management Association (MDMA) .museum
Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA) .air
World Health Organization (WHO) .health

The technical team and the business/financial team each concluded that Internet Event International, Inc.'s application did not demonstrate the technical or business resources required to operate a TLD.

The business/financial team concluded that while the technical resources to run the .post registry were likely to be sufficient, the Universal Postal Union's application did not include a well-thought-out plan on how the proposed TLD would be used. This imprecision made it impossible to determine if the uses of the TLD anticipated by the Universal Postal Union are feasible, and did not suggest a level of specific technical familiarity that commends inclusion in this initial "proof-of-concept" stage. As one example, the Universal Postal Union proposal states that non-postal organizations with .post domain names will not be allowed to create web sites, but does not specify how it will enforce this restriction.


Having applied the first and last of the August 15 Criteria to these applications as a threshold matter, the evaluation team evaluated how each of the August 15 Criteria should be applied to proposals for these TLDs. The evaluation team concluded that the August 15 Criteria apply as follows:

August 15 Criteria

Application to Special-Purpose Group
The need to maintain the Internet's stability Generally applies
The extent to which selection of the proposal would lead to an effective "proof of concept" concerning the introduction of top-level domains in the future Generally applies
The enhancement of competition for registration services Applies primarily with respect to those special-purpose TLDs that have both a commercial function and a large group of targeted users
The enhancement of the utility of the DNS Applies primarily with respect to appropriateness of the TLD label, avoidance of confusion of TLDs and the extent to which the TLD will aid users
The extent to which the proposal would meet previously unmet types of needs Applies primarily with respect to expanding the DNS to a restricted, primarily non-commercial top-level domain
The extent to which the proposal would enhance the diversity of the DNS and of registration services generally Generally applies
The evaluation of delegation of policy-formulation functions for special-purpose TLDs to appropriate organizations Generally applies
Appropriate protections of rights of others in connection with the operation of the TLD Generally applies
The completeness of the proposals submitted and the extent to which they demonstrate realistic business, financial, technical, and operational plans and sound analysis of market needs Generally applies, balanced with the primarily limited objectives of special-purpose TLDs

Enhancing the diversity of the DNS, representativeness, meeting unmet needs and proof of concept seem particularly relevant to analysis of these TLDs.

Enhancing the Diversity of the DNS

The August 15 Criteria stated that ICANN hoped to receive proposals for "restricted and chartered domains with limited scope" as well as "noncommercial domains", thereby enhancing the diversity of the DNS. All of the remaining proposals in this group would enhance the diversity of the DNS as expressly contemplated by the August 15 Criteria.


The August 15 Criteria also require analysis to determine whether sponsored TLDs are appropriately representative of the affected segments of the relevant communities.

Cooperative League of the USA (.co-op, .coop)

The Cooperative League of the United States of America, d/b/a the National Cooperative Business Association ("NCBA"), was established in 1916 and has members across all industries, including banking, insurance, telecommunications, utilities, agriculture, retail trade, health care, housing, associations of co-operatives, businesses that serve co-operatives, child-care and shared service co-operatives among independent businesses. It purports to be the only cross industry co-operative organization in the U.S.

The NCBA proposal would limit registrations to entities that are in compliance with NCBA- and ICA-accepted principles.

The NCBA's proposal is supported by the International Co-operative Alliance ("ICA"), an independent, non-governmental Association purporting to have over 230 member organizations, consisting of national and international co-operative organizations from over 100 countries representing more than 750,000 co-operatives and 725 million individuals worldwide. The ICA has expressly endorsed the NCBA's application and has pledged its support to the NCBA.

In addition to the endorsement of the ICA, ICANN received approximately 316 comments regarding the NCBA's application. The comments were overwhelmingly supportive of the application.

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (.union)

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions ("ICFTU") is an "Association de fait" under Belgium Law and is a non-profit organization. The ICFTU has General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Pursuant to its Constitution, the ICFTU represents "the free and democratic trade unions of the world." The ICFTU claims to have 216 affiliated organizations in 145 countries and territories, representing 123 million workers. The ICFTU purports to represent, either directly or indirectly through its constitutional organs, all the different existing categories of trade unions.

ICFTU will qualify only "bona fide" trade union organizations and their ancillaries as registrants.

The overwhelming majority of the 117 comments ICANN received regarding the ICFTU's application were supportive of the application.

It should be noted that a set of objections to the ICFTU proposal was raised by LPA, Inc., a American entity which describes itself as a public policy association for senior human resources executives, criticizing the proposal's failure to prohibit the registration of company names within the TLD. The ICFTU has responded by noting that (i) only "bona fide" trade unions would allowed to register domain names in the .union TLD, not individuals or businesses, (ii) many trade unions legitimately include the names of companies in their own names, and (iii) the proposal includes a mechanism for resolving disputes arising between trade unions themselves.

Société Internationale de Télécomunications Aéronautiques SC (.air)

The Société Internationale de Télécomunications Aéronautiques SC ("SITA") was incorporated in Belgium in 1949 as a co-operative association and is owned and operated by and on behalf of the Air Transport Community. The Air Transport Community is defined as "[a]ll companies and organizations for which the main activity is related to Air Transport." SITA states that is has been providing network, communication and related IT-based application services to its members for over 50 years. SITA states that it has over 725 members, including all the major and regional airlines in the world, together with air freight carriers, airports, aerospace industry manufacturers, air traffic authorities, computer reservations systems, and other air transport related organizations.

The intention of the proposed .air TLD is to provide service to the air transport industry and registrants will be restricted to legitimate members of the industry.

World Health Organization (.health)

The World Health Organization ("WHO") is a public international organization and has been a Specialized Agency of the United Nations since 1948. The stated objective of the WHO is "attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health." (See Chapter 1, Article 1 to the WHO Constitution). The WHO is accountable to its Member States. Members of the United Nations may become members of the WHO by accepting its Constitution. Other countries may become members by acceptance of their applications by a simple majority vote of the World Health Assembly. Territories also have the ability to become Associate Members.

The WHO proposal intends to support the Member States' common interest in denoting health-related online content provided by "content providers who will voluntarily abide by established quality and/or ethical standards."

The WHO proposal would allow registrations only by those who agree to abide by a set of international ethical principles and quality standards relating to health information. In general, sponsoring organizations in restricted TLDs are required to provide detailed information regarding the proposed restrictions, the purpose of the restrictions and the enforcement mechanisms associated with the restrictions. At best, the WHO's application is vague in providing this information. The ethical principles and quality standards mentioned by the WHO have not been developed and are not expected to be developed until completion of a WHO-led consensus process some time next year. While it is understandable that the WHO has not yet completed a detailed set of standards through its process, there is a basic ambiguity in the proposal as to the objective of the proposed restrictions, which directly relates to the purpose of the TLD and the community to be served.

A key area of concern that arises from the vagueness of the WHO's standards for restricting registrars lies in the extent to which the WHO would be performing content-based screening or enforcement. While the WHO proposal focuses on restrictions based on the conduct of information providers, the proposal also states that the purpose of the .health TLD would be to "enhance the credibility of information provided for public and personal health," which implies a degree of verification of the accuracy of the information. To the extent that the WHO proposes to screen content, the same concerns discussed earlier in this report in the restricted content group (.kids, .xxx) apply. On the other hand, to the extent that the WHO intends to vouch for the registrants, by application of ethical principles and quality standards for registrants in the TLD, concerns arise regarding the application of the applied standards and the viability of post-registration enforcement mechanisms, which are not yet developed.

The vagueness in proposed registration standards implicates the representativeness of the WHO proposal, in that a community of organizations meeting defined standards of conduct can more plausibly be "represented" than a community of "accurate" health-related content.

Some commentators, including a multinational pharmaceutical company, have raised objections as to the appropriateness of according a degree of authoritativeness over the implied accuracy of health-care-related information to a single quasi-governmental organization. These commentators essentially argue that no single organization should be entrusted to have a "monopoly" (real or perceived) over third-party verification of health-related information.

Museum Domain Management Association (.museum)

The Museum Domain Management Association ("MDMA") is a newly formed, not-for-profit membership organization. The Founder Members are the International Council of Museums ("ICOM") and the J. Paul Getty Trust. ICOM is a non-governmental organization created in 1946 by the United Nations' Economic and Social Council to represent the interests of museums worldwide. ICOM currently has approximately 15,000 members in 147 countries. The J. Paul Getty Trust operates the J. Paul Getty Museum and states it has a long-established commitment to the museum community.

MDMA requires all registrants to qualify as a museum pursuant to ICOM standards.

The Bylaws of the MDMA create four different types of members:

(a) Founder Members -- ICOM and the J. Paul Getty Trust.

(b) Class A Members - has an annual operating budget of $5,000,000 or more and is either (1) an institutional member of ICOM or (2) qualifies under ICOM's definition of museum.

(c) Class B Members -- has an annual operating budget of less than $5,000,000 and is either (1) an institutional member of ICOM or (2) qualifies under ICOM's definition of museum.

(d) Class C Members - not a Founder, Class A or Class B Member but who has been duly elected by the MDMA board and meets all of the membership requirements established by the board.

The MDMA has a staggered board of six directors divided into three classes -- Class I, Class II and Class III. For every election of Class I directors, ICOM is entitled to elect one director and the J. Paul Getty Trust is entitled to elect one director. For every election of Class II directors, ICOM is entitled to elect one director and Class A and Class B members, voting together as a group, are entitled to elect one director. For every election of Class III directors, the J. Paul Getty Trust is entitled to elect one director while the Class A and Class B members, voting together as a group, are entitled to elect one director. Class C Members have no voting rights.

While ICOM is certainly an established international entity organized to represent the interests of the worldwide museum community as a whole, it should be noted that the manner in which the MDMA is structured ensures that the board will be dominated by representatives of ICOM (2 Directors) and the J. Paul Getty Trust (2 Directors). In its answer to ICANN's question regarding board member allocations, the J. Paul Getty Trust states that (i) it did not provide a "sunset" provision for its board membership because it is impossible to predict when the MDMA would be able to operate independent of financial, administrative, staffing and other subsidies provided to it, (ii) when the MDMA can operate free of the J. Paul Getty Trust's subsidies, it is quite probable a "sunset" provision will be adopted, and (iii) notably, ICOM's independent control over the criteria for registration of domain names is the most important from the global community's perspective. Nevertheless, the permanent privileged position specified for the J. Paul Getty Trust warrants careful consideration by the ICANN Board.

Subject to the limited qualifications noted above, the evaluation team concluded that each of these sponsored TLD applicants has demonstrated that it is broadly representative of the affected segments of the relevant communities to be served by the TLD(s) it proposes.

Meeting Unmet Needs and Proof of Concept

All five applications expect relatively modest numbers of registrations, based on the restrictions on who may register. The following chart outlines their expected sizes and lists the service provider that will run the registry.


Anticipated Registrations (Year 4)

Proposed Registry Operator
Cooperative League of the USA


International Confederation of Free Trade Unions


Museum Domain Management Association


Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques

181K (optimistic)66K (pessimistic)

SITA Information Networking Computing, BV
World Health Organization

Not specified


While the WHO did not provide actual figures for the expected size of a .health registry, the WHO's intention to carefully screen all prospective registrants suggests that the size will remain relatively small.

The technical team concluded that, in all cases, the registry operator is well qualified to run a registry on the scale anticipated. In the case of the WHO, the failure to provide an estimate of registrations makes it difficult to assess the technical proposal. However, it seems unlikely that the .health TLD would exceed the general capabilities of CORE.

The limited scale of the proposed registries implies that they will receive limited revenues from registration fees. The business/financial team concluded that these five applicants appear to have sufficient resources to run these registries, despite this limitation. In the case of failure of any of these registries, the impact will be largely limited to the memberships of the groups they serve.

Protection of the Rights of Others

Protection of the rights of others is another August 15 Criteria relevant to the evaluation of special-purpose TLDs. As outlined in the June 13 Report, different types of TLDs warrant different types of protection for intellectual property. For special-purpose TLDs, which focus primarily on non-commercial uses, the need for a high level of protection for intellectual property is somewhat diminished due to the restricted nature of the category. The more restrictive the TLD, the less likely for abuse of the rights of third parties.

The proposals for special-purpose TLDs provide differing approaches and registration restrictions for the protection of the rights of others. The differences are summarized as follows:

Sunrise Period

The WHO and NCBA are the only special-purpose TLD applicants proposing a sunrise period. NCBA proposes a 6 month start up period during which NCBA active and associate members, as well as ICA members with voting rights, are allowed to register. NCBA estimates the sunrise period will account for 2% of all registrations in the .coop TLD. The WHO, on the other hand, proposes a 3 to 6 month sunrise period, but as discussed above, does not clearly define the parties who qualify for registration. ICFTU proposes a staggered registration period during which pre-approved registrants are afforded the first 2-month window, organizations given special priority will register in the next 3-month window and the remaining 3-month window is reserved for a yet-to-be-determined group.

Dispute Resolution Policy

All of the applicants propose to adopt the UDRP for dispute resolution. In addition, the WHO proposes to expand the scope of dispute resolution in the .health TLD based on information it receives from the World Intellectual Property Organization. NCBA provides for an additional internal review process allowing applicants or third parties to request reconsideration of a registration.

Third Party Intellectual Property Protections

None of the applicants propose or clearly define extensive new protections such as periodic sampling, publication of domain names before going live, periodic review or procedures and methods for third party challenges.

Whois Services

All the applicants would make some level of Whois service publicly available. ICFTU, NCBA and SITA will provide registry level Whois service. The WHO and MDMA will also provide registry level Whois service but would limit the available information based on the registrant's privacy concerns.

Measures Against Abusive Registrations

Applicants generally rely on TLD registration restrictions to curb abusive registration practices. MDMA specifically requires all designations be derived from the well-known names of the registrant's organization and will apply pre- and post-screening procedures. SITA proposes a limited pre-screening mechanism to assist in curbing abusive practices.

Given the restricted nature of the category, MDMA, ICFTU, NCBA and SITA generally propose adequate protections for the rights of third parties.

Other August 15 Criteria

Many of the August 15 Criteria applied to other types of proposed TLDs are less relevant to special-purpose TLDs. Their limited size and scope limits their potential impact on Internet stability and competition. The WHO's application states that the .health TLD will not restrict commercial use and at least potentially could have a very large group of targeted users. However, the WHO's application does not provide sufficient detail to meaningfully evaluate any effect on competition. The specializations of special-purpose TLDs are themselves relevant to proof of concept, demonstrating whether specialized TLDs are worthwhile. Their limited scope again limits any experimentation in changing the operation of naming in the Internet.


The evaluation team concluded that, subject to the limited qualifications noted above, the applications of these five applicants appear to be technically, financially sound in the context of their special-purpose limited objectives.

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