INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION
A. General Description of the Application
- TLD String(s) Requested.
General Purpose, Restricted Commercial.
The International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) requests the .travel TLD which targets a restricted registrant base (travel supplies), large end user base and focuses primarily on commercial uses. As such, IATA qualifies for the general purpose category, restricted commercial group.
- Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
IATA, founded in 1919, is a not-for-profit association whose membership includes 275 airlines based in 143 different countries and territories which collectively account for 95% of the world's scheduled international air traffic. Among IATA customers are 90,000 IATA accredited and endorsed travel agents located in 209 countries and operators of other modes of travel and operators of travel related services. The mission of IATA as stated in its Articles of Association include: (1) the promotion of safe, reliable and secure air services for the benefit of the peoples of the world, (2) the provision of means of collaboration among airlines engaged directly or indirectly in international air transportation, and (3) the cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization and other relevant international organizations. Some of the services currently provided by IATA include: (1) assigning airport codes (e.g., LAX for Los Angeles), (2) assigning airline designator codes, and (3) developing standards for accreditation and endorsement of travel agencies. In order to be issued a .travel TLD, an applicant must, among other criteria, be in compliance with local business practices, be identifiable as a supplier/distributor/reseller of travel services and have any applicable government licenses and/or evidence of business registration.
b. Registry Operator.
JVTeam, LLC ("JVTeam") is a newly formed, limited liability company, organized under the laws of the state of Delaware, created to function as a registry. JVTeam's parent companies are NeuStar, Inc. ("NeuStar") and Melbourne IT Ltd. ("Melbourne"). Melbourne was founded in 1996 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Melbourne. In 1999 Melbourne became a publicly traded company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Melbourne's products and services include: (a) domain name registration, maintenance and related service and products, (b) advanced telecommunications services and products, (c) an incubator program and (d) research and development. Melbourne’s principal place of business is Melbourne, Australia. NeuStar, a Delaware Corporation, was originally founded in 1996 as an independent communications industry services business unit within Lockheed Martin. NeuStar designed, built and continues to manage one of the largest databases in the world and now serves as the North American Numbering Plan Administrator. It operates the telephone numbering registry for the North American Numbering Pan as a Public numbering resource. NeuStar is also the Local Number Portability Administrator for the US and Canada, operating the routing registry, the Number Portability Administration Center Service Management System for North America. NeuStar’s principal place of business is in Washington, D.C.
- Registry-Registrar Model.
IATA intends that domain name holders will deal with registrar’s exclusively. IATA does not intend to restrict the number of qualifying registrants and applying registrars must be ICANN accredited registrars and meet certain other specified requirements.
B. Technical Review
- Summary Description of Proposal.
This TLD will be restricted to businesses associated with the travel industry. The applicant claims that travel is the largest segment of the .com TLD.
- Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
a. Total Capacity.
The business plan assumes that several million names will be registered. Capacity is based on a distributed server system modeled after previous experience with providing data base services for the North American Numbering Plan and telephone customer/provider assignment. The build plan is based on providing six times the projected steady state load.
b. Projected Growth Rate.
Growth rates are based on surveys and models driven by the survey results. Estimated rate is about one million names per year. Resource requirements are projected to be about half that of the JVTeam’s similar proposal for .per and .web.
c. Startup Period.
Special provisions to process registrar requests in bulk during a startup period. Bulk processing used to provide fairness to registrars. This scheme will effectively select names for registration randomly from registrars. The new registry protocol (XPL) would not be used until after the start-up phase. There will be a pre-registration period where trademark holders may provisionally claim names related to their trademarks.
d. Fault Tolerance.
Fault tolerance based on using redundancy. Physical redundancy based on using two or more geographically isolated sites. Communications between sites are duplicated and systems within each site are duplicated. Provisions include capability to maintain system operation and performance even with the complete loss of one site.
Geographical redundancy based on two registry sites and possibly two additional name server sites. Two of the required sites are already in existence and operating in essentially the same manner as the proposed registry and name server sites.
The two data centers will cross-replicate critical databases in real time. In addition, conventional off-site back up will be used. System will use automated tracking of component status with the intention of detecting problems before they occur.
Based on using end-to-end encryption techniques of off-the-shelf and proprietary origin. Appears to use current techniques for both physical and transactional security. Billing and collection system is based on password protection, rather than more advanced techniques.
- Summary of Relevant Experience.
Relevant experienced based on NeuStar experience in operating a registry-like service related to numbering and tracking in the telephone industry. Melbourne IT has experience in operating a registry for .com names in Australia. Experience includes the operation of large, reliable databases and of providing and supporting registry services.
- Apparent Implementation Risks.
Implementation will involve a joint effort between technical teams located in the US and Australia. Teams have somewhat complementary backgrounds. Use of a new registry protocol (XML) will require close work between the TLD provider and the registrars.
- Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
Response to anomalies is based on prior experience in supporting large databases and large name registry operations. Experience includes releasing and tracking changes to large software systems.
- Advancing the State of the Art.
The core of the proposal depends upon the use of a new registry protocol (XPL) that would provide a distributed gTLD registry capability. The new registry protocol would be open and would be migrated to standard status. Proposal envisions the addition of many more gTLDs in the near future.
Registrars would be able to include additional information business information in the registration record that would be made available to the public. This might be used to facilitate compilation of service directories.
According to the proposal, for example, the registry data would be arbitrarily extensible by the registrars. This allows them to off load data storage and some integrity requirements to the registry. The basic implementation plan is to make the registry services more robust and the registrar services simpler.
The plan envisions fast update to zone files and Whois database, using the XML and high-performance server architecture. Proposal claims to significantly reduce domain-name update time from stated current time of 24-48 hours to less than one hour. Process is based on sending smaller zone file updates more frequently to the name servers using a “diff” approach.
Proposed TLD would be similar to .com except that it would be restricted to business use only. Market research is provided to indicate that .biz would be a useful alternative to .com. Predicted demand is based on a model driven by survey results.
Proposal envisions that the registry will contain the Whois database, but that the individual registrars will provide the front-end for access to the database so that they can “brand” it. Approach is based on an XML defined approach that would become a standard. The registrars would be capable of adding additional information to the Whois data base (possibly for a fee).
- Other Comments.
The proposal depends upon maintaining name translation table in RAM at each server. Although large, the size is manageable. It is assumed that only the basic translation table would be in this table. This mechanism is part of the efficiency basis of proposed scheme.
Planned pre-registration mechanism to allow reservation of names with intellectual property implications. The technique allows interested parties the option of demarcating their potential intellectual property and then receiving notification of potential conflicts. Given the personal nature of the .per domain trademark issues should not be too severe. Effort required in this area is not definitively sized. This approach is based on notification rather than on outright reservation by a potential intellectual property holder, thus placing the responsibility for defending the intellectual property on the property owner.
Registry will build a special laboratory to act as a test bed for registrars and the extended registration protocol. It is unclear how registrars will carry out their mandate to make sure that names reserved are reasonably related to the individual. From a non-technical standpoint IATA has had experience in allocating scarce naming resources between its members.
C. Business Review
- Applicant’s Representations.
IATA is a not-for-profit association in the global travel industry who is proposing a restricted TLD available only to businesses in a position to establish their legitimacy as reputable providers of travel-related products, services and information. IATA currently employs over 1,700 staff.
The operator is the JV Team LLC formed by Melbourne and NeuStar. Melbourne offers domain name registration and maintenance, advanced telecommunications, incubator program, and research and development. In 1996 Melbourne became the delegated administrator of the com.au domain space and in 1999 was selected to be one of the five test-bed registrars for the introduction of competition in the .com, .net, and .org domain space. NeuStar offers regulated services and deregulated commercial services. NeuStar operates the telephone numbering registry for the North American Numbering Plan and serves as the Local Number Portability Administrator. The JV Team can draw upon 353 people, 238 of those are actively engaged in technical disciplines.
The revenue model will be based upon a cost recovery model. Any surpluses that may arise will be reinvested into Internet initiatives aimed at improving the service, supporting the implementation and promotion of new Internet best practices and, importantly in helping bridge the digital divide. The proposed plan will be to charge a one-time accreditation fee of $500 for global applicants and $100 for domestic applicants. In addition, IATA will administer a yearly subscription fee of $500 and $300 per year for global subscriptions in year one and four, respectively. For domestic subscriptions, there will be a yearly subscription fee of $100 and $50 in years one and four, respectively.
- ICANN’s Evaluation.
The strengths of this application lie in its focus on a particular target segment and a strong understanding of its target market. The weakness of this application lies in the potential lack of an unmet need. The application states that there is a great deal of uncertainty and mistrust on the part of the consumer and there is a need to provide a level of quality and credibility. However, the application then outlines the growth the on-line travel sector has experienced over the past several years. This apparent conflict may not meet the requirements of factor five. Overall, this application could lead to a successful new TLD given its limited scope and focus.
D. Summary of Public Comments
- Number of Comments.
- Support for the Application.
IATA would help screen out disreputable travel websites.
IATA has a track record of service to the travel industry.
The IATA name would add a meaningful stamp of approval on certain websites.
- Opposition to Application.
IATA is too beholden to the airline industry.
.travel is too broad to be granted to an organization (IATA) that is exclusively involved in air travel – as one comment put it, this would be like giving .health to the American Pharmaceutical Association.
IATA would attempt to milk travel as a revenue stream.
IATA would not be impartial and would award the best domain names to its members.