Questions to and Answers from Applicant for .web

ICANN Questions:

ICANN is in the process of reviewing Image Online's TLD Application. As outlined in the October 23, 2000 TLD Application Review Update which appears at http://www.icann.org/tlds/tld-review-update-23oct00.htm, ICANN may "gather the additional information [it] require[s] by posing specific questions to applicants in e-mail and requesting a written response."

Keeping in mind the goal to evaluate applications to operate or sponsor new TLDs in as open and transparent a manner as possible, both the questions posed by ICANN and the Applicant's responses will be publicly disclosed on the ICANN website.

Accordingly, ICANN requests your reponses to the following questions:

1. Identify and summarize Applicant's assumptions with respect to the existence of other general purpose TLDs in determining the total number of registrations in your application.

2. State in detail your position as it relates to possible legal claims by certain applicants and/or non-applicant third parties based on alleged trademark, patent or other violations of purported rights in the TLD identified in your application.

3. If you receive a new TLD, state whether you will indemnify ICANN for claims arising from legal challenges regarding your right to operate the new TLD. If you will indemnify ICANN, identify and describe in detail the resources you propose to utilize for the indemnification.

4. Identify and describe in detail your estimated Whois service availability.

5. dentify and describe in detail the Whois service level to which you are willing to contractually commit.

6. Identify and describe in detail when you will provide access to ICANN accredited registrars.

7. Identify and describe in detail your projected level of Whois query traffic.

8. Identify and describe in detail whether you will provide bulk Whois access.

9. Identify and describe in detail the projected query traffic level to the Whois function to which you are willing to contractually commit.

NOTE: It is ICANN's assumption, from your application, that Image Online does not intend to support independent registrars, at least for the first year of operation. If this is in fact the case, then part or all of questions 10, 11, and 13 may not apply.

10. Assuming you receive a new TLD, identify and describe in detail the timetable for the availability of the following services:

a. registrar test-bed (may not apply);
b. sunrise period;
c. full operation; and
d. full access by accredited registrars (may not apply).

11. Identify the service availability timetable to which you are willing to contractually commit for the following:

a. registrar test-bed (may not apply);
b. sunrise period;
c. full operation; and
d. full access by accredited registrars (may not apply).

12. Assuming your primary site experiences a catastrophic failure, identify and describe in detail the timetable required to restore:

a. partial SRS service; and
b. full SRS service.

13. Identify whether you will provide a test-bed for registrars to validate their protocol software.

Image Online Responses:

1. Image Online Design has given careful consideration to the required assumptions in our application. The analysis included, among many other assumptions, the existence of other general purpose TLDs (hereinafter "gTLDs"). The financial calculations presented in the application reflect this consideration and provide the requested detail. I point your attention to our the following sections of the Image Online Design application, available generally at http://www.icann.org/tlds/web1/index2.html:

Attachment D13_3_A, pages 64 - 72, titled "Steady State Registrations" details the requested information. Available at http://www.icann.org/tlds/web1/application/d13.3_a.pdf at 64 - 72. The assumptions of other TLDs are expressly specified and include data pertaining to the number of other gTLDs assumed, and more specifically which other gTLDs in the initial one year period. This data is detailed by quarters for the first 5 years of operation. Further, the projected impact other gTLDs will have on Image Online Design's .Web registry market share is expressly specified. This data is also detailed by quarters for the first 5 years of operation. All assumptions are provided using quarterly detail for the 90%, 50% and 10% confidence levels.

In addition to reflecting these assumptions in our financial projections, the assumptions were addressed within section D13.2.14, titled, "Business risks and opportunities," available at http://www.icann.org/tlds/web1/application/d12-d13.htm#d13.2.14. The section reads, in pertinent part:

"Image Online Design faces risk of dependence upon the competitive domain registry and registrar market - this may have an effect on market share. Additionally, the business market for .Web is competitive, evolving and subject to rapid technological change. Intensity of competition is likely to increase in the future as additional top-level domain names are added to the root server and Image Online Design opens the registry to competing registrars. Increased competition from new competitors is likely to result in loss of market share, which could negatively impact our business. Competitors vary in size, and in the scope and breadth of the products and services offered. Image Online Design will encounter registry competition from Network Solutions and the yet-to-be named parties who will administer new top-level domain names."

2. A detailed analysis of possible legal claims, and more specifically a detailed analysis of the merits of those possible legal claims, cannot be preformed until the appropriate facts of any possible legal claims are known. If ICANN can identify in more detail the possible opposing party, or the possible legal claims, we may be able to provide a detailed analysis. Image Online Design (hereinafter "IOD"), however, will not speculate about possible future events, nor are we able to provide a detailed legal analysis about possible or hypothetical legal claims without the necessary facts of those claims.

Perhaps, in light of the open and transparent manner in which ICANN is conducting this review, the following general statement may suffice: First, with respect to "certain applicants," we are not aware of any other applicant applying to operate a registry using the .Web TLD string with superior intellectual property or other rights to IOD's rights. Further we are not aware of any other applicant asserting, either publically or privately, that they have superior intellectual property or other rights to IOD's rights with respect to operating a registry for the .Web TLD string. In this regard, IOD has been operating its registry for the .Web TLD string almost five years, and IOD has established tremendous goodwill in the marketplace associated with the services it provides. This goodwill is evidenced by the literally thousands of letters expressing strong support for IOD's application posted to the ICANN message board, and by the over twenty thousand (20,000) registrations from one hundred seven (107) countries. This goodwill has been associated by domain name registrants with IOD's use of .Web.

As for the legal claims by "non-applicant third parties," we are only aware of those parties from whom correspondence has been received and posted on the ICANN web site, available at http://www.icann.org/tlds/correspondence/. As of this date, and based on the limited information available, it is our opinion that none of those parties has any superior rights to operate a registry for the .Web TLD string than IOD.

3. Image Online Design would consider indemnifying ICANN for certain types of claims which may arise from legal challenges regarding IOD's right to operate a registry specifically for the .Web TLD string. However, any indemnification by IOD, or any party, cannot provide ICANN needed protection from injunctive relief, which might block, delay, or even derail the rollout of new TLDs, should a TLD be the subject of legal challenges.

Financial resources have been allocated for legal service, and would be applied, as necessary, to meet any such obligations. Attachment D13_3_A, pages 7-11, 23-26, 37-41, titled "Statements of Operation" of our application details the financial resources allocated for legal services in our projections. Available at http://www.icann.org/tlds/web1/application/d13.3_a.pdf at pages 7-11, 23-26, 37-41. Where possible ICANN can, and should, strive to reduce potential legal liability by selecting those applications from qualified proponents with existing legal rights in proposed TLDs.

4. Image Online Design will provide Whois service, both via the traditional port 43 interface as well as a web-based Whois. The web-based Whois is available for review at this time, as it has been for the past four years, at http://webtld.com. Our Whois system, as described in section D15.2.8 of our application, is an integral part of our registry operation and is available for use at all times.

5. Our written proposal provides that, among other obligations, Image Online Design will provide a Whois service to support the .Web registry. It is expected that this obligation would follow from any agreement to operate the .Web registry, and also last the duration of the agreement.

6. Image Online Design has already begun work on an implementation of the Registry-Registrar Protocol (RRP) and had expected to take up to 6 months to complete development prior to a testbed period. However, public comments to the ICANN message board suggest consensus. Specifically, that the period when external registrars are unable to process .Web registrations be as short as possible. Therefore, Image Online Design has accellerated development of its RRP implementation, and expects to begin a testbed within 30 to 60 days after entry into the root servers.

7. It is extremely difficult to forecast the amount of Whois traffic that the registry will receive due to the fact that the introduction of new TLDs will be a unique occurance, and abnormally high numbers of Internet users will be searching out new domain names, if simply out of curiousity.

The latest monthly report from Network Solutions (August, 2000) shows a peak of 28.3 million transactions per day in June, 2000, the vast majority (over 95%) being queries.

As described in section D15.2.10, peak capacities for the registry were calculated based on registrations, which require write functions to the database. This metric was used as "writes" are the most time and resource intensive operations. These actions require, as a part of their full process, at least 3 reads identical to a Whois query. As outlined, each machine in our cluster is capable of handling 168,000 registrations per day. When considering simple Whois lookups as opposed to actual full registrations, it is not unreasonable to assign a 20-to-1 multiplier to calculate the load. This means that each machine is capable of handling approximately 3.36 million queries per day. Across the initial 16 machines in the primary registry cluster, this equates to 53.76 million queries per day, which is vastly beyond any anticipated levels. Additionally, it is expected that if Whois traffic were to impact the performance of the registry system as a whole, Image Online Design would install additional database servers dedicated to the task of serving Whois requests. We do not anticipate the need for this step, but are prepared nevertheless.

8. Image Online Design takes a strong stance in protecting the privacy concerns of our customers. However, there are legitimate applications for bulk Whois data access, such as stability and monitoring of trademark rights. Therefore, Image Online Design will offer limited bulk Whois data access to those with legitimate applications, provided adequate protection of our customer's privacy is ensured.

9. As in the answer to question number 2, Image Online Design expects to contractually commit to all aspects of our written proposal, including all traffic levels as they relate to availability of service.

Image Online Response to NOTE: The issue of supporting registrars is material to the evaluation process. Accordingly, please post the following comment, which is responsive to ICANN's note above.

This assumption is not correct. Image Online Design intends to support ICANN-accredited registrars. Further, details regarding registrar support is provided below.


a. As outlined in our answer to #6, Image Online Design has accellerated development and testing, and will provide a testbed approximately 30 to 60 days after entry into the root servers.

b. Image Online Design will not be providing a sunrise period. As outlined in section E5.1, we will, however, be providing a "phase-in" period in which we propose to give trademark holders preemptive rights to challenge existing .web registrations. The "phase-in" plan is detailed in our application in section E5.1 of the TLD policies, available at http://www.icann.org/tlds/web1/application/e1-e32.htm.

c. Image Online Design is currently in full operation and is prepared, now, for addition to the root servers.

d. The length of the test-bed has not yet been determined, and depends on the results of the testing. We anticipate that 3 to 4 months is a reasonable time frame for thorough testing.

11. Image Online Design is willing to contractually commit to a timetable for full operation immediately, and a registrar test-bed and full access as described in the answers to questions 6 and 10. There is no sunrise period planned.

12. As described in section D15.2.12, our zone is serviced by UltraDNS, which has distributed their system such that catastrophic failures are not possible.The catastrophic failure of any number of facilities will not impede the functioning of the zone.

As described in section D15.2.13, hot spares (extra hardware that is formatted and initialized for use) are kept in the data center for the occurrence of hardware failure. In the case of catastrophic failure of the data center itself, the duplicate data center will take over operations while repairs or relocation occurs. A catastrophic failure of the primary site would require that the backup site take over functionality for the registry. We anticipate that full service would be restored within 30 to 60 minutes, the time it would take to bring the backup facility on line (with on-site and on-call personnel), and change DNS routing in the .Web zone (maintained by UltraDNS).

13. Yes. Please see the answer to questions 6 & 10.

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