Description of TLD Policies
[INSTRUCTION: For sponsored TLDs, this part of the application is to be completed by the sponsoring organization. For unsponsored TLDs, the registry operator should complete this part of the application. Please refer to the Detailed Application Instructions for more information on the requirements for new TLD applications.
The operation of a TLD involves the implementation of policies on a very large number of topics. Applicants are urged to use their response to this part of the application to demonstrate their detailed knowledge of what topics are involved and their careful analysis and clear articulation of the policies they propose on these topics.
Please place the legend "CONFIDENTIAL" on any part of your description that you have listed in itemF3.1 of your Statement of Requested Confidential Treatment of Materials Submitted.
Section III of this application applies only to applicants for restricted TLDs. Ordinarily, restricted TLDs should be sponsored.]
I. GENERAL TLD POLICIES (Required for all TLDs. Note that two special policy areas--policies during the start-up period and restrictions on who may register within the TLD and for what purpose--are covered in sections II and III below.)
E1. In General. Please provide a full and detailed description of all policies to be followed in the TLD (other than those covered in response to items E11-E21). If the TLD's policy on a particular topic is proposed to be identical to that reflected by a particular version of any of the following documents, it is sufficient for your response to identify the topic, to give a brief summary of the policy, and for the details to reference the document and section:
Your response should comprehensively describe policies on all topics to be followed in connection with the proposed TLD. The following items (E2-E10) are examples only and should not limit your description.
NCBA, with the endorsement of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) (please see letter of endorsement attached to Sponsor Application), proposes to sponsor the new restricted .co-op TLD to more clearly delineate in the electronic marketplace those enterprises and organizations which operate according to co-operative principles. This document proposes that NCBA, and, over time, other well-established and internationally recognized country-specific co-operative associations will determine the eligibility of applicants within the proposed .co-op TLD.
The attached proposal includes Poptel, a worker-owned and controlled co-operative Internet Service Provider in the UK, as the registry operator that will administer all technical functions associated with the new TLD and that will work with NCBA to select other registrars following the six-month start-up period.
NCBA, ICA and Poptel are part of a larger international co-operative community dedicated to improving the well being of people throughout the world through development of bona fide co-operative efforts. These organizations are making this proposal to further their co-operative mission by allowing co-operatives to identify and distinguish themselves in the electronic marketplace. Providing the means for co-operatives -- enterprises that differ significantly from both for-profit and non-profit organizations -- to compete in the global electronic marketplace is critical to the long-term success of co-operative enterprise.
E2. TLD String. Please identify the TLD string(s) you are proposing. For format requirements for TLD strings, see the answer to FAQ #5.
NCBA is seeking to sponsor a restricted TLD of .co-op/coop. We are seeking both strings. "Co-op" is recognized as an abbreviation for co-operatives across all industries of co-operatives in all countries. However, we recognize that many people prefer to omit hyphens from domain names. In addition, we want to ensure appropriate pronunciation through communications should .coop become the preferred designation, i.e., not to be pronounced as in "chicken coop".
Domain names need to contain 2 to 19/59 alpha-numeric characters per name, (a…z, 0…9) with a given maximum length of 24/64 characters including .co-op. The only special character allowed is the hyphen (-), but not as the first or last character.
Multilingual domain name registrations will be considered contingent upon review of the success of the launch of multilingual domain names within the TLDs .com, .net., and .org.
E3. Naming conventions. Describe the naming conventions and structure within the TLD. E.g., will registrants have names registered at the second level (directly under the TLD, as in registered-name.com), or will the TLD be organized with sub-domains so that registered domain names are created at a lower level (as in registered-name.travel.com)?
During the start-up period (described in E12), registrants will only be able to register at the second level and will only be able to register their legal name or a reasonable abbreviation of that. Please see section E13 for more description.
During the second phase, we would consider introducing a limited number of reserved second level domains that are industry specific. For example, these could include, housing, consumer, credit union, purchasing, utility, agriculture, association, and worker-owned. These would be reserved. Reserved strings will also include two letter country specific codes. Based on our experience during the start-up period, we will also consider whether domain names other than an applicant’s legal name or a reasonable abbreviation of that will be allowed.
During the third phase, additional sub-domains would be considered. These could include the following: advertising, bank, bargaining, bartering, bookstore, cafe, childcare, communications, consultants, CooperationWorks, craft electric, employee-owned, farm-credit, farmer, farmer-association, federated, federation, finance, financial-service, fishery, food, forestry, funeral, grocery, hardware, health-care, insurance, internet, legal-service, manufacturing, marketing, memorial-societies, mutual-societies, new-generation, nursery-school, organic, phone, preschool, producer, recreation, rural-electric, school, senior, senior-housing, senior-services, student, supply, teacher, telecommunications, telephone, utility, value-added, worker, worker-owned, etc.
E4. Registrars. Describe in detail the policies for selection of, and competition among, registrars. Will domain-name holders deal through registrars, directly with the registry operator, or some combination of the two? What are the respective roles, functions, and responsibilities for the registry operator and registrars? If registrars are to be employed, how and by whom will they be selected or accredited? If the number of registrars will be restricted, what number of registrars will be selected? Have the qualifying registrars already been selected? On what basis will selections among those seeking to be registrars be made, and who will make them? If registrars are to be used, what mechanisms will be used to ensure that TLD policies are implemented?
Domain Name Holders
During the start-up period, domain name holders will directly deal with the Registry Operator, Poptel.
Registry Operators Roles and Responsibilities
Its role and responsibilities will to be to maintain the "whois" service for the public as well as for the other registrars. Poptel will provide a shared registration system for all accredited registrars as cited in C18.2. Please also see C18.2 for additional responsibilities.
During the start-up period (six months), the registry operator, Poptel, will be the sole registrar. After the start-up period, other organizations will be able to apply to become registrars to enhance competition. The number of registrars will not be limited. An organization applying to be a Registrar in the .co-op TLD will need to first be accredited by ICANN and enter a Registrar Accreditation Agreement with ICAAN. After that, the organization also must meet the criteria of the NCBA for registrars. Preference will be given to those organizations that ascribe to the ICA principles, maintain ethical business practices and are socially responsible. NCBA and Poptel will develop a Registrar License and Agreement similar to the NSI-Registrar License and Agreement. Once an organization applying to be a Registrar has been accredited by ICANN and approved by NCBA and has entered the Registrar Accreditation Agreement and the Registrar License and Agreement, it can begin operations.
For example, one potential registrar has been located, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), in the U.S. NRTC is a telecommunications co-operative, owned and controlled by its 1,000 rural utility co-operative members. These members provide electric or telephone service to 15 million rural households in the United States.
Designation of International Affiliates during the Start-Up Period
During the start-up period, NCBA and ICA will work together to designate other national co-operative membership organizations across the globe that both are willing and able to serve as an affiliates in determining eligibility of applicants from their countries for the .co-op TLD . A key factor in that determination is whether the potential affiliate has the capacity and infrastructure to assess eligibility of TLD applicants from their country. ICA represents more than 200 co-operative organizations from more than 100 countries. Many of these ICA members are associations of country-specific or industry-specific co-operatives that have in place bylaws designating bona fide co-operatives and would likely be capable of evaluating eligibility of TLD applications. After the start-up period, applicants for domain names in the .co-op TLD from specific countries would have their applications reviewed by the country-specific affiliate.
E5.1. What measures will be taken to discourage registration of domain names that infringe intellectual property rights?
One measure to discourage registration of domain names that infringe the intellectual property rights of others will be to require the applicants to enter a service agreement with their Registrar. The service agreement will utilize the UDRP, Section 2 and will require applicants to certify that:
In addition, all registrars will be required to adopt the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.
E5.2. If you are proposing pre-screening for potentially infringing registrations, how will the pre-screening be performed?
There will be no pre-screening of registrations, except as described in Section III below. Applicants will have the responsibility to determine whether their domain name registration infringes or violates someone else's rights.
E5.3. What registration practices will be employed to minimize abusive registrations?
The restrictions on approval of registration described in Section III below and the policies discussed in Section E5.1 above will guard against abusive registrations.
E5.4. What measures do you propose to comply with applicable trademark and anti-cybersquatting legislation?
All registrars will adopt the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy. To the extent any country’s laws provide other rights or remedies, registrars will be required to comply with a court order to cancel or transfer a domain name from the court.
E5.5. Are you proposing any special protections (other than during the start-up period) for famous trademarks?
E5.6. How will complete, up-to-date, reliable, and conveniently provided Whois data be maintained, updated, and accessed concerning registrations in the TLD?
The registry operator will provide "Whois" service on its website and all registrars will be required to regularly update such information as ICANN-accredited registrars in the .com, .net and .org domain names do now.
E6. Dispute Resolution. Describe the policies for domain name and other dispute resolution. If you are proposing variations to the policies followed in .com, .net, and .org, consider the following questions:
E6.1. To what extent are you proposing to implement the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy?
All registrars will be required to adopt the UDRP.
E6.2. Please describe any additional, alternative, or supplemental dispute resolution procedures you are proposing.
For disputes concerning the review and acceptance or rejection of domain name registrations by NCBA or any later-approved affiliate, NCBA and any later-approved affiliate will each set up an internal review process by which an applicant or a third party can request reconsideration from the organization that accepted or rejected the application. Such review process will involve review by someone other than the person(s) who made the initial decision. The decision from such review will be final and unappealable.
E7. Data Privacy, Escrow, and Whois. Describe the proposed policies on data privacy, escrow and Whois service.
Registry operator to answer this.
E8. Billing and Collection. Describe variations in or additions to the policies for billing and collection.
Registry operator to answer this.
E9. Services and Pricing. What registration services do you propose to establish charges for and, for each such service, how much do you propose to charge?
The proposed price to registrars for new and renewal SLD registrations and for transferring an SLD from one registrant to another is $60 for the first 2 years’ registration and thereafter $50 each 2 years. The initial fee includes $50 for the registry operator and $10 for NCBA to process the application. Where the application is not from a member of an approved organization or the application requires some other special attention (see E17 and E18) then NCBA may charge a special fee of $100 instead of the $10 to process the application and this will be reflected in the end-user price.
These prices may be increased by agreement between Poptel, NCBA and ICANN to reflect demonstrated increases in the net costs of operating the registry and processing applications.
The proposed price which registrars will be recommended to charge shall be $160 for the first 2 years’ registration and thereafter $150 each two years. This is the proposed price to be charged by Poptel during the start-up period. It does not include the special $100 fee charged by NCBA for applications requiring special attention. (Please see the Heads of Terms document submitted by Poptel in answer to C18.2).
E10. Other. Please describe any policies concerning topics not covered by the above questions.
Registry operator to answer this.
II. REGISTRATION POLICIES DURING THE START-UP PERIOD (Required for all TLDs)
E11. In this section, you should thoroughly describe all policies (including implementation details) that you propose to follow during the start-up phase of registrations in the TLD, to the extent they differ from the General TLD Policies covered in items E1-E9. The following questions highlight some of the areas that should be considered for start-up policies:
E12. How do you propose to address the potential rush for registration at the initial opening of the TLD? How many requested registrations do you project will be received by the registry operator within the first day, week, month, and quarter? What period do you believe should be considered the TLD's "start-up period," during which special procedures should apply?
Because the primary driver for the new TLD .co-op is the need for bona fide co-operatives to clearly identify and distinguish themselves in the electronic marketplace, registration eligibility will be based on an applicant's compliance with established NCBA and ICA criteria for designation as a co-operative. (See Section III) However, during the start-up period (the first six months), eligibility will be restricted to a subset of NCBA and ICA members. In addition, that subset will only be allowed to register a domain name which is a match or is an acceptable abbreviation of their legal name.
NCBA has three classes of membership: active members, individual members and associate members. Two of those classes – active members and associate members -- include bona fide co-operatives. Active NCBA members are U.S. businesses that operate according to the co-operative principles established under Article 1.3 of NCBA bylaws (attached). Active members may also include subsidiaries, joint ventures, related entities of such businesses and associations serving legitimate, co-operatively organized businesses. Associate NCBA members include non-U.S. co-operatives as well as U.S. non-co-operatives.
Similarly, the ICA requires its members to meet comparable co-operative principles. Members not meeting the principles may be admitted to ICA as members without voting rights.
To relieve the initial burden on NCBA, NCBA proposes a six-month start-up period in which the only applications accepted for the .co-op TLD are those submitted by a subset of NCBA and ICA members. Specifically, eligible applications during the start-up period include only those from NCBA active members and their members (for NCBA members that are associations of industry-specific co-operatives), NCBA associate members that are designated as non-U.S. co-operatives, and ICA members that have voting rights.
We propose this initial limited eligibility because these applicants have already met the core co-operative principles required for NCBA and ICA membership, and thus are clearly eligible for designation as a co-operative in the global electronic marketplace.
NCBA anticipates that this start-up policy would result in the registration of no fewer than 10,000 within TLD .co-op during the first six months. NCBA estimates that this number represents about two percent of all potentially eligible co-operatives worldwide.
E13. Do you propose to place limits on the number of registrations per registrant? Per registrar? If so, how will these limits be implemented?
During the start-up period as described in E12, we will limit registrations per registrant to 6. These 6 registrations will an applicant’s legal name and reasonable abbreviations of that name. Registrants will be required to justify additional registrations.
E14. Will pricing mechanisms be used to dampen a rush for registration at the initial opening of the TLD? If so, please describe these mechanisms in detail.
E15. Will you offer any "sunrise period" in which certain potential registrants are offered the opportunity to register before registration is open to the general public? If so, to whom will this opportunity be offered (those with famous marks, registered trademarks, second-level domains in other TLDs, pre-registrations of some sort, etc.)? How will you implement this?
NCBA's sunrise period will be our proposed start-up period. At this time, only registrants mentioned in answer E12 will be able to register.
III. REGISTRATION RESTRICTIONS (Required for restricted TLDs only)
E16. As noted in the New TLD Application Process Overview, a restricted TLD is one with enforced restrictions on (1) who may apply for a registration within the domain, (2) what uses may be made of those registrations, or (3) both. In this section, please describe in detail the restrictions you propose to apply to the TLD. Your description should define the criteria to be employed, the manner in which you propose they be enforced, and the consequences of violation of the restrictions. Examples of matters that should be addressed are:
E17. Describe in detail the criteria for registration in the TLD. Provide a full explanation of the reasoning behind the specific policies chosen.
Applicants for the restricted .co-op TLD must operate their businesses in compliance with the established and accepted co-operative principles contained in Article 1.3 of NCBA's bylaws and ICA's constitution, or they must represent a group of organizations/businesses that comply with these principles.
The following are the core co-operative principles contained in NCBA's by-laws and ICA's constitution:
NCBA and ICA will rely on compliance with these co-operative principles established in their bylaws and constitution to determine applicant eligibility for registration within the .co-op TLD. NCBA and ICA have more than 185 years of combined experience in determining whether applicants meet these criteria for membership in their respective organizations and easily will be able to evaluate whether applicants for the .co-op TLD meet them.
Organizations and businesses that apply for the .co-op TLD need not be members of NCBA, ICA or any other co-operative association to be eligible for the TLD, as long as they meet these co-operative principles after the start-up period.
To determine compliance with these co-operative principles, the registry operator and any approved registrars as described in E4 must require all applicants to submit, electronically, as part of their application, the governing documents of the organization including bylaws, board policies, incorporation documents in relevant legal jurisdiction (if any), and a membership agreement. From these materials, NCBA and approved affiliates will be able to determine if the applicant is operating according to the above co-operative principles.
Additional materials which must accompany the application electronically include:
Applicants will also be asked to post these documents on their website.
E18. Describe the application process for potential registrants in the TLD.
Via the website, applicants will send all application materials to the registry operator Poptel during the start-up period or to other registrars approved after the start-up period. During the start-up period, applicants that were members of NCBA and ICA at the time of the launch of the new TLD registration services, or, that became members during the start-up period need not submit governance documents to Poptel since those documents have already been reviewed by either ICA or NCBA as a condition of membership. Instead, NCBA will coordinate with Poptel on eligible members during the start-up period.
After the start-up period, the registrars will be required to submit, electronically, certification of all governing documents to either NCBA for applicants within the U.S., to ICA for international applicants or to approved and relevant affiliates (See Section II for process for designating affiliates.) For applications submitted by an entity operating in a country without an approved affiliate, registrars shall forward governing documents electronically to NCBA for evaluation. A separate process and fee shall be established for applicants that are unable to submit materials electronically.
NCBA, ICA, and approved affiliates will evaluate the governing documents for compliance with co-operative principles and notify the registrar of the approval or denial of the applicant's eligibility and the reasons for denial, if any. The registrar shall be responsible for notifying the applicant of a denial decision and shall forward the reasons for the denial.
E19. Describe the enforcement procedures and mechanisms for ensuring registrants meet the registration requirements.
Please see answer to E17.
E20. Describe any appeal process from denial of registration.
For disputes concerning the review and acceptance or rejection of domain name registrations by NCBA, ICA or any later-approved affiliate, NCBA, ICA and any later-approved affiliate will each set up an internal review process by which an applicant or a third party can request reconsideration from the organization that accepted or rejected the application. Such review process will involve review by someone other than the person(s) who made the initial decision. The decision from such review will be final and unappealable.
To enhance transparency, all materials submitted for the review as well as the outcome of the review process shall be posted on the .co-op TLD website.
E21. Describe any procedure that permits third parties to seek cancellation of a TLD registration for failure to comply with restrictions.
It is NCBA ‘s intent that third-party petitions for cancellation of a registration will be minimized by the rigorous evaluation of governing documents of TLD applicants. Disputes concerning the cancellation of a TLD registration for failure to comply with restrictions will be handled under the same review process outlined in Section E20 above.
IV. CONTEXT OF THE TLD WITHIN THE DNS (Required for all TLDs)
E22. This section is intended to allow you to describe the benefits of the TLD and the reasons why it would benefit the global Internet community or some segment of that community. Issues you might consider addressing include:
E23. What will distinguish the TLD from existing or other proposed TLDs? How will this distinction be beneficial?
As noted previously, co-operatives possess unique characteristics that empower members and potential members, economically as well as politically. Combined with the power of the Internet, co-operatives can be a unique and powerful tool to further enable individuals to participate effectively in the global economy.
Establishment of co-op TLD will recognize the 4th sector of the global economy. Co-operatives are not government agencies and, therefore, do not fall into the .gov TLD. Because co-operatives do not seek to maximize profits for investors, the .com TLD is not appropriate. However, because co-operatives are businesses that generate surplus income that is later returned to their member-owners, the .org TLD is similarly inappropriate.
In addition to appropriate recognition of the Co-operative Sector in Internet commerce, it is critical that the Internet enables the general public to identify and conduct business with co-operatives. Consumers have identified "co-operatives as businesses that people trust" in survey and focus groups. In an increasingly complex and global economy made available through the Internet, establishment of the .co-op TLD will not only reflect the consumers’ desire for this choice but also enable them to find co-operatives.
The .co-op TLD would:
E24. What community and/or market will be served or targeted by this TLD? To what extent is that community or market already served by the DNS?
Co-operatives, members, potential members and co-operative associations will be served by this TLD. Currently, this community can and does use the Internet, yet, there is no way for them to distinguish between co-operatives and other traditional forms of business within the existing domain name system. This TLD will enable users seeking a viable alternative to traditional business forms to more easily find them and will help ensure that a business claiming to be co-operative truly is a co-operative as defined by the ICA principles.
E25. Please describe in detail how your proposal would enable the DNS to meet presently unmet needs.
There is a need among co-operative members, co-operatives and potential members of co-operatives to be able to identify true co-operatives and co-operative alternatives on the Internet. By enabling true co-operatives to use the .co-op TLD, people and businesses seeking this trusted alternative could effectively do so. Furthermore, given that co-operatives operate in all sectors of the economy, proper evaluation and monitoring of this TLD would provide valuable information to ICANN as it assesses the efficacy of new TLDs.
E26. How would the introduction of the TLD enhance the utility of the DNS for Internet users? For the community served by the TLD?
Again, the .co-op TLD would enable all Internet users to more clearly and easily identify co-operative alternatives for doing business and meeting needs. Currently, many non-co-operatives are posing as true co-operatives on the Internet. By allowing the co-operative community to register domain names in the .co-op TLD and ensuring the integrity of the co-op moniker, the value of co-operative identification will be maintained for true co-operatives. More importantly, the interests of Internet users will be protected from false posturing or promotion of "false" co-operatives. Gallup polls indicated that consumers trust co-operatives and prefer doing business with co-operatives. False co-operatives play on this trust and if left unchecked, threaten to destroy the trusted relationships developed between co-operatives and members/consumers.
Furthermore, although co-operatives currently serve nearly 800 million people worldwide, a higher profile for true co-operatives via the Internet will inform more people about the power of cooperation, leading potentially to greater use of co-operatives worldwide. The Internet provides this alternative and potential in a way no other technology can or will.
Co-operatives would be able to more easily find other co-operatives with which to do business while maintaining the co-operative principle, "Co-operation Among Co-operatives". The proposed TLD would also protect co-operatives from the threat of competition of non bona fide organizations from capitalizing on the use of the word co-operative in their names.
Other Internet users would be able to find co-operatives more easily on the Internet and would be protected from these false organizations. Other Internet users would gain a clearer sense of the co-operative form of business from this proposed TLD.
E27. How would the proposed TLD enhance competition in domain-name registration services, including competition with existing TLD registries?
Co-operatives would be free to keep their existing domain name registrations, however, they would be likely to switch their domain name to the .co-op TLD , since the non-commercial TLD most often associated with co-operatives, .org, has been rendered ineffective by being un-restricted.
V. VALUE OF PROPOSAL AS A PROOF OF CONCEPT (Required for all TLDs)
E28. Recent experience in the introduction of new TLDs is limited in some respects. The current program of establishing new TLDs is intended to allow evaluation of possible additions and enhancements to the DNS and possible methods of implementing them. Stated differently, the current program is intended to serve as a "proof of concept" for ways in which the DNS might evolve in the longer term. This section of the application is designed to gather information regarding what specific concept(s) could be evaluated if the proposed TLD is introduced, how you propose the evaluation should be done, and what information would be learned that might be instructive in the long-term management of the DNS. Well-considered and articulated responses to this section will be positively viewed in the selection process. Matters you should discuss in this section include:
As noted previously, co-operative businesses operate in all industries of the economy. The .co-op TLD is likely to be used by co-operative businesses throughout the global economy. This provides a unique opportunity for ICANN to evaluate and monitor implementation of a new TLD that has the cross-sector reach of .org or .com.
In addition, a challenge facing the Internet is finding an appropriate balance between offering additional TLD options without diminishing the value of existing TLDs and creating confusion among Internet users. A .co-op TLD would create a new differential that cuts across all industries of the economy and that includes all strata of society. Furthermore, co-operatives, as defined by the ICA co-operative principles, are an accepted business structure in 100 countries worldwide. The .co-op TLD would provide the perfect parallel to .com and .org and enable ICANN to evaluate the launch of a new TLD that reaches a broad-based audience globally.
E29. What concepts are likely to be proved/disproved by evaluation of the introduction of this TLD in the manner you propose?
E30. How do you propose that the results of the introduction should be evaluated? By what criteria should the success or lack of success of the TLD be evaluated?
NCBA proposes that the following criteria should be used to evaluate the TLD after the start-up period has ended:
E31. In what way would the results of the evaluation assist in the long-range management of the DNS?
E32. Are there any reasons other than evaluation of the introduction process that this particular TLD should be included in the initial introduction?
The .co-op TLD should be included in the initial introduction for the following reasons:
1. Co-operatives are the trusted place to do business.
By signing this application through its representative, the Applicant attests that the information contained in this Description of TLD Policies, and all referenced supporting documents, are true and accurate to the best of Applicant's knowledge.
President and CEO
National Cooperative Business Association
October 2, 2000