18(b) How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?
|gTLD||Full Legal Name||E-mail suffix||Detail|
|.LLC||NU DOT CO LLC||straat.co||View|
18.2 How will .LLC benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?
.LLC seeks to offer registrants and the broader internet community, with a reliable, trusted, and secure top level domain (TLD). This more relevant TLD option helps identify, and categorize the content of a site, ultimately aiding registrants with their marketing efforts. The descriptive identifier also provides a meaningful opportunity to structure and distinguish corporate content from the proliferation of other internet sites. Congestion in the current availability of commercial TLD names fundamentally advantages older incumbent players. Providing access to additional high-value second level domain names (i.e. shorter and more memorable) will provide an opportunity for new entrants to compete effectively for internet users’ finite attention. The domain’s coherent and consistent branding will assist registrants in developing meaningful emotional connection with users, allowing them to further differentiate themselves as premium destinations. These marketing efforts along with the initial adoption of key industry players, should reinforce the implicit attribution of “cutting-edge” and “innovativeness” upon its registrants. Prospective users benefit from the long-term commitment of a proven executive team that has a track-record of building and successfully marketing affinity TLD’s (e.g., .CO targeting innovative businesses and entrepreneurs).
The demand for having an online presence continues to grow worldwide, especially as more people and businesses become active internet users, enjoying the increases in productivity and promotional effectiveness that the internet offers. A clear example of this is the number of worldwide internet users, which has grown at an average18% annual rate over the past decade, and domain registrations which have experienced similar adoption rates having grown from approximately 25mm in 2000 to over 225mm today.
In particular for small businesses and entrepreneurs, the Internet offers an incredibly useful way to promote themselves to a wider audience, both locally and globally. Moreover, it allows them to cost-effective offer their products and services directly to consumers, leveling the playing field with larger and more established competitors. A number of new and innovative business models have been established that were not possible prior to the Internet, creating substantial value for society.
However, until a few years ago it was difficult and costly for individuals and small businesses to establish an internet presence. This has changed as prices decreased dramatically and offerings became more accessible and intuitive. This is the result of having many retailers (i.e. registrars or resellers) that compete amongst each other on price, along with product and service differentiation. Differentiation has mainly centered around higher value-add services ancillary to the domain registration itself, such as hosting, web-site builders, SSL, e-mail, etc. The basic product (a domain) has not changed much, and until now, there have been few feasible alternatives to the commercial TLDs. The proposed new TLDs will provide users with more relevant and customized options. Just as ICANN opened up the market for the distribution and registration of domains and created the Registrar industry, which ultimately benefitted hundreds of millions of people and businesses worldwide, we expect that the introduction of new TLDs will yield similar benefits.
The experienced team behind this application initially launched and currently operates the .CO ccTLD. The intention is for .LLC to be added to .CO’s product portfolio, where it can benefit from economies of scale along with the firm’s experience and expertise in marketing and branding TLD properties. Their successful track record proves that properly branded affinity domains can help sites form deeper emotional connections with their users, providing significant value-add. The .CO re-launch is a great illustration of how a new option in TLDs can address the unmet needs an affinity group (e.g., small businesses and start-ups), and we continue to firmly believe that the new .LLC domain will provide better, more relevant solutions for limited liability companies across a variety of industries.
Since its launch, .CO’s marketing has primarily focused on developing a worldwide ecosystem of innovative small businesses and entrepreneurs. To date, the .CO registry, .CO Internet S.A.S, has reached close to 1.3 million domains under management, with more than one million individual new Registrations in the first year alone and a renewal rate for domains purchased during launch of nearly 70% and a current average renewal rate of 65%. The renewal rate is one of the highest amongst the industry and especially high considering it has not yet reached the multiple year expiration dates, where it’s expected to climb even higher. In addition, .CO has become the standard secondary option to .COM for the leading global registrars, having the most conversions when presented with a non-.COM option. Further, .CO has secured a strong position with the tech startup community by securing such high profile users as Twitter (t.co), Google (g.co), tech influencers like Angel list (angel.co) and 500 Startups (500.co), and entrepreneurship organizations like Startup America (s.co).
.CO has differentiated itself from other existing TLDs by combining innovative branding with the highest standards in trademark protection, unprecedented marketing campaigns, and pro-active security monitoring. We plan to implement a very similar strategy for .LLC in its launch, operation, promotion and growth.
We plan to target a similar community of entrepreneurs, startups, and progressive entities that are looking for an online presence with a suitable domain name. We anticipate the addressable community will continue to grow as traditional businesses choose to launch an online presence for their pre-existing operations and as entrepreneurs launch new start-ups. The domain’s marketing strategy will utilize a 3 pillar framework, similar to that used with .CO:
- Awareness: We plan to launch marketing campaigns to both the small businesses and entrepreneurs promoting .LLC via a combination of:
o Media placements online and offline
o Social media campaigns
o PR efforts
o Direct marketing
o Channel marketing
- Usage: We plan to foster the community of users of .LLC via a combination community engagement and outreach, use-case development and direct marketing to base.
- Distribution: The distribution will be done through the existing ICANN accredited registrar channel and will include marketing at the point of sale, packages and bundles, campaigns, etc.
The marketing plans will evolve depending on market conditions, but using .CO as an example, we implemented an awareness and branding strategy that included the creation of a brand identity and logo; mass media placements including 2 super-bowl commercials with one of our partners plus many TV placements; billboards and other outdoors campaigns; several online media campaigns including networks, re-targeting and videos; ongoing Twitter, Facebook engagements; sponsorship and presence in a variety of events for TMs (INTA), Tech startups (SxSW, Web 2.0, Internetweek, etc.), Startups (Task Rabbit TR.co), Community (ICANN, LACTLD, etc.), etc. We also implemented for .CO a strong usage promotion of the domain by creating and fostering a community of .CO users and case studies. We achieved this through a combination of events, sponsorships, and partnerships with different entities like Angel.co, 500.co, Startup America (s.co), founders institute (fi.co), etc. We also cultivated many case studies of successful .CO users, remaining in close contact with them. Finally, we implemented a rigorous channel marketing and sales plan that included marketing placements at the point of purchase plus co-marketing and community outreach.
While we do plan to follow a similar strategy to achieve widespread awareness, usage and distribution, the budget and actual placements for promoting .LLC will be scaled down accordingly, as neither its volume of registrations or revenues is expected to be in line with that of .CO.
By launching the .LLC domain we expect to provide more descriptive⁄ relevant options for end-users, including access to desirable second level domain names which are unavailable or occupied by current general TLD’s. As illustrated with .CO, the rapid growth to 1.3 million domains is evidence of pent up demand in the marketplace for good, descriptive domain names. We expect that our marketing strategies will result in a new branded and available option that will emotionally connect with potential users and allow them to differentiate themselves through the use of a branded premium domain.
We will also follow the same ICANN rules and distribution methods of major gTLDs thereby ensuring Registrars and Resellers do not have to change their systems to distribute the .LLC domain. As our systems are already integrated with largest registrars in the world and we have implemented industry best practices, the transition to delegation and launch should be seamless to the registrar channel as well as consumers.
We will also implement a thick whois and adopt any ICANN recommendations or requirements in the future. In order to protect the privacy of our users, we will allow the use of Privacy or Proxy registrations by reputable registrars that comply with applicable policies specified by ICANN. We find this service is highly valuable for registrants that want to ensure their information is not available online and would like to maintain a higher level privacy.
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