18(b) How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.nowStarbucks (HK) Limitedtld.asiaView

“.now”, will first be launched to host information about now branded services, in Hong Kong as well as in international markets. It is also intended to be a domain through which customers of now branded services would be able to interact with the company, such as to retrieve their account profile information, set recording instructions or confirm subscription request for content available on now TV. Therefore the “.now” domains will become an indispensible medium of communication with now customers and target markets. This also helps in the establishment of the new “.now” TLD as a trusted domain.

As the “.now” TLD becomes better known, the Registry will explore to open up the registration of second level “.now” domains gradually through a comprehensive Sunrise and Landrush processes. This ensures that the “.now” TLD will be introduced to the Internet in a stable and orderly manner.

1. Goals of the TLD

An important primary goal of the TLD is the safeguard of the intellectual property right of the “now” brand. The PCCW Group places great importance on brand protection. We have been investing heavily in protecting the Group’s intellectual properties, including trademarks and domains. A comprehensive set of brand protection measurements and policy has been established within the group. Together with external trademark lawyers, an in-house Group Legal office, Brand Management division and Risk Management division jointly manage the Group’s brand and IP portfolio including trademarks, goodwill and domains, etc. Through the years, “now”, its parent company and its sub-brands have established strong brand recognition in the customers’ mind and in the industry. We have received awards from different local and overseas organizations including APICTA International, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific, etc.

The establishment of the “.now” TLD on the Internet safeguards our brand’s intellectual property rights and enable opportunities from potential expansion of business. PCCW has invested substantially in the “now” brand including online areas and will continue to do so.

Built on the “now” brand, the Registry also aspires to explore opening up the “.now” TLD for general registration, especially dedicated towards online infotainment and convergent media content, services and technologies. The goal for such undertaking would be to further encourage the development of IPTV, and other IP-based media delivery services and technologies that enrich the infotainment experience of consumers.

With the full support of Afilias as the registry back-end services provider, the TLD aims to operate at world class service levels delivering registry services to its registrars, registrants as well as general internet users a high capacity and high availability platform.

The Registry, through the support from its Registry Front-End Services Provider, Namesphere, which is a spin-off of the DotAsia Organisation, sets a noble goal in building itself as a reputable initiative that is economically viable and one which participates in the global community as a socially responsible actor, upholding a high level of integrity and respecting the rights of others.

2. Differentiation and Innovation

The utilization of the “.now” TLD as a brand TLD sets the “now” brand apart from our competitors and is, we believe, in itself a core differentiation and innovation made possible by ICANN’s new gTLD program.

An integral part of the “now” brand is “now TV”, which is Hong Kong’s leading pay-TV operator and one of the world’s largest commercial deployments of IPTV. It carries more than 190 HD and SD channels of local, Asian and international programming, with half of them being brought to Hong Kong viewers exclusively. As a leading player in the industry, we believe in continued innovation and is excited to explore new and innovative uses of subdomain names directly under the “.now” TLD. At the same time, as a TLD Registry, we understand the importance to maintain a reliable, advanced and operationally sound TLD registry that safeguards the security and stability of the Internet.

Initially, the primary users of the “.now” gTLD will be within the PCCW Group with businesses serving several million business and consumer accounts. As the “.now” brand develops across the global Internet community, leveraging off the established “now” brand from its Hong Kong and Asia base, as well as services, reach and customer base across its parent and related companies, the Registry will explore the gradual opening of the “.now” TLD for public general registrations. We believe that this strategy and business model is also a strong differentiator and innovation.

While it is anticipated that a number of proposed new TLDs will be targeting existing domain registrations and penetrating into the existing marketplace with aims to switch registrants away from or add to their existing domains, the “.now” gTLD will first aim to differentiate itself by leveraging itself as a brand TLD and then explore to open up for public registrations aimed to target registrants interested in aligning with the vision and brand of “.now”. Not only do we believe that this provides a stronger and more sustainable base for growth, we also believe that it will better ensure a stable and orderly introduction of the “.now” TLD.

3. Improving User Experience

“now” is one of the key brands under PCCW Limited, the initial plan is to consider deployment of the gTLD by the Group and its subsidiaries. It might cover the websites and the personalized email addresses. The latest number of employees of the PCCW Group is 20,100+ worldwide with the majority located in Hong Kong. Not all of the employees will use their own domain name, rather departments or business units within the group. To Internet users, “.now” domains therefore provide a more direct way of reaching the company with a better user experience as they will be able to access “now” information and services directly, e.g. 電影.now.

The potential expansion of the gTLD could apply to individual business units of the Group for their marketing promotion or customer acquisition purposes serving over several million customers. E.g. our business customers could be using the sub domain under the gTLD to run their business. We have had similar experiences in running our directory business (YP.com.hk and biz.com.hk) by offering sub domains to our customers at a minimal cost.

Eventually, the Registry will explore the appropriateness and timing of the gradual opening of registrations for second level “.now” domains. If that happens, the user experience could be further enhanced with the ability to select names of their choice to connect to now services or other infotainment services.

4. Registration Policies Supporting the Goals to Drive User Benefits

While we are not planning for the “.now” TLD to be open for external registrations immediately, when that future expansion happens, the Registry is dedicated to upholding its reputation as a socially responsible TLD. As such, beyond the basic ICANN requirements, the Registry intends to put in place a comprehensive Sunrise and Startup process as well as effective Abuse Prevention and Rights Protection Mechanisms to strengthen the orderly and stable introduction of the TLD.

Furthermore, with its foundation as a brand TLD, the Registry will put in place strong measures to protect intellectual property rights as well as to ensure the integrity of domain registrations under “.now”.

5. Privacy and Confidentiality Protection

Measures to protect the privacy and any confidential information of registrants and users will be consistent with other existing broad generic gTLDs. This ensures a sense of coherence from users and registrants.

With the support from DotAsia (through Namesphere) as the front-end registry services provider and Afilias as the back-end registry services provider, the Registry will be administered with compliance to a Privacy Policy which requires that identifying information received by the Registry Operator in connection with registrations will not be disclosed to third parties, except as required to combat any abusive registrations and comply with our contractual obligations to ICANN and investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies.

The “.now” TLD will be based out of Hong Kong, it will be governed by the Privacy Ordinance while the registry systems will be supported by the competent registry back-end service provider. As a telecommunications provider, PCCW is well equipped to ensure that all registry services meet the privacy and confidentiality protection requirements. A Privacy Policy has been developed which is compliant with relevant legislation and ensures that a high level of privacy and information security surrounds all collected data.

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gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixzDetail