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|
|.Corp||Dot Registry LLC||hotmail.com||View|
With the increased popularity of the Internet as a consumer marketplace and the ease with which individuals are able to access information online, it is essential that safeguards be put in place to validate and identify legitimate businesses.
Businesses representing themselves as corporations by including Inc., Incorporated or Corporation in their business names create an expectation amongst consumers that they have the legal right to conduct business as a corporation. Unfortunately, consumers are currently unable to quickly verify the accuracy of this representation. Fraudulent business entities rely on this consumer assumption and the lack of available verification resources to prey on both businesses and consumers. As online commerce replaces brick-and-mortar businesses, there has been a corresponding rise in business identity theft online, which in turn creates a lack of consumer confidence.
In the vast majority of states, the Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing the business entities in the state – from the registration of corporations and verification of business filings, to the administration of the Uniform Commercial Code, an act, which provides for the uniform application of business contracts and practices across the United States. The Secretaries’ role is critical to the chartering of businesses (including, but not limited to the formation of corporations) that wish to operate in their state. In this regard, the Secretaries of State maintain all records of business activities within the state, and in some states, the Secretary of State has wide-ranging regulatory authority over businesses as well.
The “.CORP” gTLD will be exclusively available to members of the Community of Registered Corporations, as verified through each applicant’s Secretary of State’s Office (or other state official where applicable). By verifying that an applicant is a registered U.S. corporation, DOT Registry will be able to bring unprecedented clarity and security to consumers and business owners, assuring Internet users, registry applicants, and others that web addresses ending in “.CORP” are a hallmark of a valid corporation recognized by a governmental authority of the United States. This process will decrease the possibility of identity misrepresentation in a cyber setting and assist lesser-known businesses in legitimizing their services to consumers.
In January 2012, after many public forums and contributions from consumer advocates, the Business Services Committee of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) released the NASS White Paper on Business Identity Theft, indicating that at least 26 states have reported business identity theft cases resulting from fraudulent business representations online. North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who serves as Co-Chair of the NASS Business Services Committee, indicates that the primary function of the White Paper is to “Harness new technology to develop cost-effective solutions, and ultimately make it harder for identity thieves to prey upon state-based businesses.”
With the implementation of the “.CORP” gTLD, consumers would have the ability to quickly identify the presented business as a valid U.S. corporation. As “.CORP” registrations grow, we will see a reduction in the ease with which criminals are able to hide behind fictitious entities because consumers will be conditioned to look for the appropriate gTLD ending before conducting business online. This simple gTLD extension would provide an efficient and cost-effective solution to a growing economic concern in the United States by creating a verifiable online business community network. Through this innovative concept, the DNS system will help to build a stronger more resilient business platform for members of the Registered Community of Corporations, while fostering increased user confidence, by ensuring accurate business representation.
It is our goal to provide an efficient and secure application process by minimizing the input required by the registrant and creating a streamlined, efficient evaluation process. We will accomplish this by reviewing the applicant’s proof of business registration with their State. Registry Applicants will only be awarded a domain through DOT Registry if the Registrant is an active member of the Community of Registered Corporations. “Active” in this context can be defined as any corporation registered with a Secretary of State in the United States and its territories, that is determined to be authorized to conduct business within that State at the time of their registration. Registrant’s “Active” status will be verified on an annual basis to ensure the reputation and validity of the “.CORP” gTLD.
DOT Registry will also ensure that registrants are represented by a web address that is both simple and intuitive allowing for easy recognition by search engines and internet users. Awarded addresses will identify the registrant’s company and may be presented in the shortest, most memorable way.
At DOT Registry, we believe in complete transparency, consistent with the Secretaries of State Policy with regard to “Active” members of the Community of Registered Corporations becoming publicly recorded upon completion of their entity registration process. Further, DOT Registry is informed by the position of the United States Senate Task Force for Financial Integrity and Economic Development, which was created to advocate for improved levels of transparency and accountability with regard to beneficial ownership, control, and accounts of companies. Over the last decade the Task Force has focused specifically on combatting fraudulent business registrations which result in “fake” entities absorbing, hiding, and transferring wealth outside the reach of law enforcement agencies. Because of this DOT Registry will not allow private or proxy registrations.
All approved domain registrants will be made public and available, so as to further validate DOT Registry’s mission of fostering consumer peace of mind by creating a gTLD string dedicated solely to valid members of the Community of Registered Corporations. These transparency mechanisms will also serve as a deterrent for fraudulent entities by creating an expectation among consumers as to who they are conducting business with.
The social implications of business identity theft and consumer confusion are a paramount concern to DOT Registry. In our currently unstable economy, stimulating economic growth is vital. One means to such growth is by defusing the rampant, legitimate fear caused by online crimes and abuse, which leads to curtailed consumer behavior. By introducing the “.CORP” domain into the DNS, DOT Registry will attempt to reduce the social impact of identity theft on business owners which will in turn reduce consumer fears related to spending and ultimately boost economic growth in regards to consumption and purchase power.
Further, the “.CORP” gTLD will strive to foster competition by presenting members of the Community of Registered Corporations with a highly valued customized domain name that not only represents their business, but also their validity in the marketplace. Within the current existing top-level domains it is hard for businesses to find naming options that appropriately represent them. One advantage of the “.CORP” gTLD is that it will drive the “right” kind of online registrations by offering a valued alternative to the currently overcrowded and often unrestricted name space. Registrants will be inspired to pursue “.CORP” domains not only because they will be guaranteed a name representative to their business, but also because of the increased validity for their business operations brought about by the “.CORP” verification process. DOT Registry anticipates that the security offered through a “.CORP” extension will increase consumer traffic to websites which in turn will boost advertising revenue online and consumer purchasing.
Successful implementation of the “.CORP” domain will require two registration goals: (1) capture newly formed corporations and assist them in securing a “.CORP” domain relative to their legal business name, and (2) converting existing online members of our community to a “.CORP” domain relative to their legal business name. These goals will be accomplished by the following practices:
1) Through our Founder’s Program, DOT Registry will secure key community tenants in the name space who will act as innovative leaders to assist us in changing the online culture of business representation by promoting the benefits of the “.CORP” gTLD and shaping economic growth through increased consumer confidence.
2) DOT Registry will work closely with companies such as Legalzoom and CSC (both companies assist in the formation of entities and their registration processes), as well as individual Secretary of State’s offices, to capture newly admitted members of the community.
3) DOT Registry will educate members of the Community of Registered Corporations on the benefits and importance of using a “.CORP” gTLD by building a strong relationship with organizations like the Small Business Administration and the Better Business Bureau, which promote business validation and consumer insight. By working closely with these well-known and highly regarded entities, DOT Registry will be able to reach a larger majority of community members and enhance our message’s validity.
4) DOT Registry will strive to create consumer and Internet user awareness through a strong Internet marketing presence and by developing a relationship with the National Association of Consumer Advocates, which was formed with the intention of curbing consumer abuse through predatory business practices.
At DOT Registry, we strive to meet the exact needs of our registrants and the Internet users who patronize them. This will be accomplished by the creation of a seamless connection and strong communication channel between our organization and the governmental authority charged with monitoring the creation and good standing of corporations. DOT Registry will work closely with each Secretary of State’s office to tailor our validation process to complement each office’s current information systems and to maximize the benefits of accurate information reporting. These processes are essential in fully assisting consumers in making educated decisions in regards to what businesses to patronize. The reach of the “.CORP” gTLD will not only impact online consumerism, but also offer an additional validation process for consumers to research contractors, businesses, and solicitors before choosing to do business with them in person.
The guidelines listed below were developed through collaborations with both NASS and individual Secretary of State’s offices in order to ensure the integrity of the “.CORP” domain. All policies comply with ICANN-developed consensus policies.
In order to maintain the integrity of our mission statement and our relationship with each Secretary of State’s office we will implement Registration Guidelines. In order to apply for a domain name ending in “.CORP”, a Registrant must be registered with one of the Secretary of State’s offices in the United States, the District of Columbia, or any of the U.S. possessions or territories as a corporation pursuant to that jurisdiction’s laws on valid corporate registration. In addition, Applicant will implement the following Registration Guidelines and naming conventions:
1) A Registrant will only be awarded the “.CORP” domain that matches or includes a substantial part of the Registrant’s legal name. For example, Blue Star Partners, Inc. would be able to purchase either BlueStarPartners.CORP or BlueStar.CORP.
2) Registrants will not be allowed to register product line registrations, regardless of the products affiliation to the corporation. All awarded domains must match or include a substantial part of the Registrant’s legal name.
3) If there are registrants applying for the same domain names, which correspond to their legal business names as registered in different states, then the “.CORP” domain will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to the first registrant.
4) However, if a registrant has a trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), then such registrant will have priority over any other registrant to be awarded the applied for “.CORP” domain.
5) If a registrant’s “.CORP” domain has already been awarded to another registrant with the same or similar legal name, then DOT Registry will offer to award such registrant a “.CORP” domain with a distinctive denominator including but not limited to a tag, company describer, or name abbreviation. For example, if BlueStar.CORP was awarded to Blue Star Partners, Inc. of California, then Blue Star Partners, Inc. of Kansas would be offered the opportunity to use BlueStarPartners.CORP.
6) DOT Registry will work closely with the Secretary of State’s Offices throughout the United States, with NASS and with a number of other agencies and organizations in maintaining the integrity and security of its domain names. DOT Registry will utilize the Secretary of States’ online resources to confirm that companies applying for their “.CORP” domain are in fact registered businesses.
7) All registrants that are awarded the “.CORP” domain will agree to a one-year minimum contract for their domain names that will automatically renew for an additional year on an annual basis if such contract is not terminated prior to the expiration of the renewal date.
8) DOT Registry or it’s designated agent will annually verify each registrants community status. Verification will occur in a process similar to the original registration process for each registrant, in which the registrars will verify each registrant’s “Active” Status with the applicable state authority. Each registrar will evaluate whether its registrants can still be considered “Active” members of the Community of Registered Corporations. In this regard, the following items would be considered violations of DOT Registry’s Registration Guidelines, and may result in dissolution of a registrant’s awarded “.CORP” domain:
(a) If a registrant previously awarded the “.CORP” domain ceases to be registered with the State.
(b) If a registrant previously awarded a “.CORP” domain is dissolved and⁄or forfeits the domain for any reason.
(c) If a registrant previously awarded the “.CORP” domain is administratively dissolved by the State.
Any registrant found to be “Inactive,” or which falls into scenarios (a) through (c) above, will be issued a probationary warning by their registrar, allowing for the registrant to restore its active status or resolve its dissolution with its applicable Secretary of State’s office. If the registrant is unable to restore itself to “Active” status within the defined 30 day probationary period, their previously assigned “.CORP” will be forfeited. DOT Registry reserves the right to change the definition of “Active” in accordance with the policies of the Secretaries of State. Domains will be temporarily suspended during the review process.
9) If DOT Registry discovers that a registrant wrongfully applied for and was awarded a “.CORP” domain, then such “.CORP” will be immediately forfeited to DOT Registry. Wrongful application includes but is not limited to: a registrant misrepresenting itself as a member of the Community of Registered Corporations, a registrant participating in illegal or fraudulent actions, or where a registrant would be in violation of our abuse policies described in Question 28 (including promoting or facilitating spam, trademark or copyright infringement, phishing, pharming, willful distribution of malware, fast flux hosting, botnet command and control, distribution of pornography, illegal access to other computers or networks, and domain kiting⁄tasting).
10) In the case of domain forfeiture due to any of the above described options, all payments received by the Registrant for registration services to date or in advance payment will be non-refundable.
11) All registration information will be made publicly available. DOT Registry will not accept blind registration or registration by proxy. DOT Registry’s registry services operator will provide thick WHOIS services that are fully compliant with RFC 3912 and with Specifications 4 and 10 of the Registry Agreement. Additionally, DOT Registry will provide a Web-based WHOIS application, which will be located at www.whois.CORP. The WHOIS Web application will be an intuitive and easy to use. A complete description of these services can be found in Question 26 below.
12) Awarded names are non-transferrable to entities outside of the designated community, regardless of affiliation to any member of the community. In the event that a registrant’s business entity merges, is acquired, or sold, the new entity will be allowed to maintain the previously awarded “.CORP” domain until the domain renewal date, at which point they will be evaluated as described in number seven (7) above. Further, any entity acquiring a “.CORP” domain through the processes described in this guideline that does not meet the registration criteria and wishes to maintain the awarded domain will be allowed a grace period after the renewal verification process to correct any non-compliance issues in order to continue operating their acquired domain. If the said entity is unable to comply with DOT Registry’s guidelines, the awarded domain will be revoked.
13) If an application is unable to be verified or does not meet the requirements of the sponsored community, the application will be considered invalid.
14) DOT Registry will implement a reserved names policy consisting of both names DOT Registry wishes to reserve for our own purposes as the registry operator and names protected by ICANN. DOT Registry will respect all ICANN reserved names including, but not limited to, two letter country codes and existing TLD’s. Additionally, DOT Registry will seek ICANN approval on any additional names we plan to reserve in order to appropriately secure them prior to the opening of general availability.
In addition to Applicant’s comprehensive eligibility, verification, and policing mechanisms, DOT Registry will implement a series of Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPM), including but not limited to: Support for and interaction with the Trademark Clearinghouse (“Clearinghouse”); use of the Trademark Claims Service; segmented Sunrise Periods allowing for the owners of trademarks listed in the Clearinghouse to register domain names that consist of an identical match of their listed trademarks; subsequent Sunrise Periods to give trademark owners or registrants that own the rights to a particular name the ability to block the use of such name; and stringent take down policies and all required dispute resolution policies.
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