18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.pingPing Registry Provider, Inc.karsten.comView

The content of this Answer to Question 18 set forth below describing the plans for this registry constitutes the “purpose” of the registry as that term is used in paragraph 1.b. of Specification 9 of the Draft New gTLD Registry Agreement found in Module 5 of the Applicant Guidebook dated January 11, 2012 (“the Purpose”). PING Registry Provider, Inc. (“PRP”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation (“KMC”), will publish its Charter and its policies, guidelines, and other supporting documentation related to the implementation of the registry consistent with the Purpose, all prior to launch. All second level domain names registered by PRP on behalf of itself or an affiliate will be registered through an ICANN-accredited registrar and will be consistent with the Purpose.

The .PING gTLD registry will be a standard, not a community-based, registry. The .PING gTLD registry will be a standard registry restricted to PRP and its qualified subsidiaries, affiliates (including PING, Inc. (“PING”)) or business partners having the Required License (as defined below). KMC is the parent company of PRP and PING, and other commonly-owned companies (hereinafter “KMC Affiliates”). For the avoidance of a doubt, the registry will be closed to registrants who do not have a formal, written trademark license agreement from KMC, PRP’s parent company which owns the PING name and mark, specifically allowing the registration of a second level domain name in the .PING gTLD registry (the “Required License”). There will be no market for second level registrations outside of registrants which are affiliated with PRP and⁄or which have the Required License.

KMC, owner of the PING® trademark and service mark, together with its wholly-owned subsidiary PING design and produce PING golf equipment from its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Named after the sound the first model PING putter makes when striking a golf ball, to many PING clubs represent the standard against which many other clubs are judged. Founded by Karsten Solheim in 1959, KMC’s focus is on innovation, design, service, and quality in the manufacture of PING equipment, and on custom fitting in the distribution of PING products. KMC raised the level of product performance, customer value and choice throughout the entire golf industry. As a result, PING is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world.

Over the past half-century, many of the most significant innovations in golf club manufacturing and design have been pioneered by KMC, including perimeter weighting and the use of investment casting of iron golf clubs. KMC also pioneered the concept of custom-fitted golf clubs. PING clubs are consistently ranked in the top 3 golf club brands in terms of market share and are often cited by leading golf publications and websites for being the highest performing, most innovative products on the market. In 2012, PING clubs earned 11 Golf Digest “Hot List” Gold Awards – the most in its history and the most of any brand tested. PING was the only brand to earn Gold Awards in every product category while also earning a coveted “Editor’s Choice” honor for its i20 iron.

Today KMC, a private company, is led by John A. Solheim, the youngest son of Karsten. It employs more than 1200 people, has produced billions of dollars of product, and has annual revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars, reflecting the reputation and quality of PING products. Dun & Bradstreet (“D&B”) recognizes KMC’s stellar creditworthiness with a 1R2 rating, the highest possible Composite Credit Appraisal score a privately-held company can receive. In D&B’s overall Commercial Credit Score category, KMC’s rating is at the “Lowest Risk” level, which measures a company’s likelihood to accrue delinquent debts. KMC’s robust financial performance is due in no small part to its on-demand manufacturing process, where PING golf clubs are made to order, resulting in minimal inventory costs.

A set of PING clubs identifies a golfer as someone who shares a passion for the game with other golf enthusiasts. Over its history, PING has been a contributing sponsor of numerous professional golf events, including its founding and continuing sponsorship of the Solheim Cup, the most prestigious women’s golf event in the world which was founded in 1990. PING has also sponsored hundreds of professional golfers who compete throughout the world, including three of the current top-five golfers in the world rankings: Lee Westwood, (recently ranked the #1 player in the world and currently #3); Lorena Ochoa (who was also the #1 ranked woman golfer in the world before retiring two years ago); Angel Cabrera, winner of many events, including two major championships - the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters; Louis Oosthuizen ( winner of the 2010 British Open); Bubba Watson (winner of the 2012 Masters; currently ranked #4) who has repeatedly won the title of longest driver on the PGA Tour; Mark Calcavecchia winner of the 1989 British Open, and many other champions of world renowned golf events, including Hunter Mahan (currently ranked #5), Chris DiMarco, and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

All these victories and thousands of others are immortalized in the PING Gold Putter Vault at the company’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. Established in the early 1970s, the “Vault” houses nearly 3000 gold-plated PING putters -- each representing a professional victory around the world. It’s golf’s version of Fort Knox and arguably the most valuable collection of putters in the world as only two of each of the putters finished in the gold-plating exist. One is given to the champion who used it; the other is placed in the locked vault. The “PING Gold Putter” story has been promoted in TV commercials and is a popular destination for visitors to the facility seeking to be photographed in the historic vault.

In 2010, KMC licensed the trademark Ping to Apple Inc. Ping is the name given by Apple to a music-centric social-network that allows members to post comments, share play-lists, and review concert listings.

KMC has formed PRP to serve as the applicant for the .PING registry. PRP has a trademark license from KMC to operate the .ping registry.

Building on KMC’s experience of 50 years and its strong track record of innovation both in the “brick & mortar” and Internet spaces, PRP and its affiliates (collectively “us” or “we”) believe that the mission for the .PING registry initially will be to:

• Provide us with a platform for innovation, offering a stable and secure foundation for digital communication with customers and vendors and the delivery of new services and products by our distributors.

• Allow us to continue our company policy of defending our consumers from confusion by protecting our intellectual property rights through the PING name and brand at the top level of the domain name system, all with the goal of helping to prevent our customers from purchasing counterfeit goods. Like many well known brands, especially those having a premium position in the marketplace, the PING mark is a frequent target for counterfeiters. It is believed that the .PING registry will serve as a key line of defense that helps ensure PING online customers locate genuine PING products.

• Provide a global platform from which KMC can further its philanthropic involvement.

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