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

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.storeDot Store Group LLCgmail.comView

Dot Store Group LLC’s mission is to make the .store TLD a namespace for store owners to thrive and prosper by ensuring a safe, easily identifiable and secure e-commerce arena. The Dot Store Group LLC is keenly aware, as a registry for the .store TLD, that quickly establishing and maintaining the reputation of the TLD as a safe and secure domain space for online stores as well as their customers is key to rapid adoption and long-term financial health. To achieve this, it is important that Dot Store Group LLC:

1) Consistently maintain and exceed the ICANN’s compliance requirements as set forth in the New gTLD Registry Agreement (specification 9 and 10). This would require accurate and timely monthly reporting to ICANN.

2) Monitoring and enforcing the service level agreements with the registry back-end provider of choice: Neustar. Please see answer to Questions 30 to 43

3) Timely monitoring and enforcement of the Mitigation. See Answer to Question 28 (“Abuse Prevention and Mitigation”)

The .store TLD will provide a well defined home to all existing and future online stores and merchants. It will also provide these companies a choice as to how they wish to brand their e-commerce sites through a domain name, as well as provide their customers with a clear, recognizable address to distinguish online stores and merchants from the over 225 million domain names registered across over 300 TLDs (footnote 1). The .store TLD intends to introduce competition to the overburdened and un-demarcated .com world.

.Com, along with .org, .net, .gov, .mil and .edu, was established in 1985; each was intended for users to distinguish a particular type of site from another. Hence, .com was shorthand for a commercial site, whereas .org was intended to designate an organization. Adoption was slow to start. In 1995, fully 10 years after its introduction, registrations in .com amounted to only 18,000 names (footnote 2). The initial view that the limited set of gTLDs would be enough to meet the demand was borne out by this adoption rate. However, this was not to last.

Although the .com gTLD domains were originally intended to designate commercial entities (footnote 3), there has been no restriction on who can register .com domains since the mid-1990s. With the advent of the « dotcom era » in 1997, registrations in .com took off. More and more businesses, organizations, individuals as well as domainers and cyber-squatters took up residence in .com, thus erasing any last vestige of .com identifying as a site with commercial intent, let alone signaling an online store.

Currently, storeowners do not have a viable gTLD alternative that identifies them specifically as an online store. The lack of availability of suitable names in the .com gTLD has not only encumbered the ability of merchants and stores to build and protect their brands online, but it has also prevented them from enjoying the benefits of organizing themselves into a community, much like they do in the brick and mortar equivalent of malls and shopping centers.

Domain names are often referred to as “online real estate”. But the adage “location, location, location” applies in virtual world as well. A prime location for a brick and mortar store increases traffic. This explains the popularity of malls and clearly designated shopping or retail areas for stores and consumers alike. Stores benefit from the close proximity to one another in order to capture traffic they would not otherwise have. Consumers, on the other hand, prefer the convenience of a central mall, market, or shopping center to fulfill their needs.

Similarly, an easily located domain name would increase valuable traffic to a virtual store. Referral links and affiliate marketing deals are simple ways to compensate for the lack of a comparable concept of a clearly designated commercial zone or shopping area on the Internet real estate. But SEO schemes, affiliate programs, Internet advertising, traffic aggregation services and portals have had mixed results. On the one hand, merchants and stores benefit from the increased traffic but they are incurring increased costs of acquisition. Consumers, on the other hand, increasingly rely on search engines since they cannot rely on the TLD designation to quickly find the store or merchant they are looking for. Ultimately, this bears the burden of higher costs, not only in terms of higher prices, but also in increased confusion and higher security threats such as phishing, malware and identity theft when shopping online.

Merchants and storeowners would benefit by having their own specifically designated gTLD (.store) versus having to choose from amongst the multiple generic but unrelated gTLDs such as .com, .net, .info, .co, etc.

The .store TLD intends to motivate existing online stores as well as traditional retail (i.e. brick & mortar) outlets to co-locate in a new specifically designated and e-commerce oriented gTLD, .store. Much like malls and shopping centers have resulted in consumer friendly conveniences such as loyalty reward cards, greater on-premise security and cross-promotions, a .store gTLD will result in innovations in e-commerce solutions such user friendly and secure shopping cart systems, lower SEO costs and a more consistent user experience.

The .store TLD’s intent is to make searching for and finding reputable online stores easier. Dot Store Group LLC intends to setup a search store directory page that will list and promote all .store registrants worldwide.

In addition, Dot Store Group LLC intends to also work on e-commerce solutions by finding and promoting more secure e-commerce solutions innovations internally and externally. Dot Store Group LLC will pass them along to all domain registrants.

One last benefit to registrants in the .store TLD is our plan to develop and launch a .store mobile application. The application will provide consumers with store information such as GPS, store hours, directions and hours of operations.

In addition, users will be linked directly to the stores website and⁄or e-commerce site. All registrants will be given free listings on the mobile application. Dot Store Group LLC believes this application will be a boon for .store domain holders.

Internet users will be able to find online stores and merchants easily, securely and more effectively, especially as Dot Store Group LLC intends to setup a search store directory page that will list and promote all .store registrants worldwide.

In .store, we will reserve the following classes of domain names, which will not be available to register via the Sunrise or subsequent periods:

-The reserved names required in Specification 5 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement.

-The geographic names required in Specification 5 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement, and as described in Question 21 and Question 22 (“Protection of Geographic Names”).

-The registry operator will reserve its own name and variations thereof, and registry operations names (such as nic.store, registry.store, and www.store). This is considered best practice and has been followed by previous gTLDs in their launch.

-We will indefinitely reserve names related to ICANN and Internet standards bodies (ex: iana.store, and ietf.store, etc.). Dot Store Group LLC sees no practical reason to assign these domains to the relevant entities given the specific purpose of the .store namespace. Should any of these organizations express a valid consideration, or should ICANN require it, Dot Store Group LLC will provision the domain as required.

-We will also reserve a number of city names such as Paris.store, Dallas.store or NYC.store. We may at our option and at a later date offer these names to cities and municipalities as a means to create a digital equivalent of a city’s shopping mall or marketplace. If and when, we chose to release these names, we will offer the appropriate governing body for each city the opportunity to participate in the release of these names. Should they decide not to participate, we would reserve the right to offer the name on an auction basis. Please note that since we are simply reserving the names and have not made concrete plans on if and when these names would be released. Therefore, we have not included them in out financial assumptions.

Phase 1 (30 Day Sunrise Period): This phase is reserved for legitimate trademark and brand holders. Given that many previous TLD launches starting with .info have implemented a Sunrise Period, with slight modifications in rules, duration and policies from one to the other. There is a wealth of “lessons learned” that Dot Store Group LLC intends to benefit from. The goal of the .store Sunrise Period is to strike the appropriate balance between cost effective and simple policies designed to be inclusive of all potential legitimately recognized International trademark and brand holders, and restrictions and rules to increase the cost, difficulty and risk for illegitimate or ineligible registrants to participate. Dot Store Group LLC will implement a cut-off date for eligible registrations of trademarks to prevent misuse of the trademark registration policies to circumvent the well-intentioned rules of the Sunrise Period (such as what happened with .EU and the Benelux registrations).

During the 30 Day Sunrise Registration phase, Dot Store Group LLC will accept applications by all holders of internationally recognized and filing-date eligible trademark holders. This will be followed by a two week Quiet Period, during which a statistically relevant sample of the applications will be validated by a reputable and qualified 3rd party service provider for adherence to the policies. Any applications found to be in conflict with the Sunrise registration policies will be immediately invalidated and the application fee will be forfeited and thus non-refundable to the applicant.

Dot Store Group LLC will also use the Trademark Clearinghouse (TC) to periodically look-up every Sunrise application against trademarks registered in the aforementioned database. Should there be a match, Dot Store Group LLC will contact the trademark holder registered in the TC to inform them of an existing Sunrise application submitted for that name to .store. This allows the trademark holders registered in the TC to be properly and duly informed of an application for their name and only participate in the .store Sunrise to defend their marks should they choose to do so.

Should there be more than one valid application for the same name during Sunrise; the outcome will be determined by an auction process, run by a reputable, qualified and independent 3rd party auction provider.

Phase 2 (30 Day Landrush Period): This phase begins after the Quiet Period following the Sunrise Phase. Landrush is intended to limit speculative activity by non-trademark holders especially on high value generic names. These names would otherwise be registered by savvy speculators who then resell the domain names on the secondary market at a great profit to themselves, albeit at a cost to the average registrant, thus violating the spirit of first-come, first serve principle. As with the Sunrise Period, multiple applications for the same name will be subject to the outcome of an auction process.

Phase 3: General Availability Period: This period commences with the ending of the Landrush Period and signals the time when registrations in the .store TLD will be opened up to the public. The General Availability Period allows for live registrations on a first-come, first-serve basis and will define the ongoing state of the .store registry operations.

Dot Store Group LLC will implement several measures for protecting the privacy and confidential information of .store registrants or users. As the registry operator for the .store TLD, Dot Store Group LLC will only accept domain name registrations from ICANN-accredited and .store accredited domain name registrars.

* Please see our response to Question 30 (“Security Policy”) for details on operational standards for .store accredited registrars. These include provisions such as acceptable standards for access to the registry systems and protocols for safe password management.

* Upon registration of a .store domain name via an accredited .store registrar, the domain name, its associated name servers and other data will be given to Dot Store Group LLC to enable the resolution of the domain name on the Internet. Dot Store Group LLC discloses this data to TLD server administrators for the purpose of ensuring that the domain name operates as a functional address on the Internet. Dot Store Group LLC is bound by the .store Registry Agreement with ICANN.

* As per Article 2.17 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement (Article 2.17), Dot Store Group LLC will notify registrars of the purposes for which personal data (defined as data about any identified or identifiable natural person) is collected and used. They will also be notified as to the intended recipient(s) of such data. .Store registrars will be required to obtain the consent of each .store registrant for any collection and use of personal data. Furthermore, Dot Store Group LLC will take reasonable steps to protect personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, alteration, destruction and unauthorized use of personal data in a way that is incompatible with the notice provided to registrars.

* As required by the .store Registry Agreement, Dot Store Group LLC will make information about domain name registrants available to the general public via domain name registration database look-up (WHOIS) services. Please note that consistent with the current rules and policies for the Domain Name System set by ICANN, this information about registrants must remain available in the publicly accessible registration database. These services give users access to such data on a query-by-query basis.

* Consistent with the .store Registry Agreement and the current rules and policies of ICANN, Dot Store Group LLC may also disclose TLD zone files to other interested recipients, provided those recipients agree not to further process the TLD zone files for purposes incompatible for which they were originally collected, including the transmission of unsolicited commercial e-mails. However, Dot Store Group LLC will adopt policies and procedures to limit the mining of WHOIS data. Please see our answer to Question 26 regarding “searchable WHOIS” and rate-limiting. Limiting the mining of WHOIS data will mitigate spammers and other malicious parties who abuse access to WHOIS services by mining the data for their own illegitimate purposes.

* Please reference our answer to Question 28 regarding the use of proxy and privacy services. We will allow the use of such services, in so far as they comply with ICANN policies and requirements, which can protect the privacy and personal data of registrants. In Question 28, we also describe our proposed policies to limit the use of privacy and proxy services by malicious parties.

* Please reference our answer to Question 23. (“Registry Services”). Dot Store Group LLC will offer a “Registry Lock” service. This service protects registrant data from unauthorized modifications and transactions such as domain transfer and deletion.

* Information Dot Store Group LLC would collect on its Corporate site(s)

Visitors who wish to subscribe to any of Dot Store Group LLC’s electronic communications will be able to do so on an « opt-in » basis. They will provide at a minimum their name, company and email address.

* Dot Store Group LLC may, from time to time, request personal data for purposes such as the provision of customer service, service offerings, network management, surveys and other exchanges of information as long as the personal data is adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were collected. The personal data will not be further processed in a way incompatible with those purposes.

* Log files

Dot Store Group LLC gathers information about all users collectively, such as what areas of its sites users visit most frequently and what services users access most often. Dot Store Group LLC automatically logs session sources and other data that tracks usersʹ access to this site, other channels and Dot Store Group LLC sites. Dot Store Group LLC may analyze these logs to understand aggregate user behavior as well as for system-performance monitoring. These logs are analyzed for the overall, aggregate trends they would reveal about the site’s visitors, not for the behaviors of individual users. Dot Store Group LLC may disclose aggregated user statistics to describe the service to prospective partners, advertisers, other third parties and for other lawful purposes.

* Children

Please note that Dot Store Group LLC would not knowingly solicit information from children, nor would we knowingly market our products or services to children.

* Information Sharing

The information visitors may supply to Dot Store Group LLC through its site or sites would never be provided, sold, rented, loaned or otherwise disclosed to any third parties outside of Dot Store Group LLC, unless the user’s express permission is obtained beforehand, or under special circumstances, such as when it is necessary to comply with legal process or protect the rights, property or personal safety of Dot Store Group LLC, its customers or the public. Dot Store Group LLC may share aggregated demographic information with business partners and⁄or the press. This would not be linked to any personal data that can identify any individual person.

* Security

Dot Store Group LLC will take strong precautions to protect information. Should any personal data be submitted via the Dot Store Group LLC site or sites, or when registrars submit specifics about the domain name registration, as required by the ICANN contracts, the personal data would be protected both online and offline. Furthermore, all personal data will be access restricted and the servers on which they are stored will be kept a secure environment.

Dot Store Group LLC has taken pains to set aside adequate dollars to support its own outreach and marketing campaign which is targeted at specific audiences during the various phases. The campaign will start with the Registry contract award, lead up to delegation, and various stages of launch (Sunrise to General Availability).

Dot Store Group LLC intends to enlist and ramp-up ICANN accredited registrars as .store registrars prior to the Sunrise phase. Dot Store Group LLC will use coop marketing, as well as promotional incentives to ensure there will be a ready and reliable distribution channel.

Upon ICANN’s confirmation of a successful .store application, Dot Store Group LLC will launch a campaign aimed at key trademark and brand holders in the e-commerce space. The campaign will use a mix of online advertising, strategically placed billboards in key geographic areas, as well as targeted TV and print media. The campaign will be focused on communicating the value proposition of a .store domain name to existing online and “brick and mortar” merchants and stores. For the Sunrise period, the campaign will focus on educating the registrar channel, and in turn brands, on the Sunrise period’s key dates and duration, as well as the registration rules. After the General Availability phase and pending financial viability, Dot Store Group LLC intends to hold an annual .store conference, open to all .store registrants, to share and highlight ideas, innovations and increase the profile of the .store TLD and its registrants.

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gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixzDetail