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

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.hangoutCharleston Road Registry
18.b. Benefits to Registrants, Internet Users, and Others

18.b.i.1. Specialty

Charleston Road Registry intends to apply for an exemption to ICANN’s Registry Operator Code of Conduct and operate the proposed gTLD with Google as the sole registrar and registrant. The proposed gTLD will specifically align with Google+ Hangouts, an existing Google product, and will provide users with improved capabilities that meet their diverse needs.

The specialization goal of the proposed gTLD is to provide a dedicated domain space for the management of select content users’ Google+ Hangouts. This specialization introduces a new domain name hierarchy that will generate new Google+ Hangouts namespace and provide for select users’ direct management of the introduction and phase out of their new or retiring offerings on their unique domain within the .hangout gTLD. This specialization will enhance Internet users’ current and future experience with Google+ Hangouts.

18.b.i.2. Service Levels

Through its association with Google, Charleston Road Registry is uniquely positioned to enable and support the proposed gTLD by providing its service reliability and speed of delivery as a part of its services. Google brings unique expertise and a proven record of excellence in infrastructure operations: Google now runs the biggest DNS system in the world, has industry-leading uptime on its services, such as web search, and offers enterprise services on which governments and businesses depend.

Charleston Road Registry’s service level goal for the proposed gTLD is to ensure that Google, as the proposed sole registrant, is supported in delivering the high level of quality, speed, and service to users for which it is known. Indeed, two of Google’s core principles in providing Internet search and related goods and services are “focus on the user and all else will follow” and “fast is better than slow.”

In focusing on the user, Google strives to provide the best user experience possible. Google will continue to operate under this principle when designing new offerings and providing goods and services within the proposed gTLD.

Google keeps speed in mind with each new product it releases, from faster mobile applications to improved Web browsers designed for rapid search and navigation. Google continues to devote its resources to improving speed and efficiency. In managing the proposed gTLD, Google expects to keep its service reliability and speed to this standard through direct management of all technical infrastructure related to DNS resolution other than the operation of the root servers.

Charleston Road Registry is committed to using the most technologically advanced, secure, and reliable registry services for all of the domain names within the gTLD so as to not compromise the service levels, security, and stability of the gTLD to users across the globe.

18.b.i.3. Reputation

Google has a proven record of providing high-quality, secure online services. Charleston Road Registry seeks to enhance Google’s reputation for excellence, superior quality, and high level of security and become known as an exemplary domain name services provider.

When Internet users visit a domain name in the proposed gTLD environment, they will be able to reliably expect and experience the high level of security and quality on which Google’s reputation has been built.

The registry will be structured so that Google registers and manages domain names in the .hangout gTLD, that those domain names are used for only Google+ Hangouts-related purposes, and that the registry is responsive to legal rights owners (if applicable).

As noted, Charleston Road Registry intends to apply for an exemption to ICANN’s Registry Operator Code of Conduct and operate the proposed gTLD with Google as the sole registrar and registrant. This facilitates Google’s ability to further enhance the Google+ Hangouts brand and reputation of Google+ Hangouts offerings.

In addition, Charleston Road Registry’s operation of the new gTLD will provide the opportunity for users to build and⁄or bolster their unique brands or tailor unique user identities in association with the proposed gTLD and Google+ Hangouts.

18.b.ii.1. Competition

Charleston Road Registry supports the advancement of registry operators as a whole and the diffusion of gTLDs amongst diverse stakeholders to generate increased competition for the benefit of the Internet public. Increased competition will result in more competitive prices for consumers, generate efficiencies and increase productivity in enterprises, and spur innovation in the gTLD space.

Google will have the opportunity to differentiate and innovate upon its Google+ Hangouts products and services through its use of the gTLD.

The proposed gTLD, .hangout, will provide a new mechanism for the management of Google+ Hangouts content. The .hangout gTLD will help grow the volume of content and conversation on the Internet, thereby increasing competition among all content providers and entities offering services for content providers.

The proposed gTLD will promote competition in the gTLD space by inciting competitors to respond with improved gTLD operations, greater range and higher quality products and services integrated with domain name offerings, and⁄or the creation of their own respective gTLDs, to the benefit of all Internet users. Launching the proposed gTLD will also generate increased competition in the online marketplace by adding incremental availability to the second-level domain pool.

Charleston Road Registry intends to apply for an exemption to the ICANN Registry Operator Code of Conduct and to act as the sole registrar for the proposed gTLD. Given that the proposed gTLD is exclusively intended for use in connection with Googleʹs services, Charleston Road Registry believes that there is a reasonable case for such an exemption. Should ICANN not approve this proposed exemption, Charleston Road Registry will facilitate a fair and equitable registrar process, providing open access to any registrar who meets ICANN accreditation guidelines.

18.b.ii.2. Differentiation

The proposed gTLD will clearly be differentiated from other gTLDs due to its purposefully limited scope. This differentiation includes: (1) uniqueness in terms of the users the proposed gTLD seeks to benefit; (2) a clear indicator that second-level domains within the gTLD offer a particular, targeted content; (3) and because the TLD will be associated with a Google offering, Internet users will immediately be able to rely on the quality of the product.

The gTLD will provide an authoritative environment for the provision of Google+ Hangouts offerings. New, higher quality products offered in the gTLD will also attract new users to the Google offering.

The .hangout gTLD will provide Google+ Hangouts with the opportunity to differentiate its Google+ Hangouts content from other online services by virtue of its branded gTLD. This signification is not currently available in the gTLD space.

The proposed gTLD will also encourage differentiation among users. Google’s services, including tools to improve and customize users’ unique Google+ Hangouts experiences, will provide users with new ways of distinguishing themselves from others.

18.b.ii.3. Innovation

The proposed gTLD is in itself innovative, as it seamlessly combines DNS services with other Google products and services. The proposed gTLD will promote further innovation by creating a new space for the categorization and classification of online content. It will also provide services to users that will enable them to improve their interaction with Google+ Hangouts on the Internet. This environment delivers value to the public by introducing new and differentiated content, goods and services.

The proposed gTLD, .hangout, will promote innovation by encouraging competitors of Google+ Hangouts to provide linkages that fulfill the same need as Google+ Hangouts plans to offer to select users. Google may choose to innovate within its portfolio of web spaces and introduce distinguishing feature(s) that will further crystallize the relationship between content offered in the gTLD and the Google brand and reputation. This will likely invite user comparison among domains, encouraging other service providers to innovate new features and services as a point of differentiation.

Charleston Road Registry considers the proposed gTLD to be a platform for innovation with existing and future Google products and services. Charleston Road Registry, therefore, may incorporate these new offerings into future registry service options (subject to the ICANN approval process), infusing new ideas into the gTLD for the betterment of the public.

Google consistently aims to improve upon technologies that connect people with information, as demonstrated by a proven record of innovation and iteration. Charleston Road Registry strives to offer its users this same level of continuous development in advancing its management and operation of the gTLD, engendering an improved user experience.

18.b.iii. User Experience

Charleston Road Registry will strive to provide the highest level of user experience through operational stability, security and performance to serve the interest of users in the proposed gTLD. Charleston Road Registry is uniquely positioned to provide this level of experience given its relationship with Google; per its SEC filings, Google invested over $3 billion in its IT infrastructure in 2011 and maintains a record of excellence in infrastructure operations.

Google keeps user experience in mind with each new service it releases, from allowing users to personalize their Gmail accounts to providing small to medium businesses with tools customized for their specific needs. The proposed gTLD provides Google with a formal mechanism whereby it can continue to improve its services to address the ever-changing needs of all Internet users.

The proposed gTLD, furthermore, facilitates an improved online user experience by provisioning the DNS on users’ behalf and streamlining the process by which users are able to link to and make use of the Google offering.

The proposed gTLD, .hangout will provide Internet users with an improved Google+ Hangouts experience by allowing for select Google+ Hangouts usersʹ direct management of their offerings within the .hangout gTLD.

In focusing on the user, Google strives to provide the best user experience possible. Google will continue to operate under this principle when designing and providing new service offerings in the proposed gTLD. The proposed gTLD will provide users with improved customization services and facilitate additional opportunities to enhance their current and future experience with Google+ Hangouts.

The proposed gTLD will provide a more trusted and user-friendly environment where domain names and content related to the hangout gTLD can flourish. Charleston Road Registry seeks to have users deem the gTLD trustworthy and reliable and recognize it as an aggregated source of targeted goods, services, and information.

Lastly, the proposed gTLD improves the Internet user experience by creating greater structure and categorization on the Internet.

18.b.iv. Registration Policies

Because the sole purpose of the proposed gTLD is to associate domain names with the Google+ Hangouts product, Charleston Road Registry intends to apply for an exemption to the ICANN Registry Operator Code of Conduct and operate the gTLD with Google as the sole registrar and registrant. As the sole registrant, Google will have the opportunity to differentiate and innovate upon its Google+ Hangouts products and services through its use of the gTLD.

Given the proposed limited scope and use of the gTLD, Charleston Road Registry believes that there is a reasonable case for such an exemption. Should ICANN not condone this proposed exemption, Charleston Road Registry will make access to Registry Services, including the shared registration system, available to all ICANN-accredited registrars.

Charleston Road Registry believes that given its specific use related to Google+ Hangouts, the .hangout gTLD will best add value to the gTLD space by limiting all second-level domains solely to pointing to select Google+ Hangouts user pages. Google, as the sole registrant, will manage the second-level domain eligibility and allocation process. Only select users who meet Google+ Hangouts’ eligibility criteria will be eligible for a second-level domain within the gTLD.

Charleston Road Registry is committed to implementing strong and integrated intellectual property rights protection mechanisms. Doing so is critical to Google’s goals of model Internet citizenship and fostering Internet development, especially in emerging regions. Accordingly, Charleston Road Registry intends to offer a suite of rights protection measures which builds upon ICANNʹs required policies while fulfilling its commitment to encouraging innovation, competition and choice on the Internet.

18.b.v. Protection of Privacy and Confidential Information

Charleston Road Registry will strive to ensure the appropriate level of privacy and security will be met for its users. Although Google will be the only registrant (and is intended to serve as the only registrar for the gTLD as well), Charleston Road Registry and its provider of registry services, Google, have imposed measures to achieve this protection for their users; additional specifics regarding the practices for the registry include but are not limited to the following:

- Since Google will be the only registrant, personally identifying information regarding individual users will not be sent to or stored by the registry. Such data will remain on Google’s infrastructure used to provide the individual service, and is subject to Google’s existing privacy policy.

- Charleston Road Registry will attempt to prevent the misuse of WHOIS data for improper purposes such as spam, intellectual property theft or phishing. Charleston Road Registry will attempt to identify patterns of abusive usage of the WHOIS service and will appropriately use CAPTCHA, query throttling or other techniques to prevent information scraping.

- Google will restrict access to data and information systems maintained by the registry to a specific list of individuals involved with supporting the Google Registry system in production. Google will review this list on a periodic basis to ensure that the level of access granted to individuals is appropriate. Google uses two-factor authentication and other mechanisms to ensure that staff with access to user information are properly identified prior to using registry systems.

- In the event that other registrars are involved, registrar billing and payment information will not be stored alongside domain name registration information. All registrar billing and payment information will be stored in a PCI-compliant billing system similar to that used by Google Ads.

Beyond these specific mechanisms, both Charleston Road Registry and Google will govern its approach to privacy by the Google Privacy Policy. This policy applies to registrars, registrants and end users of registry services such as DNS zone publication and WHOIS data publication. The Privacy Policy is located at http:⁄⁄⁄policies⁄privacy⁄. Outreach and Communications Efforts

Once Google begins developing public-facing resources in its gTLD, it intends to inform the public about the gTLD and the opportunity for users to obtain domain space there through marketing and public relation investments.

Charleston Road Registry, in conjunction with Google, intends to promote gTLDs under its purview collectively, such that the public gains an awareness and understanding of new gTLDs and the availability of new second-level domain space on the Internet. Charleston Road Registry and Google believe that this approach will make the strongest impact in modifying consumer behavior and is the best path to achieving success for all new gTLDs collectively.

Charleston Road Registry and Google will reach out to the Internet community via a number of different outreach and communications methods and venues to deliver its mission and message to the public, including but not limited to: press briefings, videos posted on various Internet sites, blogs and other social media, and paid advertising. In addition, when developing resources for localized Internet registrars in different global regions, Google will use local marketing and communications platforms as needed.
gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.skiWild Lake, LLCdonuts.coView
Q18B CHAR: 8712

ICANN and the new TLD program share the following purposes:
1. to make sure that the Internet remains as safe, stable and secure as possible, while
2. helping to ensure there is a vibrant competitive marketplace to efficiently bring the benefits of the namespace to registrants and users alike.

ICANN harnesses the power of private enterprise to bring forth these public benefits. While pursuing its interests, Donuts helps ICANN accomplish its objectives by:

1. Significantly widening competition and choice in Internet identities with hundreds of new top-level domain choices;
2. Providing innovative, robust, and easy-to-use new services, names and tools for users, registrants, registrars, and registries while at the same time safeguarding the rights of others;
3. Designing, launching, and securely operating carefully selected TLDs in multiple languages and character sets; and
4. Providing a financially robust corporate umbrella under which its new TLDs will be protected and can thrive.

Donuts’ financial resources are extensive. The company has raised more than US$100 million from a number of capital sources including multiple multi-billion dollar venture capital and private equity funds, a top-tier bank, and other well-capitalized investors. Should circumstances warrant, Donuts is prepared to raise additional funding from current or new investors. Donuts also has in place pre-funded, Continued Operations Instruments to protect future registrants. These resource commitments mean Donuts has the capability and intent to launch, expand and operate its TLDs in a secure manner, and to properly protect Internet users and rights-holders from potential abuse.

Donuts firmly believes a capable and skilled organization will operate multiple TLDs and benefit Internet users by:

1. Providing the operational and financial stability necessary for TLDs of all sizes, but particularly for those with smaller volume (which are more likely to succeed within a shared resources and shared services model);
2. Competing more powerfully against incumbent gTLDs; and
3. More thoroughly and uniformly executing consumer and rights holder protections.

Donuts will be the industry leader in customer service, reputation and choice. The reputation of this, and other TLDs in the Donuts portfolio, will be built on:
1. Our successful launch and marketplace reach;
2. The stability of registry operations; and
3. The effectiveness of our protection mechanisms.


This and other Donuts TLDs represent discrete segments of commerce and human interest, and will give Internet users a better vehicle for reaching audiences. In reviewing potential strings, we deeply researched discrete industries and sectors of human activity and consulted extensive data sources relevant to the online experience. Our methodology resulted in the selection of this TLD – one that offers a very high level of user utility, precision in content delivery, and ability to contribute positively to economic growth.


Donuts will endeavor to provide a service level that is higher than any existing TLD. Donuts’ commitment is to meet and exceed ICANN-mandated availability requirements, and to provide industry-leading services, including non-mandatory consumer and rights protection mechanisms (as described in answers to Questions 28, 29, and 30) for a beneficial customer experience.


As noted, Donuts management enjoys a reputation of excellence as domain name industry contributors and innovators. This management team is committed to the successful expansion of the Internet, the secure operation of the DNS, and the creation of a new segment of the web that will be admired and respected.

The Donuts registry and its operations are built on the following principles:

1. More meaningful product choice for registrants and users;
2. Innovative services;
3. Competitive pricing; and
4. A more secure environment with better protections.

These attributes will flow to every TLD we operate. This string’s reputation will develop as a compelling product choice, with innovative offerings, competitive pricing, and safeguards for consumers, businesses and other users.

Finally, the Donuts team has significant operational experience with registrars, and will collaborate knowledgeably with this channel to deliver new registration opportunities to end-users in way that is consistent with Donuts principles.


This TLD will contribute significantly to the current namespace. It will present multiple new domain name alternatives compared to existing generic and country code TLDs. The DNS today offers very limited addressing choices, especially for registrants who seek a specific identity.


Donuts will provide innovative registration methods that allow registrants the opportunity to secure an important identity using a variety of easy-to-use tools that fit individual needs and preferences.

Consistent with our principle of innovation, Donuts will be a leader in rights protection, shielding those that deserve protection and not unfairly limiting or directing those that don’t. As detailed in this application, far-reaching protections will be provided in this TLD. Nevertheless, the Donuts approach is inclusive, and second level registrations in this TLD will be available to any responsible registrant with an affinity for this string. We will use our significant protection mechanisms to prevent and eradicate abuse, rather than attempting to do so by limiting registrant eligibility.

This TLD will contribute to the user experience by offering registration alternatives that better meet registrants’ identity needs, and by providing more intuitive methods for users to locate products, services and information. This TLD also will contribute to marketplace diversity, an important element of user experience. In addition, Donuts will offer its sales channel a suite of innovative registration products that are inviting, practical and useful to registrants.

As noted, Donuts will be inclusive in its registration policies and will not limit registrant eligibility at the second level at the moment of registration. Restricting access to second level names in this broadly generic TLD would cause more harm than benefit by denying domain access to legitimate registrants. Therefore, rather than artificially limiting registrant access, we will control abuse by carefully and uniformly implementing our extensive range of user and rights protections.

Donuts will not limit eligibility or otherwise exclude legitimate registrants in second level names. Our primary focus will be the behavior of registrants, not their identity.

Donuts will specifically adhere to ICANN-required registration policies and will comply with all requirements of the Registry Agreement and associated specifications regarding registration policies. Further, Donuts will not tolerate abuse or illegal activity in this TLD, and will have strict registration policies that provide for remediation and takedown as necessary.

Donuts TLDs will comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding privacy and data protection. Donuts will provide a highly secure registry environment for registrant and user data (detailed information on measures to protect data is available in our technical response).

Donuts will permit the use of proxy and privacy services for registrations in this TLD, as there are important, legitimate uses for such services (including free speech rights and the avoidance of spam). Donuts will limit how such proxy and privacy services are offered (details on these limitations are provided in our technical response). Our approach balances the needs of legitimate and responsible registrants with the need to identify registrants who illegally use second level domains.

Donuts will build on ICANN’s outreach and media coverage for the new TLD Program and will initiate its own effort to educate Internet users and rights holders about the launch of this TLD. Donuts will employ three specific communications efforts. We will:

1. Communicate to the media, analysts, and directly to registrants about the Donuts enterprise.
2. Build on existing relationships to create an open dialogue with registrars about what to expect from Donuts, and about the protections required by any registrar selling this TLD.
3. Communicate directly to end-users, media and third parties interested in the attributes and benefits of this TLD.