18(b) How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?
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|.GED||GED Domains LLC||View|
18.2 GED Domains LLC believes the proposed .GED gTLD will provide the following benefits:
A trusted online community for the nearly 800,000 individuals that take the GED® test every year and the millions more that aspire to attain a high school equivalency credential. The .GED gTLD will be the standard for vetted and verified GED® testing information, differentiating official websites from misleading websites. Individuals will now have greater access to information about the GED® testing program and know what information is coming from legitimate sources. With increased access, comes greater choice – individuals will be able to access products and services provided by a range of providers. Access won’t just be limited to what’s available at just their local education centers and programs.
It will provide states that are struggling with budgetary cutbacks the option of using standard GED Testing Service web pages to provide accurate and consistent information about the services they offer their constituents. By providing information that will be readily accessible to individuals, the states will be able to reach populations that they currently can’t reach because of the high cost of marketing to people in rural areas.
It will provide GED Testing Service partners and licensees with short and memorable Internet addresses to help offer their services to prospective candidates and distinguish them as legitimate service providers. These partners will have been vetted to ensure that the products and services they offer are legitimate, thus providing assurance to consumers on the purchases they make. Individuals interested in earning a high school equivalency credential are vulnerable to internet scams offering fake GED credentials or high school diplomas. Scams of this nature have been the target of numerous public protection suits by States Attorneys General and the GED Testing Service, itself.
There are literally thousands of community-based organizations underwritten by a variety of foundations that provide access to programs and funding for people wishing to complete their high-school education. These organizations often operate with limited visibility and both the programs and prospective students would benefit once a .GED gtld program is established.
It will minimize the need for defensive registrations because domain names will only be allocated by the registry after the identity of the registrant has been verified as a GED Testing Service partner⁄licensee.
18.2.1 What is the goal of your proposed gTLD in terms of areas of specialty, service levels, or reputation?
The primary mission and purpose of the .GED gTLD is to provide a trusted, verified, vetted, and intuitive online community to aggregate quality GED® test information and quality GED® products and services for candidates, consumers, states, and authorized licensees and partners. Through this initiative, the approximately one in five adult Americans (40 million) that lack high school credentials will have easy access to a trusted online community under the GED® brand, where the partners and licensees have been vetted. This innovation, that improves access and availability of the testing program, also puts candidates at risk for confusion regarding online testing scams
18.2.2 What do you anticipate your proposed gTLD will add to the current space, in terms of competition, differentiation, or innovation?
As a brand gTLD, the primary driving factors of .GED are differentiation and innovation. The success of the gTLD will not be measured by the number of domain names registered. Instead it will be measured by the level of consumer recognition and trust that is placed in the .GED gTLD. Using this benchmark, GED Domains LLC strives to build the consumer recognition and trust that rise to the level of that found in the .EDU and .GOV gTLDs.
Over the past seventy years the GED® test has been administered exclusively as a paper-based test. However, beginning in 2012, candidates are able to take a computer-based test at authorized test centers in many states, and we expect the whole GED® testing program to be available on computer nationwide by end of 2013. The .GED gTLD will ensure that candidates can trust the websites they are visiting, receive accurate information, and take the official GED® test that opens doors to college, training, and careers.
Through the .GED gtld program, legitimate providers of training materials will be able to market and sell their products and services to a broader base of consumers. Foundations and other not-for-profits will now be able to disseminate information about their programs more effectively. The benefits of the digital age will be brought to the GED® consumers in the form of access to reliable information and electronic forms of test preparation materials, all of which have been vetted by the organization responsible for the GED® testing program. With these innovations in place, we will allow a greater number of people to achieve their dreams of obtaining a high-school credential and get them on a path to pursuing higher education or a career.
GED Domains LLC believes that the .GED gTLD will provide a single trusted eco-system experience for the approximately 800,000 annual candidates, the more than 3,000 facilities that currently administer the test, and the thousands of other entities that provide test preparation services. This verified eco-system provides candidates with a single repository of information for test preparation, scheduling, and other services. This gTLD also provides a platform to reach other consumers that might currently be underserved and may not have access to the financial and technology education resources otherwise.
While the Internet has been a transformative technology to empower human interaction, learning and commerce, it has also empowered criminals that seek to steal and commit fraud. GED Testing Service has engaged in an outreach campaign with its partners and licensees to educate candidates about potential fraud regarding “online” testing facilities and while awareness of the fraudulent programs continues to grow, more perpetrators continue to emerge and consumers find themselves as victims to such scams. GED Domains LLC believes that a .GED gTLD will serve as a virtual foundation for this proposed trusted eco-system.
18.2.4 Provide a complete description of the applicant’s intended registration policies in support of the goals listed above.
Only partners and licensees authorized by GED Testing Service, the parent of GED Domains LLC, will be permitted to register domain names. This vetting will be done by GED Testing Service and will be part of a broader business and licensing agreement. As part of that licensing agreement businesses will be required to adhere to trademark usage and brand standards as well as proving that their products meet the standards set forth by the GED Testing Program to enhance the candidate experience. Only after this vetting has occurred will that entity be allowed to register a domain name with GED Domains LLC. In addition to this pre-validation, GED Testing Service LLC will incorporate post-registration safe guards to ensure ongoing monitoring and compliance with these requirements.
Because of this condition precedent, any registration and use requirements are more appropriately vested in these licensing agreements and not in a domain name registration agreement. Because GED® is a valuable brand whose protection is of paramount importance, any registration and use (e.g. trademark quality control provisions) must vest in these other agreements.
18.2.5 Will your proposed gTLD impose any measures for protecting the privacy or confidential information of registrants or users? If so, please describe any such measures
GED Domains LLC also intends to incorporate contractual language in its Registry Registrar Agreement (RRA) modeled after language which has been included in the template Registry Agreement and which has been successfully utilized by existing ICANN gTLD registry operators. Specifically, Registry Operator shall notify Registrar of the purposes for which Personal Data submitted to Registry Operator by Registrar is collected, the intended recipients (or categories of recipients) of such Personal Data, and the mechanism for access to and correction of such Personal Data. Registry Operator shall take reasonable steps to protect Personal Data from loss, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, alteration or destruction. Registry Operator shall not use or authorize the use of Personal Data in a way that is incompatible with the notice provided to registrars. Registry Operator may from time to time use the demographic data collected for statistical analysis, provided that this analysis will not disclose individual Personal Data and provided that such use is compatible with the notice provided to registrars regarding the purpose and procedures for such use
Notwithstanding GED Domains LLC’ commitment to operating in compliance with applicable rules and regulations regarding the protection of individual registrant’s private or confidential information, GED Domains LLC is proposing to prohibit the use of proxy⁄anonymous registration services that would mask the identity of registrants within the .GED namespace.
18.2.6 Describe whether and in what ways outreach and communications will help to achieve your projected benefits.
There have been over 18 million candidates that have earned their GED® test credentials since the program was first introduced in 1942, and there are nearly 800,000 candidates that take the test every year. GED Testing Service has an extensive network of partners and licensees that include but are not limited to state institutions, colleges, correctional facilities, faith-based organizations, literacy organizations, as well as for-profit educational and commercial institutions. The strength of the GED Testing Service partnership is that both ACE and Pearson are leading organizations in their respective fields, with a common focus on education. But the current ecosystem, while large, operates in a fragmented manner and the .GED gTLD program, along with the outreach associated with it, will help bind together the organizations currently serving this ecosystem.
Outreach and public awareness communications will be an integral part of the .GED gTLD benefits. The .GED gTLD will provide a trusted online community for all candidates to find, purchase, and use GED® test information from vetted partners and licensees, and for these partners to classify and market their materials as legitimate and differentiate their products from those being sold by entities perpetrating fraud. As the owner of the GED® brand and the testing program, GED Testing Service is the source of truth for all things related to the GED® program, and will market the existence of the gTLD program to consumers and partners. As more candidates learn about the .GED eco-system, it will lessen the chance that these individuals will find themselves the victims of online scams.
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