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

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail
.nextdirectNext plcView


The new .nextdirect gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which Next plc (Next) can create and control domain spaces that promote its brand’ identity and authenticity. In this regard, the .nextdirect gTLD will be used by Next to provide information, services and resources to consumers in a way that promotes trust, convenience and utility. The .nextdirect gTLD will provide an authoritative internet space for Next, its affiliates and partners that are associated with the brand. Second and third level domains can then be utilised for marketing, sales and communication purposes, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.

Next is a UK based retailer offering quality clothing, footwear, accessories and homewares. Next distributes its products through three main channels, a chain with more than 500 stores in the UK and Eire (Ireland), a home shopping catalogue and a website with nearly 3 million active customers. Next also operates an international division with more than 180 stores worldwide and a growing website capability in more than 45 countries. In this regard, customer trust, brand recognition and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all of its business activities. Next direct is the home shopping branch of the Next business. 70% of Next’s home shopping business is now transacted online with over 2 million active direct customers in the UK. In this regard, innovation and trust in the online presence of Next is of paramount consideration in all business activities.

Business activities are increasingly conducted over the internet, allowing for greater levels of interaction between businesses and customers. As a result, both businesses and end users benefit from ease of interaction and a wider range of choices with lower transaction costs. However, the development in this arena in the current domain name system has exposed both businesses and consumers to increased criminal activities over the internet, including data breach, hacking and phishing. These sophisticated criminal activities cause reputational damage to businesses as internet users lose consumer confidence and trust with the businesses targeted by such criminal activities. The .nextdirect gTLD will facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with Next online, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.

Next’s mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. Next is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:

- Consumer Trust: the .nextdirect gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to Next and its affiliate entities, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .nextdirect domain names are trustworthy. As .nextdirect domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under Next’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .nextdirect domain space;

- Competition: the proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of domain names among prospective registrants. Instead it is anticipated to contribute to ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest through its operation focused on promoting consumer trust. Increased trust in .nextdirect gTLD will drive existing and new top level domain (TLD) registry operators to make improvements in mechanisms to improve consumer trust of their TLDs; and

- Consumer Choice: the proposed new gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting Next’s marketing efforts through its ability to create new second and third level domain names on demand. These names will provide the consumers with more choices for interacting with Next. As Next has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .nextdirect domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.

Given the restricted nature of the .nextdirect gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that a more limited number of domain names (200) will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 400 to 800 domain names as Next develops and implements new services and marketing campaigns.

As the new .nextdirect gTLD expands and evolves, Next will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet. Next will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to .nextdirect gTLD including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.

Next intends to create relevant domain names for use including product, services or geographic names in the second or third level domain names. In accordance with registration policy and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, Next will use geographic names to localise its websites in which it operates or intends to operate. The use of geographic names is intended to:

- connect internet users with relevant information as applicable to the territory; and

- comply with required rules and regulations in the national territory.

Next does not intend to utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level initially. However, as the use of the .nextdirect gTLD evolves, it is anticipated that Next will utilise IDNs within the .nextdirect domain space to allow internet users to engage with .nextdirect in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity.

Next is a well-recognised global brand with its “nextdirect” trademarks registered in the UK and the European Community for categories including, but not limited to, categories: 25 clothing, footwear and headwear and 35 retail services.

Further, Next has an extensive domain name portfolio including existing domain names with an exact match to the “nextdirect” trademark and the applied-for .nextdirect string in the following spaces:

- gTLDs: .com, .tel, .xxx

- country code TLDs (ccTLDs): .ae, .am, .az, .be, .bg, .cm, .cn, .co, .co.gg, .co.id, .co.il, .co.je, .co.nz, .co.uz, .com.az, .com.cn, .com.cy, .com.gi, .com.hk, .com.kg, .com.kz, .com.lv, .com.pk, .com.ro, .com.ru, .com.tw, .com.ua, .com.uz, .cz, .dk, .es, .eu, .fr, .gg, .gr, .hk, .hu, .ie, .in, .is, .je, .jp, .kg, .kz, .li, .lt, .lu, .lv, .md, .me, .nl, .no, .pl, .ro, .ru, .se, .si, .sk, .tw, .us, and .uz.

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