18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD
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The Sponsoring Organization, Scholarships.com, has been offering information about and tools for finding scholarships since 1999 and is keen to expand its services to include offering a gTLD that will aid not only students, parents and educators, but also those who would benefit from declaring the content of their website with a descriptive gTLD, “.scholarships”. Additionally, we have worked with several organizations to promote the adoption of digital applications for all organizations offering scholarships, as there are still many who employ a much more traditional, more difficult and time-consuming process. We have made allowances for this project since hearing about the opportunity and deciding to pursue it over a year ago, recognizing the opportunity to offer domains to the aforementioned scholarship providers. We feel that even those already offering their services and applications in a digital, web-based format would benefit from having a descriptive, industry-specific TLD.
Scholarships.com, LLC owns two federal trademark registrations with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the marks SCHOLARSHIPS.COM (Reg. No. 4,072,252) and SCHOLARSHIPS.COM and Design (Reg. No. 4,024,381) in International Class 35, in connection with displaying advertisements for others; online advertising and marketing services; placing advertisements for others; and providing space at a website for the advertisement of the goods and services of others. In addition, Scholarships.com, LLC currently owns a trademark registration in Benelux for the mark SCHOLARSHIPS (Reg. No. 912850) in connection with providing information services. Further, Scholarships.com, LLC owns domain name registrations for, and provides websites accessible via, the domain names scholarships.com, scholarship.com and scholarships.eu. Accordingly, Scholarships.com considers its intellectual property to be among its most valuable assets.
Over the last 13 years, Scholarships.com has established and fostered relationships with millions of students and parents, not to mention thousands of high schools, colleges, philanthropic foundations, community foundations, etc., all based on scholarships and their availability, publication and promotion. Our relationships with all of the aforementioned continue to grow, both in breadth and depth and, consequently, we have a very informed, fundamental understanding and expectation of this gTLD and its potential. Currently, we list the scholarships for scholarship providers of all kinds and ensure their information is current, constantly reviewing their listings as well as involving them in the process, encouraging them to update their information regularly so that we may continue to provide our site’s visitors with the most current, accurate information available on the internet. It would be a natural next step for us to register 2nd level domains to them and assist them in their implementation. We feel we know better than anyone the potential scope of this endeavor and are prepared to further the cause, making our proposed gTLD not just a reality but a wildly successful one. Those who register second level domains will benefit from the simplicity and exclusivity of the “.scholarships” domain, the eponymous repository for information relating to their scholarship program.
We understand the importance of this undertaking and the responsibility we would have, were we to be granted this gTLD and accept the responsibility not only to ICANN and the internet community, but also and perhaps even more importantly, to those registering 2nd level domains with us. As the registrant of the 2nd level domain “Scholarships.com” for nearly 13 years and holder of trademarks as well as service marks both in the US and Europe, we understand what is at stake for us and for the entire internet community. While we plan to further the efforts to promote and utilize this new gTLD, our primary concern is proper architecture and stability.
Our initial approach to the registration process would be to announce the availability of .scholarships 2nd level domains via our established network with the likelihood of employing several other, more large-scale methods to follow. We would consider the startup costs of the entire process an expenditure, basically, and endeavor to make the registration of 2nd levels accessible with the hope but not the requirement of one day covering the costs of operation and potentially earning a profit further down the road, perhaps becoming cash flow positive by our third or fourth year of operation. Our primary goal would be to make the gTLD accessible to those in the scholarship field. Over the next several years, we feel we will be able to register thousands of 2nd level domains, perhaps more. Afilias, whom we have contracted to run the backend operations would be consulted with regard to rules, policies and best practices to ensure proper handling of all 2nd level applications.
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