18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD
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The mission and purpose of dot WALES will be to provide an innovative, relevant and trusted internet top level domain (TLD) for the use and benefit of the citizens and businesses of Wales and the Welsh diaspora.
For Welsh businesses, organisations and individuals, a dot WALES domain will contribute to a sense of community and ‘togetherness’, reflecting community pride and unity, and offering scope to celebrate Wales’s unique culture.
In a study carried out as background to this application (see attachment Q46_Economic_Study.pdf) 70% of consumers and 59% of businesses believe Wales should have its own domain space. 70% of consumers also said they would prefer a dot WALES TLD to a dot COM extension. 40% of businesses surveyed said that a dot WALES domain name could help promote their business in Wales.
We expect significant business take-up for the promotion of key economic sectors in Wales, such as leisure, tourism, agriculture and the creative industries, to reinforce local preference purchasing, and for the purpose of branding and awareness-raising of Wales to the world at large. More detail on this is provided in our answer to question 18(b).
We also expect dot WALES to contribute positively to the development of the Wales brand and to wider recognition of that brand overseas. In this way it will support the Welsh Government’s work in raising the profile of Wales internationally to attract inward investment, to promote exports and to grow the Welsh economy.
Nominet is bringing forward this bid. Nominet is a not-for–profit company which has been successfully running dot UK, the fourth largest registry in the world, for over fifteen years. Nominet’s systems and processes are at the leading edge within the registry community and it takes a responsible approach to policy development resulting in greater levels of protection to registrants and other stakeholders. ICANN can be confident that it will comfortably meet or exceed all the relevant technical, operational and financial criteria set out in the application process.
Nominet will operate the dot WALES TLD on a not for profit basis with any surplus being reinvested in community projects in Wales.
Nominet has received the necessary statements of non-objection from the Welsh Government and from the UK Government. We have also received strong statements of endorsement from the Welsh Assembly and from a wide range of business and community organisations in Wales.
Nominet is bringing forward in parallel an application for dot CYMRU (Cymru is the Welsh language name for Wales). Although ICANN’s rules require that these two TLDs are submitted as separate applications, it is our intention to provide them as part of a single, bilingual registry operation which serves the needs of all the constituent communities in Wales.
The operating model for dot WALES will be an open TLD, primarily operating on a first come, first served basis, which is price-competitive with existing mass market TLDs. We will adopt an approach that effectively balances eligibility criteria with commercial sustainability which is most appropriate given Wales’s economic and cultural profile in the world.
Applicants for a dot WALES domain will be required to meet one of two registration criteria either (a) a validated postal address from a predefined list of postcodes associated with Wales; or, (b) complete an EPP extension field during their application setting out their affiliation with Wales. This affiliation need not be based on location of the applicant but instead their connection with Wales.
The geographical association (a) will be checked on application as part of a standard check for valid contact details for the domain applicant (see answer to Q28 for further details).
The registration policy ensures dot WALES is accessible to Wales-based businesses, organisations and individuals as well as those who have a connection with Wales, whether the Welsh diaspora or a company based outside Wales with a strong affinity to and customer base within Wales.
Policy development and implementation
We are committed to developing dot WALES policy through a multi-stakeholder model of engagement and consultation, in line with accepted internet industry best practice. The community of dot WALES stakeholders is broad, comprising Wales-specific communities who will be the key users and registrants of the domain space, in addition to sector or issue specific communities who represent particular concerns. In addition to addressing communities of interest such as those concerned with rights protection, law enforcement and so on, policy development for dot WALES will need to address legitimate community aspirations in relation to the promotion of Welsh economic development, language and culture.
We recognise that consideration and implementation of the processes and mechanisms for facilitating community engagement is central to effective policy making. These are integral to ensuring that legitimate concerns have an opportunity to be heard, consultation processes are perceived as open and transparent, and to enable the registry to manage the various competing interests of stakeholders. We have already started informal discussions of the concept and objectives of the dot WALES namespace amongst stakeholders.
We have tracked the evolution of the new TLD programme and we believe that this TLD opportunity fits very closely with ICANN’s stated aims. Dot WALES increases competition and choice, promotes innovation and addresses new market needs, whilst at the same time it ensures that any potential harms to consumers and businesses are minimised.
We draw your attention in particular to the extensive measures, over and above those required by the application process that we are proposing to put in place to secure businesses’ existing rights and to protect consumers from harm. For example, we are proposing extended sunrise phases for registered rights holders and unregistered rights holders, approaches that will minimise abusive registrations and policies that will address such registrations if they do occur. These are set out in more detail in the remainder of this question and in the answers to the relevant questions, 28 and 29 in this application.
Similar gTLD applications: (1)
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