18(b) How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?
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Goal of dot WALES
The goal of the dot WALES domain is to provide an innovative, relevant and trusted TLD for the use and benefit of the citizens and businesses of the country of Wales.
A successful dot WALES domain will deliver high levels of service and a trusted reputation for users. It will enjoy significant local market penetration and relevant local content, used by businesses, organisations and individuals to promote their association with Wales. There will be high levels of domain use, rather than speculative or defensive registrations and registrations will therefore be sustainable and successful in the long term, with high levels of domain renewals.
What dot WALES will add to the current space
In developing the business case for the dot WALES TLD, Nominet has been informed substantially by existing research which shows that internet users have a strong preference for domain names which they perceive as being local to them. We believe that this is because the perception of localness leads to a feeling of trust, which is particularly important when the user is entering into e-commerce or other online financial transactions.
We believe that establishment of a dot WALES TLD will will enhance levels of trust benefitting the 3 million strong Welsh community, which is not currently served by a Wales-specific geographic TLD.
The dot WALES TLD is being designed to provide a low-cost and open registry which is highly competitive with existing gTLDs and ccTLDs. We expect that the dot WALES TLD will be actively used by the Welsh people and businesses active in Wales, and will take a material share of the market for new domain name registrations (across all TLDs) in Wales. This is entirely in line with our mission to serve the needs of the people and businesses of Wales.
An economic study was commissioned in 2011 from consultancy firm LE Wales to examine the costs and benefits of introducing dot WALES under the new gTLD programme. A copy of the study is provided attached to Question 46 in attachment Q46_Economic_Study.pdf.
The study indicates that:
- The majority of Welsh consumers and businesses that expressed an opinion think that Wales should have its own domain space. 70% of internet users believe that Wales should have its own domain space and 70% of consumers prefer a dot WALES domain name to a dot COM domain name.
- Around 40% of business respondents thought that a domain name for Wales could help promote their business in Wales and 30% considered that a dot WALES domain name could promote their business outside Wales.
- Up to £2bn of household expenditure could be influenced by the use of a dot WALES domain name (that is to say, it could be diverted from providers making use of other domain names);
A dot WALES domain, reflecting well-established consumer preference for locally branded goods and services, could lead to additional e-commerce activity and offline transactions for businesses registering under the new domain. If a separate domain for Wales were to increase e-commerce sales by just 1%, for example, then this would be equivalent to an annual sales increase of £195 million.
The study noted that the potential benefits to business would vary by economic sector. Particular benefits could be expected to accrue in strategically important sectors to the Welsh economy such as leisure and tourism, agriculture and the creative industries.
As well as benefits flowing directly to businesses adopting the new domains through increased sales, and to consumers through increased choice of domain and recognition of ‘local preference’ in purchasing, the new TLD will generate significant indirect benefits for Wales. The marketing and branding opportunities arising from the use of dot WALES would also potentially dovetail with known aims of the Welsh Government to promote worldwide recognition of and inward investment to Wales.
The dot WALES TLD will work as a positive force in Wales, and through strong and effective policies it will establish a high quality and trusted space that delivers social and economic benefits to Wales. The high standards of the new TLD will act as a best practice benchmark, encouraging competition and thus benefiting registrants and users at an international level.
The dot WALES domain will employ robust and effective abuse prevention and mitigation policies that minimise the prospect of abusive registration in the first instance, supported by effective measures to respond to malicious and harmful activities in the domain. These policies will define the types of behaviours that would be considered unacceptable in the dot WALES TLD and the process by which such domains might be suspended. In addition, through the responsible management of the TLD in line with ICANN consensus policies, we will ensure high levels of service for registrants of dot WALES domains.
Dot WALES will be an open registry and we will operate a ‘first come, first served’ policy to allocate domains. This will be underpinned by validation procedures enforced by both the registrar and the registry to minimise abuse. These will be proportionate in scope to minimise undue costs on registrants, but to promote swift identification and suspension of domains associated with rights infringement and malicious use.
To keep costs in terms of registrants’ time to a minimum, we intend to make the registration process as simple, efficient and easy to use as possible. We will deploy several ICANN compliant registration tools in conjunction with the registrar and resale channels to enable this.
Registrants will also be asked to either:
(a) supply a verifiable postal address from a predefined list of postcodes associated within Wales; or,
(b) provide a statement (in an EPP extension field) briefly explaining their connection with Wales and reasons for wanting to make use of a dot WALES domain name. The information supplied in this field will be published on the WHOIS.
There will be two exceptions to our ‘first come, first served’ approach. The first relates to measures allowing protection for existing rights (please refer to our responses to Questions 18c and 29 for further details). The second concerns the potential to auction a specified number of “premium” domain names. Our business model currently envisages the publication of a premium names list for auction in line with an approach which has been successful and uncontroversial in previous domain launches.
All applicants for a dot WALES domain name will be contractually required to provide complete and accurate WHOIS data. Verification will be undertaken by the registrar in the first instance and enforced through the registry⁄registrar agreement. The registrar shall be contractually responsible for verifying the quality of the registrant data. Nominet will also conduct proactive validation checks on the name and address of all registrants.
We believe this will deter criminals from registering under the new domain and will ensure a high accuracy of WHOIS data from the outset, thus helping law enforcement and rights holders to take action against abuses if these occur. Registrars will also conduct regular post registration checks on WHOIS data quality as required by the WHOIS Data Reminder Policy.
Registrant personal information
We are committed to host data in the UK with off-shore back-up (within the European Union) and to be answerable and operate the business in jurisdiction.
We will ensure that data supplied by registrants is protected in accordance with all applicable laws (specifically the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and the EU Data Protection Directive which informed it), including through an appropriately designed WHOIS implementation.
We will ensure that there is broad market awareness of the dot WALES domain via online and more traditional media to ensure stakeholders know about and understand the benefits of using the TLD.
A marketing and communications programme to inform stakeholders and rights-owners will be deployed in advance of the launch of the dot WALES TLD in partnership with community organisations to inform and promote the rules and mechanisms by which registrants will be permitted to register rights and acquire dot WALES domains. This will encourage engagement from rights owners to either take up their rights at low cost by registering a domain or to ensure that their trademark is registered in the clearing house.
Nominet has considerable experience of stakeholder engagement and management, which ensures that we understand the respective needs, concerns and priorities of stakeholders. These include government, business, registrants, registrars, law enforcement, internet community, regulators. Nominet has developed proven multi-stakeholder processes for consulting and engaging with stakeholders, using them to inform the way in which policies and rules are developed and reviewed in order that costs are minimised and benefits maximised.
Additionally, the dot WALES TLD will utilise mechanisms to raise awareness through proactive contact with business and industry stakeholders who are registered companies through the UK’s Companies House to advise and assist with their decision-making, limiting unintended consequences of a lack of awareness.
Similar gTLD applications: (1)
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