18(c) What operating rules will you adopt to eliminate or minimize social costs?

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail
.walesNominet UKView

Nominet is committed to ensuring that dot WALES will be a high quality, safe and secure space which maximises benefits and minimises consumer harm. We will adopt a range of rules relating to registration, registrar management, expiry, intellectual property protection, prevention of abuse and malicious behaviour to ensure that the dot WALES TLD meets its objective as a trusted, safe, and credible space. We will ensure registration procedures are simple and quick to use, operating on a first-come, first-served basis subject to the registration policy previously outlined, while at the same time mitigating potential harms, such as:

- Excessively high end-user prices which impose unnecessary cost on users wishing to purchase domains and⁄or deter take-up and use of the new domain;
- Use of the TLD for illegal purposes such as phishing, pharming, distribution of malware, online fraud and identity theft;
- Harm caused to third parties through infringement of their intellectual property rights.

We will mitigate these potential harms through the following actions:

Pricing and route to market

It is not in registrants’ interests for dot WALES domains to be available at excessively high, uncompetitive prices. Indeed registrants are likely to be put off from registering if prices are too high. Consumers could also be negatively impacted if high domain prices feed through into higher price of (for example) e-commerce services.

Nominet is committed to a pricing model in which wholesale charges for dot WALES domains are set at a level which is competitive with comparable charges for existing mass market gTLDs. Given that this is crucial to the success of dot WALES we do not think it is necessary to make binding contractual commitments on future pricing but we will, as required by the Registry Agreement, offer registrants advance notice of price changes.

Retail prices paid by registrants are, of course determined by the registrar market, to which the wholesale charges set by the registry are only an input. We are committed to ensuring the broadest and most competitive registrar channel for dot WALES. As well as working through all ICANN-accredited registrars who wish to sell the dot WALES product, Nominet also intends, via a subsidiary, to become an ICANN accredited registrar itself for the purpose of offering an alternative mechanism to purchase dot WALES domains for non-ICANN accredited registrars. (Nominet has around 3,000 registrars for the sale of .uk domains and these registrars will be able to choose whether to register through any of ICANN’s accredited registrars that wish to offer dot WALES domains including Nominet’s registrar subsidiary. This subsidiary will sell registrations on competitive terms only through resellers; Nominet does not intend to become active itself in the retail market.)

We will offer 1-10 year variable registration periods in line with standard practice. In addition, we have set aside in our model appropriate funds to provide additional marketing effort to promote the new domain. This may take the form of assistance with the development and delivery of specific marketing campaigns by the channel, or it could take the form of a quantity discounting arrangement as an introductory incentive to registrants.


Effective sunrise processes

The dot WALES registry will deploy a staged sunrise process before making the domain names available for general registration on a first-come, first-served basis. The trademark claims service mandated by ICANN to provide notice to potential registrants of existing trademark rights, as well as notice to rights holders of relevant names registered will operate throughout all phases and for the first 60 days of general registration.

The sequential order of availability for dot WALES domains will be as follows:
(1) Sunrise period for both trademarks in the ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse and other registered trademarks enforceable in the UK;
(2) Sunrise period for unregistered rights (also known as “passing off” rights) enforceable in the UK;
(3) Landrush for premium domain names open to all applicants; and
(4) Landrush open to all other applicants.

Participation in each stage will be contingent on meeting the eligibility requirements for dot WALES.

Phase (1) will be open to those parties with registered trademark rights. Parties who wish to take part in this phase will have the option of either registering their rights at the ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse, or going through a dot WALES-specific trade mark validation process. Phase (2) will be open to parties with legally enforceable unregistered rights; we will require an affidavit from a qualified intellectual property lawyer confirming that they believe such unregistered rights exist. The landrush at phase (3) will be for previously identified “premium” domain names and will be open to anyone who can fulfil the registrant requirements for dot WALES explained earlier in this answer, regardless of whether they have any prior rights in a name. Phase (4) will be open only to parties based in Wales. The premium names will have been identified at an early point and reserved for registration until this stage.

In the event that more than one valid application for the same domain name is received in a given phase, an auction will be used to determine who will be entitled to the domain name. In order to prevent unnecessary delay in moving to subsequent phases, auctions for a given phase will be held in parallel with subsequent phases, given that there is no detriment in doing so. Surpluses generated by the auction will be returned to communities in Wales in line with our not-for-profit business model.

Once these four phases have been completed, dot WALES domains will be made available on a first come, first served basis (subject to eligibility requirements).

Aside from the internal costs to the participants, and any costs charged by a supplier, for the first two phases, the registry will charge only an administrative fee to cover the verification of rights claims by independent experts. This fee will be calculated on a cost-recovery basis. For the landrush phase, participants will pay a minimal application fee, the purpose of which is to ensure that only genuine participants take part in any auction.

A marketing and communications programme to inform stakeholders and rights-owners will be deployed in advance of the launch of the dot WALES registry. This programme will be conducted in partnership with relevant community organisations to inform and promote the rules and mechanisms by which registrants will be permitted to register rights and 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 Clearinghouse. We understand the needs, concerns and priorities of stakeholders due to our considerable experience of stakeholder engagement and management from our dot UK operations. These stakeholders include government, businesses, registrants, registrars, law enforcement authorities, the internet community, and regulatory bodies. Nominet has developed tried and tested multi-stakeholder processes for consulting and engaging with stakeholders, using those processes 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 registry will use 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 the unintended consequences of a lack of awareness.

We will implement an effective policy for the protection of geographic names as required by the Governmental Advisory Committee. The registry will reserve all country names set out in Specification 5 to the draft Registry Agreement with ICANN (the “Reserved Names”). The Reserved Names will not be available for general registration at any point, whether before or after the launch of the dot WALES registry, regardless of any claimed trade mark or other rights. See our response to Q22 for further details.


Registration

Once in the general availability phase, as noted, we will operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Where two applications are received for the same domain name and both meet the registration policy and data quality requirements the application received first will succeed.

All applicants for a dot WALES domain names 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 Registry Operator 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 be obliged to ensure that registrant data is verified and correct, and regularly reviewed at appropriate times. We will have the option to incentivise registrars and will also have the option to impose financial and technical restrictions on poorly performing registrars.


Abuse: Detection and policy approach

Strong abuse policies on domains associated with criminal or malicious activity will ensure dot WALES is a safer and more secure internet space. We will seek to minimise any harm to consumers resulting from the use of dot WALES for criminal purposes.

While our registration policies will be designed to deter abusive registrations, this is unlikely to be 100% infallible, we will therefore adopt the following additional measures:

- A strong abuse policy which allows us to suspend domains where we are presented with information that they are being used for criminal purposes. This will be reinforced through contractual provisions with registrars and resellers.
- Full operational roll-out of DNSSEC.
- Co-operation with law enforcement authorities to develop ‘early warning’ and reporting systems.
- Dispute resolution (mediation) to enable third parties to effectively deal with allegations of IP infringement.

These measures are set out in more detail in our response to question 28.


DNSSEC

Nominet recognises the importance of DNSSEC in order to run a secure and reliable TLD. As a result we will provide two services in relation to DNSSEC:

- A fully DNSSEC enabled TLD that supports all DNSSEC RFCs; and
- An RFC compliant DNSSEC signing service. This will allow all dot WALES registrars to take advantage of Nominet’s DNSSEC signing infrastructure if they do not already have provision themselves. We believe that this will significantly increase DNSSEC take up.


IP rights protection

We are committed to providing a high level of protection for existing IP rights and this is a core objective of the registry. Our approach will go beyond the basic requirements laid out by ICANN in three key areas:

- We will extend the sunrise window to two months to ensure the maximum possibility is afforded to rights-owners to secure existing rights.
- We will afford protection not just to trademarks, but to other enforceable brand protection rights linked to Wales and established in UK intellectual property law.
- We will keep the costs of securing rights to a reasonable minimum. Any fees payable to secure rights under this process will be set on a cost-recovery basis. We will also offer a low-cost mediation process as an optional pre-cursor to the obligatory UDRP.

The key to successful rights protection will be extensive outreach amongst rights holders to raise awareness and explain the processes. Nominet is committed to an extensive programme of engagement and consultation ahead of the commencement of the rights protection window.

In addition to meeting our obligations to offer the UDRP, the registry will also provide registrants and complainants with a free mediation service administered by qualified mediators, giving users access to low-cost mechanisms to enforce their intellectual property rights.

Our proposals are set out in more detail in our response to question 29.


Data protection and privacy

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.

Similar gTLD applications: (1)

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail
.cymruNominet UKView