18(b) How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail
.bankfTLD Registry Services LLCView

The .bank gTLD will serve as a trusted destination on the Internet for banks, financial services organizations, consumers and other Internet users. The ability to process secure and trustworthy transactions is critical to most commercial entities and one of the desired goals for the community is to develop a model or template for trusted online commercial transactions. The pre-registration and screening conducted by FRS will serve the industry by allowing it to congregate under one umbrella gTLD. This presents consumers with clear choices in an environment that will encourage .bank registrants to be innovative and provide maximum value to consumers in their online experience, while providing significant competition to existing gTLDs.

Additionally, the proposed .bank gTLD will offer the following benefits to community members as well as consumers:
- Provide a trusted online marketplace for consumers seeking to access financial products and services;
- Provide FRS and its community members with short and memorable Internet addresses and improve navigation to products, services, advertising campaigns, public interest content, public awareness initiatives, etc.;
- Protect the namespace for the benefit of institutions, consumers and the overall banking community;
- Provide a variety of high value-added services through its backend registry services provider; and,
- Create an opportunity to design innovative online products and services for the financial service industry and its consumers.

In order to achieve these benefits, FRS will undertake the following:

- Registrations will not be granted absent a legitimate claim to applied-for names;
- Formal eligibility rules, validation procedures and mediation processes will be implemented;
- Requirement of two-factor authentication for better control of the .bank gTLD;
- Prohibition of proxy registrations to ensure transparency and maintain identifiable registrants; and,
- Incorporation of post-registration safeguards, both active and passive, to ensure that registrants continue to act in compliance with the terms and conditions of registration.

In addition to the benefits listed above, FRS will employ a comprehensive approach toward mitigating abusive and⁄or infringing registrations within the .bank gTLD modeled in part after the tapestry approach first proposed by ICANN’s Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT). This tapestry approach includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements: registrant eligibility; name selection criteria; content and use restrictions; escalated compliance,
response and takedown procedures; annual Registry and Registrar audits; prohibition against proxy registration; semi-annual Whois verification that requires affirmative acknowledgement from the Registrant; and enhanced security⁄technical requirements for the Registry, Registrars and Registrants. Each of these individual elements is described in greater detail in FRS’ response to question 30.

18(b)(i) What is the goal of your proposed gTLD in terms of areas of specialty, service levels, of reputation?

FRS, founded by organizations that hold a leadership role in the banking industry, is uniquely situated to understand the needs and goals of second-level domain registrants in the banking industry. One of its goals is to eliminate confusion for Internet users when they encounter a .bank website; it will be a legitimate member of the banking community, committed to a trustworthy commercial transaction experience for its clients and consumers.

FRS will continue to work with the financial services industry to ensure that the .bank gTLD has an excellent reputation and is able to deliver the products and services necessary for banks, financial services organizations and consumers. It will ensure the highest service levels within .bank by partnering with providers with known track records and experience in this space. One such vendor is Verisign, the current registry operator for .com and .net. Additional vendors will be vetted to ensure that underlying philosophies and approaches for the operation of .bank are aligned.

Maintaining the highest standards within the gTLD will give FRS the opportunity to take a proactive approach to protecting intellectual property rights and fostering a safer online experience for all Internet users. In addition to providing consumers with short, memorable, and intuitive domain names to help the customer navigate the .bank gTLD, FRS envisions best in class safeguards to minimize potential phishing or pharming practices that currently plague consumers, including, customers of financial institutions. This proposed ecosystem will be built in cooperation with members of the global banking community and with efforts to work in conjunction with their corresponding national regulatory agencies.

18(b)(ii) What do you anticipate your proposed gTLD will add to the current space, in terms of competition, differentiation, or innovation?

FRS’ primary driving factor is to provide a vetted and therefore, more secure online environment for businesses and consumers to engage with the banking community. The success of the gTLD will not be measured by the number of domain names registered, but rather by the level of institutional and consumer recognition and trust placed in the .bank gTLD. Using this benchmark, FRS will strive to build recognition and trust that rises to a level meeting or
exceeding that found in the .edu and .gov gTLDs.

As noted above, FRS is committed to serving the banking community as it increasingly relies upon emerging technologies to securely deliver information between institutions and financial services to its wholesale and retail consumers. A .bank gTLD has the potential to serve as the cornerstone of this type of online strategy for the industry.

In addition to the education and outreach initiative discussed above, FRS is keen to continue its work with ICANN and the broader Internet community in promoting security controls within gTLDs that require enhanced security measures such as financial gTLDs. FRS’ most recent effort in this area was the creation of security requirements formally proposed to the ICANN Board in December 2011 by the joint ABA and BITS (the technology policy division of
the Roundtable) Security Standards Working Group. Following its submission to ICANN, the document was referenced in question 30 of ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook as an illustrative example of an independent set of security requirements. FRS will contractually incorporate these requirements into both its Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA) and the end Registrant Registration Agreement to ensure that it has the legal means to enforce these obligations.

Further, as FRS invests in expanding the domain name space through the establishment of a .bank gTLD, it will continue its education and advocacy efforts by working toward the prevention of cybersquatting, online fraud, phishing, and other malicious activities on the Internet. Outreach and communications with banks, bankers and the financial services community have already begun and will be critical to the success of this project. During the past four years, the ABA and Roundtable have communicated and provided education regarding the new gTLD program and possible impacts to the industry including domestic and international banking associations and regulators as well as ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). While registration and use of domain names by banking community members will be conditioned upon the requirements imposed by FRS, FRS intends to launch a series of informational portals within the .bank gTLD that will facilitate outreach and education amongst the community. Additionally, the extensive reach of the Roundtable and the ABA will be leveraged as broad outreach and communications vehicles that will continue to be a part of FRS’ communications strategy.

The creation of the .bank gTLD will provide the global banking community, more specifically banks, with the opportunity to explore and create innovative products and services that support the community in addressing the Internet based issues and losses caused by fraud and criminal activity referenced above. Again, the goal is to eliminate confusion for Internet users when they encounter a .bank website; it will be a legitimate member of banking community, committed to a trustworthy commercial transaction experience for its clients and consumers.

18(b)(iii) What goals does your proposed gTLD have in terms of user experience?

FRS will ensure that the .bank gTLD will create an enhanced user experience both for registrants and Internet users. FRS’ goal is to operate the .bank gTLD in a manner that instills trust and confidence in the domain names and websites associated with the gTLD. For users this means a small, specialized, highly controlled environment, free from the existing abusive behavior found in existing gTLDs.

18(b)(iv) Provide a complete description of the applicant’s intended registration policies in support of the goals listed above.

As noted above, FRS’s registration policies are intended to support its quest for a safe and secure framework for banks, financial services organizations, customers and consumers. These proposed registration policies include, but are not limited to, the following requirements: registrant eligibility; name selection criteria; content and use restrictions; escalated compliance, response and takedown procedures; annual Registry and Registrar audits;
prohibition against proxy registration; semi-annual Whois verification that requires affirmative acknowledgement from the Registrant; and elevated security⁄technical requirements for the Registry, Registrars and Registrants. Each of these individual elements is set forth in greater detail in FRS’ response to questions 28, 29 and 30.

FRS takes its responsibilities to its community seriously and it is essential that registrations only be permitted by verified members including:
- State or regionally chartered and regulated banks
- Nationally chartered and regulated banks
- Associations whose members are comprised of chartered and regulated banking entities
- Organizations that are majority controlled by chartered and regulated banks or financial holding companies
- Entities whose operations are principally dedicated to serving banks (if approved by the FRS Board)
- Specialized organizations (e.g., research or risk coordination) (if approved by the FRS Board)

As part of the registration process, potential registrants must provide its registrar with the following

information:
- Full legal name
- Business address
- Professional title of representative of the administrative contact of the potential registrant
- Business name
- Point of contact within the business who can verify their representation of the business
- Phone
- Email
- Another Proof of identity necessary to establish that the registrant is an eligible member of the .bank gTLD community
- For banking companies, the regulatory agency issue its charter or license
- For organizations that are majority controlled by chartered and regulated banks or financial holding companies, list and proof of its owner(s)
- For entities whose operations are principally dedicated to service banks (if approved by the FRS Board); corporate operating agreement
- For specialized organizations (e.g., research or risk coordination) (if approved by the FRS Board); a copy of its corporate operating agreement if for profit or its mission statement if non-profit

Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements and have been authenticated as a legitimate member of the community will then be able to register their domains in .bank. Domains initially registered in the .bank gTLD must be registered trademarks, trade names or other service marks owned by the registrant. FRS will audit approved registrants and their strings to ensure compliance with all applicable eligibility and use requirements.

18(b)(v) Will your proposed gTLD impose any measures for protecting the privacy or confidential information of registrants or users? If so, please describe any such measures.

The protection of privacy and confidential data is of paramount importance, especially in an industry as highly regulated as banking. Not only will the registry have its own set of measures, but each individual institution or registrant will remain compliant with existing laws and regulations in place regarding privacy and the protection of customer data. FRS will in part accomplish this through the inclusion of contractual language in its RRA that is modeled after similar language from Registry Agreements of existing ICANN gTLD registry operators. Specifically, some of this language shall include the following:

- Registry Operator shall notify the Registrar of the purposes for which Personal Data submitted to Registry Operation by Registrar is collected, the intended recipients (or categories of recipients) of such Personal Data, and the mechanism for access to and correction of such Personal Data.
- Registry Operator shall take reasonable steps to protect Personal Data from loss, misuse, unauthorized disclosure, alteration or destruction.
- Registry Operator shall not use or authorize the use of Personal Data in a way that is incompatible with the notice provided to registrars.
- Registry Operator may from time to time use the demographic data collected for statistical analysis, provided that this analysis will not disclose individual Personal Data and provided that such use is compatible with the notice provided to registrars regarding the purpose and procedures for such use.

Notwithstanding FRS’ commitment to operating in compliance with applicable rules and regulations regarding the protection of individual registrants’ privacy or confidential information, FRS will prohibit the use of proxy registration services that would mask the identity of registrants within the .bank gTLD.


18(b)(vi) Describe whether and in what ways outreach and communications will help to achieve your projected benefits.

Outreach and communications with banks, bankers and the financial services community will be critical to the success of this project and have already begun by FRS. Over the past four years, FRS, through the activities of the ABA, Roundtable and founding members have communicated and provided education regarding the new gTLD program and possible impacts to the industry including domestic and international banking associations and regulators as well as ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Current conversations with and among bankers and members of the industry include ways to reach the global community and build an infrastructure that includes all members of the banking community, including regulators. Ultimately, a communications strategy and plan will be implemented by FRS and its Board to guide its efforts. Advisory groups and committees will also be consulted to ensure continued alignment.

FRS sees the potential for the .bank gTLD to play a large role in the banking community’s future online strategy. The adoption of new gTLDs and the response from search engines in the marketplace, all of which will influence the communication and usage strategies for the gTLD are uncertain. However, FRS anticipates a phased-in approach to using and promoting the .bank gTLD that will be fleshed out in its communications strategy and plan.

While registration and use of domain names by banking community members will be conditioned upon the requirements imposed by FRS, FRS intends to launch a series of informational portals within the .bank gTLD that will facilitate outreach and education amongst the community. Additionally, the extensive reach of the Roundtable and the ABA will be leveraged as broad outreach and communications vehicles that will continue to be a part of FRS’ communications strategy.

Similar gTLD applications: (1)

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail
.insurancefTLD Registry Services LLCView