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

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail
.siteInterlink Co., Ltd.View

Numerous parties have expressed concerns over the introduction of the new gTLD program stating that new TLDs could harm consumer welfare due to consumer confusion. Trademark holders have also brought up the issue of new TLDs imposing additional costs due to the necessity of participating in “defensive” registrations.

Interlink believes that these concerns are valid and is confident that costs associated with these issues may be avoided by working together with the ICANN community to address the issues. The ICANN community has worked hard to implement new Rights Protection Mechanisms and rules for new TLDs that would minimize these costs. Interlink will fully comply with all consensus policies, including all ICANN required Rights Mechanisms, including:

 1. Trademark Clearinghouse
 2. Sunrise and Trademark Claims Process
 3. Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)
 4. Uniform Rapid Suspension URS
 5. Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP)
 6. Registration Restriction Dispute Resolution Procedure (RRDRP)

1. Trademark Clearinghouse

The trademark clearinghouse is a mandatory RPM that as been developed in order to serve as a central repository for information to facilitate other RPMs such as the Sunrise Period and Trademark Claims process. Though this RPM is still under development, Interlink has joined the Implementation Assistance Group (IAG) to monitor the progress and provide feedback on solidifying the policy for its implementation. In addition, the back-end registry services provider for .SiTE, Neustar, is actively playing a key role on the IAG to ensure that protections afforded by the clearinghouse and associated RPMs are feasible and implementable. Further information regarding the implementation of this mechanism can be found in reference to Question 29: Rights Protection Mechanisms.

2. Sunrise and Trademark Claims Process

The Sunrise Period is a mandatory launch phase that a registry is required to implement for a minimum of 30 days. As described above, the .SiTE Sunrise Period serves pre-launch phase in which eligible trademark owners have an opportunity to register second-level domains under the .SiTE TLD. Interlink has participated as a registrar, and a registrant in several sunrise periods, and its back-end registry service provider, Neustar has extensive experience in implementing sunrise registration periods, most recently under the .CO TLD. Interlink will build upon its own experience and the expertise of Neustar to ensure that a simple, seamless process is implemented.

The Trademark Claims process is tied into both the Trademark Clearinghouse and the Sunrise Period. The trademark claims process is also a mandatory RPM which is intended as means to provide ʺclear noticeʺ to a potential registrant if he⁄she attempts to secure a domain name that matches a trademark which is currently registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse. Though only required by ICANN to implement for 60 days during open registrations, Interlink believes that implementing the service over the life of the registry will greatly reduce the number of cybersquatted domain names and other cases of abuse in its zone. Interlinkʹs back-end provider, Neustar became the first TLD with a Trademark Claims service with the launch of the .BIZ TLD in 2001 and Interlink plans to work closely with Neustar to ensure the service is run smoothly.

The sunrise implementation process is described in more detail above, and in response to Question 29: Rights Protection Mechanisms. More information about Interlinkʹs implementation of the Trademark Claims process can be found in answer to Question 29: Rights Protection Mechanisms.

3. Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)

The UDRP is an ICANN Consensus Policy which was instituted in 1998. The UDRP provides trademark holders an alternative method to resolve domain name disputes. Interlink will monitor UDPR decisions regarding domains in the .SiTE zone and take the necessary steps to ensure that the decisions are implemented by its registrars. In the event that the registry is notified by a trademark owner that a registrar failed to implement a decision Interlink will investigate the claim and take action by either notifying the registrar of its obligations or by proactively implementing the decision itself.

4. Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS)

During the planning and policy discussion that took place in the past few years regarding the New gTLD Program, trademark owners identified that the UDRP may not be the most cost effective means to protecting trademark owners marks when there are hundreds of new TLDs in operation. Furthermore, the majority of UDRP cases were clearly cases of cybersquatting, however, the UDRP did not produce immediate results. The URS is the result of many discussions with rights holders and offers a more cost effective and speedy mechanism for trademark owners to enforce their rights.

The URS requires a greater deal of participation from the registry than the UDRP. Interlink is fully aware of the requirements involved in the URS and has been actively monitoring the discussions and the development of the RPM. In the event that a .SITE domain name is part of a URS proceeding, Interlink will follow the procedures outlined in the final policy.

According to the current draft procedures, Interlink will lock the name within 24 hours or receipt of the complaint from the URS provider in order to ensure the name is not transferred or deleted and to restrict all changes to the registration data. The name will continue to resolve as normal at this point.

Once a determination has been made, and the URS provider has received notification of such a decision, Interlink will act accordingly to implement the determination. Therefore, in the event of a decision for the complainant (trademark owner), Interlink will immediately suspend the name in accordance with the policy, currently for the balance of the registration period. Additionally, the name will no longer be allowed to resolve to the original website, thus the registry will change the nameservers to redirect to an informational page provided by the URS provider.

Finally, Interlink will take steps to ensure that the WHOIS information appropriately reflects the current status of the domain name. In doing so, Interlink will leave all the original registration data, except for the nameservers, in place, and clearly reflect that the domain name cannot be transferred, deleted, or modified for the remainder of the registration period.

The current draft policy states that there shall be an option for a successful complainant to the extent the registration period for one additional year at commercial rates.
Additional details regarding the implementation of the URS can be found in response to Question 29: Rights Protection Mechanisms

5. Other Rights Protection Mechanisms

Interlink will fully comply with the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP) adopted by ICANN as described in the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook and Specification 7 of the Registry Agreement and other rights mechanisms approved and implemented by ICANN.

AUP and WHOIS Accuracy

In addition to the implementation and compliance with proposed and existing rights protection mechanisms, Interlink will implement an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) (described above in answer to “iv”) that will effectively secure the registry’s rights to swiftly takedown abusive domain registrations.

According to Dennis Carlton’s study “Impact of New gTLD on Consumer Welfare,” new gTLDs introduced as a result of the application round in 2000, such as .info and .biz, indicates that the need for defensive registrations in new gTLDs is limited. Interlink is confident that proposed rights mechanisms listed above and enforcement of the AUP will be sufficient to minimize social costs resulting from abusive domain registrations.

i. How will multiple applications for a particular domain name be resolved?

The goal of the registry is to maximize the total utility which results from the creation of .SiTE. Multiple applications for names under the Founders Program will be handled by objectively reviewing the application against the criteria set forth in the RFP. At which time, the Registry shall make a final selection based on how well each applicant fulfilled the evaluation criteria.

Multiple applications for the same domain name in both the Sunrise and Landrush will respectively be resolved by an auction as described in section (iv) related to domain registration policies. The use of an auction to allocate names with multiple legitimate applications will benefit sunrise applicants because they will not have to rush in order to be the first to submit such an application. This also reduces the load to the systems as in past first-come, first-served launches, applicants have been known to place registration requests with several other registrars in order to optimize their chances of being the first in line.

Settling competing applications though an auction mechanism is more desirable than a first-come, first-served method. This is due to a number of factors; for example, sunrise applicants (trademark holders) should not have to rush to submit an application for a domain name. If an applicant is forced to try to be first in line, the applicant is likely to submit a registration request through multiple registrars. This causes a sub-optimal use of energy on behalf of the applicant, and causes unnecessary work on behalf of the registrars and registry. Another important factor in Interlinkʹs decision to settle competing applications through an auction mechanism is due to the assumption that the highest bidder has more desire for the name, therefore, the winning applicant is likely provide more utility to Internet users.

Below is a brief description of the auction policy:

During the Sunrise and Landrush policies described above, there is a possibility that multiple, legitimate applications will be submitted by interested parties. These applications are considered ʺcompeting applicationsʺ and will result in an auction as a means to identify which applicant the domain name is allocated to.

Interlink is still evaluating potential partners to handle web-based auctions for competing domain requests. All potential partners have several years of experience in the domain name industry and have processed Sunrise and Landrush launches for several TLDs in the past.)

The general rules of the policy are standard to auctions that have existed for recent TLD launches. Each participant of the auction will receive a notification a certain time prior to the start of the auction and a subsequent email on the day of the auction that announces the commencement of the bidding. The Auction management system will notify participants of any bid changes as well as any extensions to the length of the auction. The winner will be announced at the close of the auction period and the domain name will be allocated accordingly.

ii. Explain any cost benefits for registrants you intend to implement.

The Registry will clearly communicate its registry policies and launch plans to potential registrants directly as well as though partner registrars. The registry will give special rights to governments to register their geographic names (names and two letter codes on the ISO 3166-1 list) at the second-level. The registry will offer the first rights to these names for a period of no less than a year. This special provision for governments will ensure that they have first rights to register their names for a minimal cost from an ICANN accredited registrar rather than have to dabble in the speculative markets.

Interlink will also hold a Sunrise and Landrush period as described in part “iv” above. Interlink anticipates that the several competing applications may be submitted in both periods, and, therefore, proposes to implement an auction mechanism as a fair way to solve the issue of competing applications. A traditional first come first served mechanism will create more load for registrars as one prospective registrant may chose to place the same application for a domain name through several registrars. Then there is the issue of which connection hits the registry first for a certain name.

An auction at the early stages of a registry will benefit registrants by allowing them to purchase the domain name for much less that the cost that they would incur in the domain aftermarket. Furthermore, an auction will allow the users to place a value on the domain name. It can be assumed that the bidder who places the higher bid places a higher value on the domain name, and therefore will be more likely to develop the domain name to be beneficial for Internet users.

iii. Do you intend to make contractual commitments to registrants regarding the magnitude of price escalation?

As stated in draft registry agreement in the New gTLD Applicant guidebook, the “.Site” registry will commit to only adjusting prices based on market conditions and staying consistent with the current inflation rate. The issue of price increases will be adequately reviewed on a biannual basis.

Similar gTLD applications: (4)

gTLDFull Legal NameDetail
.moeInterlink Co., Ltd.View
.earthInterlink Co., Ltd.View
.kyotoAcademic Institution: Kyoto Jyoho GakuenView
.osakaInterlink Co., Ltd.View