18(b) How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?
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As a regional TLD, .SAARLAND will in many ways function (and be perceived) as a “miniature ccTLD”, e.g. a local address space targeted at and representing a specific community.
The new .SAARLAND gTLD will create a new online name space for the regional community of the Saarland and its people, allowing businesses to provide local services and regional organizations, individuals and initiatives to show their affiliation with their home state within a regionally defined online presence that will be available for internet users worldwide. Being a regional domain extension for all Saarland people, the TLD will be a home on the Internet, strengthening the community of Saarland’s citizens and friends.
The spirit of community of the inhabitants and friends of the Saarland will benefit from the new name space. DotSAARLAND GmbH, The Applicant, expects that the TLD name space will evolve into a virtual mirror of the state, its people and friends as well as all those who do business in or around the state and provide content specifically of interest to the Saarland community. The inhabitants of the German federal state of Saarland and its neighboring areas, friends of the Saarland and former Saarlandians will be able to express their regional roots by registering domain names in the .SAARLAND TLD and creating locally relevant content according to their individual needs and interests. Domain names that were formerly unavailable in other TLDs will become available and make it easier to target a locally relevant audience. By the same reasoning, a .SAARLAND domain name will make locally targeted or relevant content easier to find, as it is expected that search engines will at least partially refocus on offering targeted and localized results for individual search queries, i.e. offering specific regional results. Registrants will therefore benefit from their greater visibility to their target audience.
Closely cooperating with the Saarland state government the applicant aims to transfer the visibility of the Saarland into the virtual realm, showcasing the position of the Saarland as a technology-leader within Germany, highlighting its distinctiveness and originality and promoting the image of the Saarland as an innovative and progressive state online, please find press commentaries attached as Q21b_fig4_press_commentary.pdf, documenting the wish for the own TLD of Saarland.
By implementing the statesʹ request to reserve a number of relevant domain names for government agencies, the Applicant will ensure that government agencies, cities and public institutions can offer their services and information at a distinctive, easy to find place, thereby promoting e-government initiatives and easier access.
.SAARLAND will implement a Founders Initiative to ensure that reserved premium domain names with high local or generic relevance can be used to provide the best service possible to internet users. An independent jury with representatives from local institutions, organizations, and initiatives organized in the dot Saarland e.V. (registered association - independent from dotSaarland GmbH) will review applications for the domain names that will be initially reserved for the Founders Initiative and determine which proposal promises to provide the greatest benefit to the local community in a fair and neutral process.
A. What is the goal of your proposed gTLD in terms of areas of specialty, service levels, or reputation?
.SAARLAND aims to become a virtual home for all people living in or near the geographic Saarland region as well as everyone doing business in the region. The TLD will aim at providing a common address for local content for the regional community. To achieve this aim, the Applicant recognizes that a positive reputation of the TLD is essential.
The TLD will provide a valuable service at a fair price to people who are interested in the Saarland lifestyle, values, and culture.
We aim to create a positive reputation and clean and safe image to internet users. As a proliferation of abusive registrations or abusive use in a zone can be highly detrimental to the reputation of the zone in general, the Applicant has proposed and will rigorously enforce the anti-abuse mechanisms described in the answer to question 28. It is however estimated that the TLD will not become a primary target for the most common types of abusive use due to its regional outreach and comparatively small target audience.
.SAARLAND aims to be a building block for the umbrella brand “Saarland” promoted by the local state government by using .SAARLAND domain names to promote tourism, as well as local businesses and brands, and thereby further strengthening its reputation as the virtual home of the region on the internet.
To further maintain a positive reputation, the Applicant has in cooperation with the local administration developed a blacklist of domain names that will not become available for registration.
B. What do you anticipate your proposed gTLD will add to the current space, in terms of competition, differentiation, or innovation?
From observation of proposed new gTLD applications and domain industry knowledge, the Applicant expects that with the new gTLD program, a new landscape of regional gTLDS will evolve as an alternative to the current generic Top Level Domains, similar in many ways in its outreach to the existing .CAT gTLD. As a part of this new landscape the .SAARLAND TLD will enable registrants to distinguish their site as a local web site, and allow internet users to find regionally relevant sites more easily.
The applicant expects that .SAARLAND will not compete with existing TLDs, but rather supplement the German and French speaking ccTLDs such as .fr,.de, .at and .ch due to its regional outreach. The applicant does not expect that domain names in other TLDs will be replaced by .SAARLAND domain names, the new name space will rather open up new domain names for local initiatives, individuals and businesses that are currently unavailable under other TLDs. By addressing a .SAARLAND domain name, internet users will be able to navigate intuitively to specific, regional sites that provide local services or information. Domain names under a .SAARLAND TLD demonstrate a definitive regional perspective and would not likely be confused with domain names in currently existing TLDs.
.SAARLAND is intended to provide a trustworthy online infrastructure for users within the region or users searching specifically for content related to the region. Furthermore, a number of .SAARLAND domains will be reserved for the state and thus provide people an easy to recognize platform to interact with public offices. The TLD will enable the local community to search for relevant content and promote themselves and their interests, to provide a platform for businesses and tourism and in addition provide a trustworthy platform for public offices and official information.
The allocation of premium domain names through a founders initiative is directed at creating value for the internet user by providing relevant information at those internet addresses where the internet user expects them to be.
All areas of interest named above will be found under the umbrella of .SAARLAND and thus users will find a well-organized and comprehensive network connecting public administration, businesses, and individuals.
Domain usage guidelines, rights protection mechanisms and abuse policies, as well as strong security policies will be established and enforced to constantly reinforce the .SAARLAND user experience and the positive reputation of the name space.
D. Provide a complete description of the applicant’s intended registration policies in support of the goals listed above.
.SAARLAND domain names can be registered by everyone just like most current gTLDs are open and unrestricted. We believe that any restriction of the circle of eligible registrants will in all likelihood limit the potential for innovation in the use of domain names in this TLD. Bad faith registrations violating third party rights and other illegal uses will not be tolerated and handled according to the respective policies.
The dotSaarland GmbH and Association will provide a fair delegation process for all .SAARLAND domain applications. To guarantee a transparent and structured domain allocation, the launch plan for .SAARLAND schedules four different phases. The time frame set for the whole launch process is 89 days.
To encourage the public attention for .SAARLAND, a Founders Program will be carried out. This gives prospective founders the opportunity to register a premium .SAARLAND domain by presenting a binding concept for the use of the domain name. As these domains will be delegated first and are connected to a promising utilization, they will help to promote the idea of .SAARLAND among all Saarland citizens and friends.
We will furthermore reserve a number of domain names for the exclusive use of the state government and its local divisions. Domain names with a high potential for illegal use or abuse will be blacklisted and not be made available for general registration. We will also reserve several domain names for exclusive registry use. We are working with the state government of the Saarland to ensure that all domains which need to be reserved or blocked are defined prior to the .SAARLAND launch window.
In the .SAARLAND Sunrise phase, trademark rights holders will be afforded an opportunity to protect their proprietary rights by registering their appropriate domain names. The Sunrise eligibility will be expanded to also include companies and associations registered in commercial trade registers or association registers of Saarland courts. Applicants domiciled in the Saarland region will be granted priority over other domain applicants during the Landrush phase. As .SAARLAND is defined as an open and unrestricted TLD for anyone interested in Saarland, anyone can apply for .SAARLAND domain names during the Landrush and General Availability phases. The complete launch plan is described in detail under answer 18 c (i).
This launch plan and policy of reserved names is intended to reduce potential user confusion by preventing domain names where internet users would expect certain information to be provided by public institutions from potentially abusive third party registrations. Furthermore, this allows the applicable governmental institutions to provide their services on a local platform, without first having to resort to legal action to retrieve a name registered in bad-faith.
E. 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 .SAARLAND TLD aims to be perceived by Internet users as a trustworthy source of information for Internet users in general, but also for businesses and the local administration. User trust is enhanced when users are confident that they are in fact interacting with websites and services they intend to interact with, and that their private or confidential information is protected. We will therefore sign the .SAARLAND zone file using DNSSEC, allowing the relying party to establish a chain of trust from the DNS root down to the individual domain name.
We intend to provide a safe and legitimate Internet space, enhancing user experience by mitigating security-associated risks. The enforcement of the abuse policy and the establishment of an abuse point of contact will allow the applicant to continuously remove content in conflict with policies and this goal. We will comply with all policies and practices as required by ICANN in the Registry Agreement and⁄or Consensus Policy.
We will comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to Internet security and the privacy of users’ confidential information. In particular, .SAARLAND will be in compliance with European data protection policies and regulations as well as ICANN WHOIS policies, ensuring that complete and accurate WHOIS information is readily accessible for every domain name in the TLD. We will however protect personal information of registrants against abuse by implementing privacy settings into the public WHOIS, such as limiting access to public, web-based WHOIS data by methods such as “CAPTCHA” verification that are designed to exclude automated access to the web-based WHOIS by information gathering tools.
F. Describe whether and in what ways outreach and communications will help to achieve your projected benefits.
We will closely cooperate with the independently constituted dotSaarland e.V (registered association) in communications and outreach and have consulted with them on both the registration policies and marketing outreach. The dotSaarland e.V. is open for membership for individuals, businesses and organizations and represents a broad community of parties interested in the success of the TLD. We will continue to coordinate its efforts in promoting and developing the TLD with the dotSaarland society and expect the society to continue to act as a communications and outreach multiplier for the TLD. The society is entitled to be represented and heard at meetings of our management board to ensure this cooperation is carried into the future and we will always consider the views of the local community.
Our outreach and communication campaigns will mainly focus on creating interest within the local community and to promote lighthouse projects through the implementation of a founders program and gaining the support of media partners.
By cooperating with local promotion partners and registrars and resellers for .SAARLAND domain names and generating their interest in the TLD, we expect to be able to generate awareness at relatively low cost. At least one registrar has already firmly committed to apply for an accreditation for .Saarland. The TLD is intended to become a tool for regional third-party marketing initiatives and constitute a platform for local businesses, organizations and individual internet users.
The state government and administration will be provided with a new platform for administrative interaction and the provision services and information for the citizens of the Saarland region.
The expected use of the TLD by the early adopters, the local authorities and through the founders initiative will effectively communicate to the entire audience, but especially to the German-speaking audience that the .SAARLAND TLD has been introduced and will be available for the general public and their individual purposes.
We will direct our marketing efforts to the local media outlets through viral and regular campaigns, who so far have shown great interest and pledged support for the TLD.
Anyone seeking administrative information will safely find an authoritative official site under .SAARLAND. Searching for local businesses will be facilitated through the use of a .SAARLAND Domain. Individuals will be given a new means to display their commitment to the Region.
.SAARLAND will showcase the role of the Saarland as a cutting-edge technology leader and innovator in Germany and the neighboring regions. The use of the TLD in the local business and administrative and private environment enhances its awareness and will strengthen its use and reputation.
Outreach and communication with the local opinion-makers are important in order to achieve the projected benefits of the TLD for all kinds of potential users. These were already initiated in the years leading up to this application and will continue to be expanded and followed up in the time leading up to the launch and thereafter. Continued media support and viral campaigns will enhance the word-of-mouth about the new TLD for the Region .SAARLAND will lead the way for the use of TLDs in a region for businesses, people and public offices alike. It is to be expected that users who wish to find specific information of the region – both commercial and governmental – will greatly benefit from easier access to this information. We expect that the best promotion for the TLD is its early adoption and use by as many parties as possible, who will be sustaining and growing the name space by their use thereof.
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