18(c) What operating rules will you adopt to eliminate or minimize social costs?
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The DotSaarland GmbH will vigilantly pursue policies, procedures and technologies that facilitate and maintain a safe and positive user experience. Eliminating fraud, cyber-squatting and other activities that degrade the user’s trust are of paramount concern. Additionally, our procedures need to be simple for users to follow and understand and the TLD needs to be easy to find and register for.
Our technical answers will address the specifics in more detail. As noted before, we have partnered with KSregistry GmbH as a technical backend provider because of their established architecture, security measures and proven platform.
A. How will multiple applications for a particular domain name be resolved, for example, by auction or on a first-come⁄first-serve basis?
DotSaarland GmbH will offer a phased launch through its accredited registrars, consistent with many prior gTLD domain name launches. The goal will be to protect brand holders and other concerned parties from malicious practices and to ensure accuracy. The rights protection mechanisms implemented during the launch phases are described in detail in the answers to question 29.
First, a Founders initiative will make available premium domain names of general interest to registrants willing to commit to using the domain names in a way that benefits the regional community (“Founder”). The applications for domain names reserved for the Founders initiative will be evaluated by an independent panel established by the association dotSaarland e.V.
A Sunrise Period as required by ICANN for trademark holders and similar rights holders such as publicly registered companies and associations, as well as statutory corporations or institutions to register domain names that correspond to their marks and⁄or registered⁄statutory names will be offered at the same time as the Founders initiative. If there is more than one qualified Sunrise applicant, then all applicants will be invited to participate in a closed auction to select the registrant of the contested name. In case a premium domain name is applied for by a qualified Sunrise applicant as well as by a Founder, the Sunrise application will be given preference.
A Landrush Phase period will follow the Sunrise Phase to allow entities that may not have a brand to protect but desire early or preferred access to a specific domain. Within the Landrush phase, a special preference will be given to registrants based in the Saarland region to further promote the regional character and outlook of the TLD. The Landrush Phase will be structured as an application process and which will not be “first come, first served”. Applications for identical domains will follow an auction process; however local applications will have precedence over other Landrush applications.
After the Landrush Phase, we will make names generally available for open registration by any interested person or entity on a first come, first served basis. This General Availability Period will open shortly after the Landrush Period has closed, and will allow unrestricted registrations of all unreserved, unblocked, remaining and available names.
An overview of our phased approach is provided below, with dates notational based on registry agreement with ICANN. The start-up plan provides for the orderly introduction of the .SAARLAND TLD in a transparent and logical way, for the purpose of ensuring competition, fairness and reliability for ICANN-Accredited Registrars, registrants, and the .SAARLAND potential registrants. It is intended to create a stable and effective registration process for the benefit of the Internet community in general, and effected stakeholders in particular while minimizing the number of potential conflicts.
A.1 Launch Plan .SAARLAND
The launch plan for .SAARLAND sets the frame for processes, procedures and rules for the registration of .SAARLAND domain names. The introduction of the .SAARLAND top-level domain will be divided into four phases.
Phase 1: Founders Initiative
With this initiative, prospective Founders (companies, organizations and individuals) will be given the opportunity to apply for the registration of a certain domain name by submitting a proposal for utilization in a business plan ⁄ development plan.
Founders may also suggest a development plan for other generic domain names that are not included in the list of premium domain names, however no applications during the Founders Initiative will be reviewed in case of a conflicting Sunrise application for an identical term. All complete and applicable applications received will be reviewed by the dotSaarland e.V. (registered association) in a fair and independent process and the applied-for domain names shall be awarded in case the development plan promises to be beneficial to the local community, contractually binding the Founders to realize the development plan.
The application window for Founders Program proposals will be timed to run parallel to the Sunrise phase. The development plans for domain names allocated during the Founders Program must be realized within one year after delegation and we will conduct random validation checks of domain names allocated in the Founders initiative to ensure compliance. The validation of the use according to the proposal for utilization will occur approximately one year after delegation.
Domain names awarded in the Founders Program will be locked against transfer for the first two years after their registration date (Status: serverTransferProhibited) to prevent abuse of the program.
Minimum Registration Period: 2 years
Duration: 45 days
Founders Quiet Phase
During the Founders Quiet Phase, the dotSaarland e.V. will decide, which of the foundersʹ applications comply with the goal of being beneficial to the Saarland community. All premium domain names without applications or with rejected applications during the Founders Program will go into auction.
Duration: 7 days (starting after the end of the Founders Program)
Premium Domain Auction
Premium domain names will not be available during the Landrush or General Availability phases. All premium names not awarded during the Founders Program (or applied for as a Sunrise domain name) will go into auction. While the Premium Domain Auction is running, the dotSaarland e.V. will decide about the multiple, beneficial applications for the same domain name in the Founders Program. DotSaarland GmbH reserves the right to exclude premium domain names without applications from the premium domain auction program prior to its launch for a release at a later date. All domains with successful applications in the Founders Program will be published and will be delegated after the end of the Premium Domain Auction. (66 days after the start of the Founders program).
Duration: 14 days (starting after the end of the Founders Quiet Phase)
Phase 2: Sunrise
For easier reference, the Sunrise phase will be split into two concurrent phases, Sunrise A and Sunrise B. Applications for either will be treated without preference over the other and be treated equally.
Sunrise A Applications
The Sunrise phase will run partly parallel to the Founders Initiative, launching on the 15th day of the application window for the Founders Initiative. During the Sunrise all entities with a registered trade or service mark will be able to register the corresponding domain name (Sunrise A application). The intellectual property and similar rights have to be registered before July 01, 2011. The dotSaarland GmbH will only accept trademark applications with the applicant capacity ʺOwnerʺ.
Required specifications for a trademark application during this phase will be: Registered Trademark, Registration Number, Registration Country, Registration Date and Applicant Capacity (must be ʺOwnerʺ).
The following trade or service marks are eligible for Applications in Sunrise A:
- Word marks that are nationally or internationally registered and for which proof of use (which can be a declaration and a single specimen of current use) was submitted to, and validated by, the Trademark Clearinghouse
- Trademarks not in the Clearinghouse but that are verified by a third party trademark validation contractor and conform to the following standards:
- the domain name is identical to the textual or word elements of the trademark or service mark registration on which the registration of the domain name is based
AND the trademark or service mark registration on which the registration of the domain name is based is of national effect
AND the trademark or service mark registration on which the registration of the domain name was based was issued (registered) prior to July 01, 2011.
Sunrise B Applications
Furthermore, during the Sunrise phase all companies enlisted in the commercial registers of Saarland will be allowed to register domain names corresponding to their registered name (Sunrise B application).
Required specifications for an application by a company enlisted in the commercial register of Saarland for the corresponding domain will be: Registered Company, Registration Number, Registration Date and Register Name. Registered companies will have to provide their excerpt from the commercial register (certificate of registration). The date of first registration must be prior to July 01, 2011.
All registered associations recorded in the Saarland registers of associations will also be allowed to register domain names corresponding to their registered name during Sunrise (Sunrise B application). The date of first registration must be prior to July 01, 2011.
Finally, the Sunrise B will also allow statutory corporations or institutions of the Saarland to register domain names corresponding to their registered or statutory names during Sunrise (Sunrise B application). The date of first registration or the statute must be prior to July 01, 2011.
Required specifications for an application by an association will be: Registered Association, Register Number, Registration Date and Register Name. Registered associations will have to provide their excerpt from the register of associations (certificate of registration). Statutory corporations or institutions will be required to provide the appropriate statutory reference to their statutory establishment.
All Sunrise B applications by companies registered in the commercial registers of Saarland and associations recorded in the Saarland registers of associations will be verified by an external validation service.
Minimum Registration Period: 2 years
Duration: 30 days (starting during the Founders Initiative to terminate at the same time as the Founders Initiative)
Sunrise Quiet Phase
During the Sunrise Quiet Phase, which will run in parallel to the Founders Quiet Phase, the dotSaarland GmbH will complete the Sunrise validation together with the validation provider(s). If multiple valid Sunrise applications are received for the same name, the domain name will go into a closed auction. All domains with one valid Sunrise application will resolve after the end of the Sunrise Quiet Phase.
Duration: 7 days (starting after the end of the Sunrise)
The Sunrise domain names will not be available for Landrush or General Availability. All names with multiple, valid Sunrise applications will go into a closed auction between the respective Sunrise applicants.
Duration: 14 days (starting after the end of the Sunrise Quiet Phase)
Phase 3: Landrush
Landrush A Applications
During Landrush, the so-called Landrush A applications by companies, organizations and natural persons having a domicile within the state of Saarland are favored. Landrush A applications from persons⁄entities not having their domicile in Saarland will be rejected without refunds. These applicants are only qualified for Landrush B applications. Required specifications for a Landrush A application by Saarland applicants will be: Valid address in Saarland.
The validation of the address will be executed by zip code comparison. Furthermore, a post-registration validation will be executed in case of an abuse notification and based on random sampling.
Landrush B Applications
With the Landrush B applications anyone interested will be able to apply for domain names.
During the Landrush phase, the price for domain registrations will be somewhat higher than in the subsequent General Availability due to the time preference.
Minimum Registration Period: 2 years
Duration: 30 days (starting after the end of the Sunrise Quiet Phase)
Landrush Quiet Phase
During the Landrush Quiet Phase, the dotSaarland GmbH will separate all multiple, valid Landrush A⁄B applications from all single, valid applications. If multiple, valid Landrush A applications are received for the same name, the domain name will go into a closed auction. If multiple, valid Landrush B applications are received for the same name, the domain name will also go into a closed auction. In case of a Landrush A and Landrush B application for the same domain name, the Landrush A application will be preferred. All domains with only one valid Landrush application will be delegated to the applicant after the end of the Landrush Quiet Phase.
Duration: 7 days (starting after the end of the Landrush)
The domain names applied for during the Landrush Phases will not initially become available for General Availability. All multiple, valid Landrush A⁄B applications will be resolved through a closed auction between the applicants for the domain name. In case there is no bidder, the Landrush applications will be resolved on a first-come, first-served basis.
Duration: 14 days (starting after the end of the Landrush Quiet Phase)
Phase 4: General Availability
After completion of the Landrush Quiet Phase, the registration of domain names will proceed on a “first-come, first-served” basis in accordance with the registration rules.
Registration Period: 1 – 10 year(s)
Start: after the end of the Landrush Quiet Phase
B. Explain any cost benefits for registrants you intend to implement (e.g., advantageous pricing, introductory discounts, bulk registration discounts)
dotSaarland GmbH does not intend to promote early adoption of the .SAARLAND TLD by offering discounts for initial multi-year registrations or for purchase of multiple domain registrations.
We intend to incentivize the registration of domain names contained in the list of domain names reserved for the state government by the appropriate authorities by offering volume discounts for the registration of such domain names.
From time to time promotional campaigns and special offers may be provided to all accredited registrars. Market conditions, market research and the level of public acceptance of the TLD in its target audience will drive many of the promotions and marketing messages.
C. Do you intend to make contractual commitments to registrants regarding the magnitude of price escalation?
We also intend to make clear contractual commitments to registrants regarding the magnitude of price escalation upon renewal. We will contractually commit to not raising the base price (exclusive of any discounts, taxes, etc.) of .SAARLAND domain name renewals by more than ten percent in any calendar year. This commitment will be included in Registry-Registrar Agreements, requiring registrars to include this commitment in all .SAARLAND Domain Name Registration Agreements. We are also committed by our agreement with the state government of the Saarland to maintain a registry pricing level similar to that of other TLDs of comparable size and outreach.
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