18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD
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THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .BBT GTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST, CONVENIENCE AND SECURITY.
The .bbt gTLD will create a new generation gTLD serving the interests of end users by providing an authoritative internet space where information, services and resources of the brand will be closely controlled by BB&T Corporation (BB&T). The majority of the anticipated domain name registrations in the .bbt gTLD will be used in the promotion and communication of the BB&T brand and its financial services. A subset of domain names has the potential to be created and used for communicative and marketing purposes, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.
BB&T, headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the US with $174.6 billion in assets and market capitalization of $17.5 billion as of Dec. 31, 2011. Founded in 1872, BB&T offers a full range of consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage and insurance products. The companyʹs more than 30,000 associates operate approximately 1,800 financial centers in 12 states and Washington, D.C. A Fortune 500 company, BB&T is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BBT. Since 1995, BB&T has distinguished itself among the nationʹs top performers -- the best of the best -- through the acquisition of more than 35 community banks and thrifts, more than 90 insurance agencies and 32 non-bank financial services companies. BB&T is consistently recognized for outstanding client satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the U.S. Small Business Association, Greenwich Associates and others. BB&T’s operating strategy is to ensure that local decisions are made locally so that client service is more responsive, reliable empathic and competent, thereby distinguishing BB&T from other financial holding companies. In this regard, consumer trust and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in BB&T’s application for .bbt.
Business activities are increasingly conducted over the internet, allowing for greater levels of interaction between businesses and customers. As a result, both businesses and end users benefit from ease of interaction and a wider range of choices with lower transaction costs. However, the development in this arena in the current domain name system has exposed both businesses and consumers to increased criminal activities over the internet, including data breach, hacking and phishing. These sophisticated criminal activities cause reputational damage to businesses as internet users lose consumer confidence and trust with the businesses targeted by such criminal activities. With the .bbt gTLD under the complete control of BB&T, such risks will be mitigated. This will enhance BB&T’s ability to communicate securely with its clients as a bank and facilitate greater trust and assurance from internet users connecting with BB&T, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
BB&T’s mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. BB&T is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .bbt gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to BB&T, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .bbt domain names are trustworthy. As .bbt domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under BB&T’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .bbt domain space;
- competition: the .bbt gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of domain names among prospective registrants. Instead it is anticipated to contribute to ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest through its operation focused on promoting consumer trust. Increased trust in the .bbt gTLD will drive existing and new top level domain (TLD) registry operators to make improvements in mechanisms to improve consumer trust of their TLDs; and
- consumer choice: the .bbt gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting BB&T’s marketing efforts through its ability to create new second and third level domain names on demand. These names will provide the consumers with more choices for interacting with BB&T. As BB&T has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under the .bbt domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .bbt gTLD, the projected number of registrations is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that between 5 and 500 domain names will be registered in the first few years. However, the number of registrations is likely to increase as BB&T develops and implements new ways of doing business online and new methods of communicating with its online users such as creating product and service related domain names.
As the new .bbt gTLD expands and evolves, BB&T will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet. BB&T will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to .bbt including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.
BB&T does not intend to use geographic names and⁄or Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in the second level at this stage. However, BB&T may use geographic names or IDNs at a later stage to:
- localise its websites in the States that BB&T operates in to connect internet users with relevant information applicable to their location; and
- comply with required rules and regulations in the relevant States.
Such use of geographic names will be will be in accordance with the registration policy and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22.
BB&T is a well-recognised US brand with its trademarks such as “BBT”, “BB&T”, “BB&T Online” and “BBT.com” registered in its main country of operation, US, in the Insurance and financial (Class 36) for financial services.
Further, BB&T has 5 existing domain names with an exact match to the applied-for .bbt string and BB&T’s “BBT” trademark in spaces such as bbt.com and bbt.us. BB&T also has over 130 existing domain names containing the “BBT” trademark in spaces including bbtbanks.info, bbtcard.net, bbtbanking.org and bbtmarketing.us.
BB&T believes that the .bbt gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. BB&T trademarks are a well-established and is a reputable brand in the retail banking sector in the US with BB&T having used the term BB&T and BBT in conjunction with its community banking and other businesses.
Similar gTLD applications: (0)
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