18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD
|gTLD||Full Legal Name||Detail|
|.vanguard||The Vanguard Group, Inc.||View|
THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .VANGUARD gTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST, CONVENIENCE, AND UTILITY.
The new .vanguard gTLD will operate as a restricted registry, in which The Vanguard Group, Inc. (Vanguard) can create and control domain spaces that promote its brand identity and authenticity. In this regard, the .vanguard gTLD will provide an authoritative internet space, in which Vanguard will provide information, online communication, services, and resources to consumers in a way that promotes confidence, convenience, and brand protection. Second- and third-level domains can then be created for marketing campaigns, online communication, new product launches, and brand protection purposes, with internet users assured of brand authenticity.
Vanguard, established in 1975, is one of the world’s largest investment management companies, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Vanguard has three U.S. offices and ten international offices across Asia and Europe, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, with over 12,500 employees. Vanguard offers mutual funds and other financial products and services to individual and institutional investors. Vanguard is owned by the funds themselves and is the world’s largest pure “no-load” mutual fund company, meaning investors pay no sales commission (“load”) when buying or selling fund shares. Vanguard has total assets of approximately USD 1.6 trillion invested in approximately 170 U.S. mutual funds, and offers additional mutual funds in international markets.
Vanguard was ranked 56th out of 236 large organizations by Leadership Excellence in October 2011 for its leadership development program. Vanguard also received the Silver Torch Award from the National Black MBA Association for providing equal opportunities for minority professionals and was named the 2011 i-COMM award winner by Employee Benefit News for its commitment to good health by opening a Wellness Center. To foster continued excellence, consumer confidence, elimination of online brand abuse, and continued online consumer engagement are essential.
Since the inception of the current domain name system, business activities conducted on the internet continue to evolve and grow more complex. Internet transactions continue to grow, which brings the benefits of simplicity and lower transaction costs to businesses and consumers. However, at the same time, criminal activities including data breach, hacking, and phishing activities have also become more sophisticated, resulting in loss of consumer confidence beyond mere monetary harm. The .vanguard gTLD will facilitate greater trust and confidence in internet users connecting with Vanguard online, while still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
Vanguard’s mission and purpose for the proposed new gTLD mirror ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. Vanguard is committed to ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- Consumer trust: The .vanguard gTLD registry will operate in a centralized manner with a restrictive registration policy. At this stage, only Vanguard will be able to register domain names, which will increase consumer trust in .vanguard domain names. Because .vanguard domain names are subject to registration standards, policies, and procedures under Vanguard’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .vanguard domain space;
- Competition: The proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice at the level of registration of domain names among prospective registrants. Instead, the goal is to contribute to ICANN’s initiatives that promote in increasing consumer trust. Higher trust in the .vanguard gTLD will drive existing and new top-level domain (TLD) registry operators to improve consumer trust of their own TLDs; and
- Consumer choice: The proposed new gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations for Vanguard’s marketing efforts through its ability to create new second- and third-level domain names on demand. These names will provide consumers with more choices for interacting with Vanguard. As Vanguard has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .vanguard domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .vanguard gTLD, the projected number of registrations is likely to be limited. Vanguard anticipates that a limited number of domain names (around 100) will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to about 5,000 domain names as Vanguard develops and implements new services and marketing campaigns.
As the new .vanguard gTLD expands and evolves, Vanguard may consider offering personalized domains to its affiliate entities and plan sponsors at a later date. Plan sponsors, who have strategic relationships with Vanguard, are designated parties that set up retirement plans for the benefit of their employees, and Vanguard will closely control the use of domain names by such plan sponsors at all times. In this endeavor, Vanguard will continue to comply with all operational, technical, and policy requirements, as well as maintain consumer trust and the stability of the internet. Vanguard will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to the .vanguard gTLD, including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement.
Vanguard intends to create relevant domain names for use including product, services, or geographic names in the second- or third-level. In accordance with registration policy and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, Vanguard will use geographic names to localize its websites in the countries in which it operates. The use of geographic names is intended to:
- connect internet users with relevant information as applicable to the territory and
- comply with required rules and regulations in the national territory.
Vanguard is a well-recognized brand, operating in the United States, Asia, and Europe, with U.S. registered trademarks in the following categories: 36 in financial services in the fields of mutual fund investments, investment brokerage, and retirement plans; 41 in educational services; and 42 in computer services.
Vanguard has over 1,000 existing domain names, with over 70 domain names being an exact match to the “Vanguard” trademark, in the following spaces:
- gTLDs: vanguard.com, vanguard.tel, vanguard.biz, vanguard.info, vanguard.jobs, vanguard.org, vanguard.tel
- country-code TLDs (ccTLDs): thevanguardgroup.us, vanguard.ch, vanguardcanada.ca, vanguard.lu, vanguard.qa, vanguard.pt
Recently, Vanguard was successful in securing sunrise application for the following domain spaces based on existing trademark registration: .xxx, .co, .jp.net, .qa, and .us.org.
Vanguard believes that the .vanguard gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. Vanguard is a leading global brand within the financial services industry with a strong reputation supported by its trademark registrations. Vanguard has used its brand in conjunction with its mutual funds businesses for over 35 years. As such, Vanguard is well known as one of the worldʹs largest retail mutual fund managers and financial services provider.
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|gTLD||Full Legal Name||Detail|