18(b) How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?
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|.gent||COMBELL GROUP NV⁄SA||View|
i. What is the goal of your proposed gTLD in terms of areas of specialty, service levels, or reputation?
In the first place, the .GENT initiative intends to promote the City of Ghent, its residents, organizations and companies on a national and international level. The applicant – supported by the City of Ghent – will aim to achieve this goal by providing local residents, companies and organizations with a clear and recognizable identifier on the Internet.
The applicant believes that only those residents, companies and organizations who have a true connection or nexus with the City of Ghent will be appealed by this extension.
Secondly, the .GENT gTLD will provide for an alternative and focused namespace for residents, companies and organizations from all over the world who have a connection with the City of Ghent. Since the City of Ghent is a commercial, industrial and logistical hub, such connection can be:
- providing information about the City of Ghent, focused on the residents of the city, as well as local, regional, national and international organizations and companies that are active in the City or its vicinity;
- providing information about the City’s touristic attractions, hot spots, activities, many of which have an international appeal;
- doing business with individuals, companies and organizations residing or established in the City;
- shipping goods and services to and from the City’s harbor, its logistics infrastructure, etc..
Considering the specific character and positioning of the .Gent gTLD, we believe that it is unlikely that this TLD will attract registrants who have no relation or link at all with the city.
ii. What do you anticipate your proposed gTLD will add to the current space, in terms of competition, differentiation, or innovation?
Similar to past initiatives like .CAT and .ASIA, the aim of this gTLD will be to provide for an exclusive, clear and unambiguous identifier for the City of Ghent on the Internet. Although the Internet is of course a truly global medium, the main focus of .GENT will be to allow residents, companies and organizations who have a connection or nexus with the City of Ghent to identify and promote themselves in such a way.
Therefore, it is not the main goal of the Registry Operator to truly compete with existing TLDs, including generic, sponsored or country code top-level domains, as we believe that the .GENT initiative is intended to be a new and alternative way for those who want to make public their connection with the City of Ghent.
Considering the fact that most Internet users use a search engine in their quest for information, products or services, the actual importance of a top-level domain as an “organizer” of the Internet has been deteriorating over the past years. Most, if not all TLDs that are currently on the market have in fact become “open” or “standard” top-level domains, by lowering or even completely abandoning nexus or eligibility requirements.
As explained above, the Applicant is convinced that only physical persons, companies or organizations who have an affinity and affection with the City of Ghent will be appealed by the .GENT TLD. This is because they live in or near the City of Ghent, because they deploy their activities in the City, or because they engage in commerce or trade there.
So therefore, the Applicant is convinced that – most likely over time – the .GENT top-level domain will turn out to be a true local TLD, however having a regional, national and global radiance.
This will definitively benefit those who want to directly navigate to .GENT domain names, as they will have the same spirit or mindset as those who have registered such a domain name in the first place.
iv. Provide a complete description of the applicant’s intended registration policies in support of the goals listed above.
Although the likely nexus with the City of Ghent will not be reflected in policies, contractual documents, or the like, the Applicant is convinced that those who are interested in registering a domain name in .GENT will have some connection with the City of Ghent. The City of Ghent has always been an open, forward-looking city with a true multicultural and multilingual spirit. Therefore, no particular requirements or eligibility restrictions will be imposed upon registrants in the .GENT TLD.
The Applicant intends to launch the .GENT gTLD in accordance with the mandatory rights protection processes and procedures set out in the Applicant Guidebook:
- start with a Sunrise process, where trademark holders can safeguard the domain names that are identical to their trademarks;
- during the land rush process, the Applicant will organize a Trademark Claims process;
- following the end of the land rush, domain names that have not been registered or allocated during the Sunrise and⁄or land rush processes will be made available as of the start of the general availability phase.
In both the Sunrise and the Trademark Claims processes, the Applicant will work closely with the operator of the Trademark Clearinghouse in order to make sure that trademark owners can secure their brands in the .Gent TLD, as provided in the Applicant Guidebook.
v. 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 Applicant is aware of the fact that protecting the privacy of individuals who register one or more domain names in the .GENT TLD will be an important issue and a key success factor for this initiative. The Applicant is, as a Belgian ⁄ European company, subject to national and European rules, directives and guidelines.
The Applicant has already registered itself with the Belgian data privacy commission.
Because the Applicant will be required to collect, process and publicize personal data in connection with the registration of domain names in the .GENT gTLD, it will enable the following features in its Shared Registration System (SRS) and Whois in order to safeguard this data:
- First of all, it will allow physical persons who register a domain name and any contact that is associated with a .GENT domain name to display limited information with respect to its identity. This feature can be enabled through its registrar, or by the registrant itself, through the end-user extranet that will be made available by the Applicant.
- Secondly, the WHOIS database will be equipped with a CAPTCHA feature in order to avoid automatic harvesting of registrant data for .GENT domain names.
vi. Describe whether and in what ways outreach and communications will help to achieve your projected benefits.
Specific to the City of Ghent
Combell Group NV⁄SA, the applicant for the .Gent TLD, is an organization that is one of the most active domain name registrars and hosting companies in Belgium. The Applicant has been established in Ghent so it is perfectly aware of the local market conditions.
Combell Group has developed a marketing plan and the City Council of Ghent will receive 500 domain names in .GENT before the launch of the extension. Some of these domain names can also be allocated to the City’s associated official organizations.
By doing so, the Applicant and the City of Ghent are able to start building an awareness campaign of the fact that the .GENT top-level domain is available, and that interested parties can effectively obtain a domain name registration in this new extension.
This initial promotion campaign will be linked to the launch of a website dedicated to the .Gent initiative. This website will include:
- a description of the .Gent initiative;
- the different phases for the launch of the .Gent TLD;
- access to the WHOIS database for .Gent;
- the terms and conditions that will apply to domain name registrations;
- an overview of the registrars through which .Gent domains can be registered;
- dispute resolution options;
A marketing plan will be developed for the different target communities for .Gent:
- individuals, companies and organizations in Ghent;
- potential registrants from outside of the City of Ghent;
- the brand owner community (in relation to Sunrise and Trademark Claims processes);
Specific brochures and parts of the .Gent website will be dedicated to accredited and future registrars, providing them with detailed information in relation to the operation and management of the .Gent extension.
Brochures, websites, commercial mailings, etc. will be regularly updated, and sent out to parties who have expressed an interest in the .Gent TLD.
Furthermore, Combell Group will reach out to specialized and general press, and will organize events in order to promote the .Gent initiative.
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