18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD
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THE MISSION AND PURPOSE OF THE NEW RESTRICTED .ACER gTLD IS TO BENEFIT INTERNET USERS BY ENSURING INCREASED TRUST AND CONFIDENCE THROUGH THE ELIMINATION OF USER CONFUSION AND ASSURANCE OF BRAND AUTHENTICITY.
The .acer 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, its affiliates and partners that are associated with the brand will be closely controlled by Acer Incorporated (Acer). The majority of the anticipated domain name registrations in the .acer gTLD will be used in the promotion and communication of the Acer brand and its hardware, software and technology services. A further subset of domain names may potentially be created for communication and marketing purposes, with internet users then assured of brand authenticity.
Established in 1976, Acer utilises a multi-brand approach by integrating its 4 brands – Acer, Gateway, Packard Bell and eMachines – to offer products with distinguished brand characteristics to target different customer needs in the global PC market. Through its global workforce of approximately 8,000 employees, Acer is devoted in breaking the barriers between people and technology through the creation of empowering hardware, software and services. Acer achieves this by designing easy-to-use and dependable IT products that improve usability and add value to its customers’ needs. According to Gartner Data 2011, Acer ranked top 2 for its notebook PCs shipments and top 4 for total PCs sold worldwide. Headquartered in Taiwan, Acer operates, through its 4 brands, across the Asia Pacific, US, European, Middle Eastern and African regions to cater to its worldwide customers. Acer’s revenues for 2011 reached USD15.7 billion. Having celebrated over 30 years of long-term growth in the IT industry, Acer believes that innovation is not the mere creation of new technologies and solutions, but the guarantee that users receive the benefits of these developments and feel empowered by them. In this regard, consumer trust and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all of Acer’s activities.
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, developments in this area over recent years in the current domain name system has resulted in both businesses and consumers becoming increasingly exposed to the risk of criminal activities over the internet, including data breaches, hacking and phishing. These sophisticated criminal activities result in losses in business as well as reputational damage for the domain name holders as internet users increasingly lose consumer confidence and trust with businesses targeted by such criminal activities. The .acer gTLD is intended to facilitate greater trust and assurance from customers who seek to connect and do business with Acer over the internet, whilst still allowing convenient and efficient interaction.
Acer’s mission and purpose for the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. Acer is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust:.acer registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to Acer and its affiliate entities, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .acer domain names are trustworthy. As .acer domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under Acer’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .acer domain space;
- competition: the new .acer 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 .acer 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 .acer gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting Acer’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 Acer. As Acer has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .acer domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .acer gTLD, the projected number of registrations is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that about 120 domain names will be registered in the first year. However, over the next few years, the number of registrations is likely to increase to approximately 160 domain names as Acer develops and implements new services and marketing campaigns.
Acer intends to create relevant domain names for use including product, services or geographic names in the second or third level domain names. In accordance with the registration policy and the proposed measures for protection of geographic names as outlined in response to Question 22, Acer will use geographic names to localise its websites in approximately 43 of the countries in which it operates, including UK, US, China and Middle East. 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.
Acer will also utilise Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) at the second level, initially in Chinese language. The use of IDNs will allow internet users to engage with .acer in their native language, creating a more positive user experience and encouraging diversity. As the use of the .acer gTLD evolves, it is anticipated that the use of IDNs, including additional languages, will increase within the .acer domain space.
Acer is a well-recognised global brand with its “Acer” trademark registered in about 145 countries and territories for the following categories: computers; desktops; notebooks; netbooks, servers; storages; memory cards; monitors; DVD rewriters; AC adaptors used with computers, notebooks and netbooks; monitors; keyboard; battery used with computers, notebooks and netbooks; smart handheld; smart phone; mobile phone; electrical equipment with TV; TV; Liquid Crystal Display television; Plasma television; Projection television; TVCR, namely, video cassette recorder coupled with television; DVD player coupled with television; closed-circuit television (CCTV); TV remote control; set-top box for use with televisions.
Further, Acer and its affiliates have 160 existing domain names with an exact match to the applied-for .acer string and its “Acer” trademark in the following spaces such as acer.net, acer.com, acer.asia, acer.jobs, acer.com.tw, acer.eu and acer.co.il.
Recently, Acer also successfully secured a domain name registration for acer.co during the .co sunrise phase, based on Acer’s existing trademark registrations.
Acer believes that the .acer gTLD is unlikely to cause confusion with either a generic term or any existing TLDs. Acer trademarks are a leading global brand with significant reputation in countries all around the world. Acer has used the term ”Acer” in conjunction with its computer, software, hardware and technology services and businesses for over 30 years. As such, the Acer brand is well known in the global IT industry.
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