Application Downloaded On: 28 May 2015
Application ID: 1-901-17807
1. Full legal name
2. Address of the principal place of business
1-5-5 Motoakasaka Minato-ku, Tokyo - 107-0051 JP
3. Phone number
+81 3 3593 5358
4. Fax number
5. If applicable, website or URL
Senior Consultant, UrbanBrain Company
6(d). Phone Number
+81 3 3983 9422
6(e). Fax Number
+81 3 3895 3826
6(f). Email Address
Senior Account Manager, Domain Services
7(d). Phone Number
+81 3 3985 3825
7(e). Fax Number
+81 3 3895 3826
7(f). Email Address
8(a). Legal form of the Applicant
8(b). State the specific national or other jurisdiction that defines the type of entity identified in 8(a).
8(c). Attach evidence of the applicant's establishment.
Attachments are not displayed on this form.
9(a). If applying company is publicly traded, provide the exchange and symbol.
9(b). If the applying entity is a subsidiary, provide the parent company.
Able & Partners
9(c). If the applying entity is a joint venture, list all joint venture partners.
11(a). Name(s) and position(s) of all directors
|Dasuke Sakai||Executive Director|
|Jyunichi Haruna||Vice President|
|Ryuji Hirata||Representative Director, CEO|
11(b). Name(s) and position(s) of all officers and partners
11(c). Name(s) and position(s) of all shareholders holding at least 15% of shares
|Able & Partners||Not Applicable|
11(d). For an applying entity that does not have directors, officers, partners, or shareholders: Name(s) and position(s) of all individuals having legal or executive responsibility
13. Provide the applied-for gTLD string. If an IDN, provide the U-label.
14A. If applying for an IDN, provide the A-label (beginning with "xn--").
14B. If an IDN, provide the meaning, or restatement of the string in English, that is, a description of the literal meaning of the string in the opinion of the applicant.
14C1. If an IDN, provide the language of the label (in English).
14C2. If an IDN, provide the language of the label (as referenced by ISO-639-1).
14D1. If an IDN, provide the script of the label (in English).
14D2. If an IDN, provide the script of the label (as referenced by ISO 15924).
14E. If an IDN, list all code points contained in the U-label according to Unicode form.
15A. If an IDN, upload IDN tables for the proposed registry. An IDN table must include:
- the applied-for gTLD string relevant to the tables,
- the script or language designator (as defined in BCP 47),
- table version number,
- effective date (DD Month YYYY), and
- contact name, email address, and phone number.
Submission of IDN tables in a standards-based format is encouraged.
15B. Describe the process used for development of the IDN tables submitted, including consultations and sources used.
15C. List any variants to the applied-for gTLD string according to the relevant IDN tables.
16. Describe the applicant's efforts to ensure that there are no known operational or rendering problems concerning the applied-for gTLD string. If such issues are known, describe steps that will be taken to mitigate these issues in software and other applications.
Able Inc. (ABLE) foresees no known rendering issues in connection with the applied-for string, “.able”. This answer is based upon consultation with ABLE’s consultants and preferred backend provider, Neustar, which has successfully launched a number of new gTLDs over the last decade. In reaching this determination, the following data points were analyzed:
• ICANN’s Security Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) entitled Alternative TLD Name Systems and Roots: Conflict,
Control and Consequences (SAC009);
• IAB - RFC3696 “Application Techniques for Checking and Transformation of Names”
• Known software issues which Neustar has encountered during the last decade launching new gTLDs;
• Character type and length;
• ICANN supplemental notes to Question 16; and
• ICANN’s presentation during its Costa Rica regional meeting held in March 2012 on TLD Universal Acceptance;
Provide a representation of the label according to the International Phonetic Alphabet (http://www.langsci.ucl.ac.uk/ipa/).
18A. Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD.
“.able” is a proposed top-level domain (TLD) for ABLE Inc. (ABLE), its subsidiaries, group companies, and strong network of service offices.
ABLE has been in the real estate rental agency business for over 20 years and provides comprehensive management and rental related services for condominiums, apartments, and other properties. ABLE is the No. 1 rental agency business in Japan, and is comprised of the largest nationwide sales force. ABLE handles over 177,000 rental agreements annually through over 450 directly owned and operated offices, and 345 franchise offices nationwide.
ABLE’s mission and purpose of the “.able” TLD encompasses the following key points:
1. Provide an Innovative Platform to Support its Business, Partners, and Customers
2. Operate a Safe, Stable, and Highly Secure TLD for ABLE
3. Secure, Promote, and Strengthen the ABLE Brand
1. Provide an Innovative Platform to Support its Business, Partners, and Customers
ICANNʹs new gTLD program is a major milestone in the enhancement of online communications, information sharing, and information gathering. ABLE believes the expansion of the domain space will prove to be a useful tool in building an innovative platform to support its extensive network of partners and customers.
ABLE is continuously engaged in providing innovative solutions that meet the demands of its network of partners; operating the “.able” TLD will allow for a closer relationship with its partners and believes the TLD will serve an important role to further grow and expand its network.
ABLE can instill a stronger level of trust with its customer base by allocating domain names for each of its representative offices and allowing contracted agents to use domain names under the “.able” brand. The implementation of the “.able” TLD will ensure that customers and potential customers will easily be able to navigate listings to find their ideal property as well as a trusted agent to help them through the rental process.
One of the key goals of the “.ableʺ TLD is to allow its network of partners make use of a dedicated online space to enhance their businesses. ABLE is confident that the “.able” TLD will become an invaluable resource to its partners as they endeavor to build trustful and lasting relationships with customers by providing high-quality services that ABLEʹs customers expect.
2. Operate a Safe, Stable, and Highly Secure TLD for ABLE
In order for ABLE to ensure that value is passed on to the customer, the TLD must be safe, stable, and secure. ABLE will run the registry with the aim to ensure addresses under “.able” never go down as a result of registry systems. As the registry operator ABLE will take care to ensure that registrations do not threaten the stability of the Domain Name System (DNS). ABLE believes that policy development and enforcement in the namespace will play a crucial role in ensuring that the “.able” TLD stands for its intended purpose.
ABLE has teamed up with Neustar Inc., (NYSE:NSR) as the provider of the backend registry solution and DNS resolution of the “.able” namespace to operate a safe, stable, and highly secure TLD. Neustar has significant experience running existing gTLDs, ccTLDs, and robust enterprise domain name services for several of the world’s largest and most demanding corporations. In addition, ABLE has formed a relationship with UrbanBrain Company, a TLD management and consultancy division of Interlink Co., Ltd., to handle the day-to-day management of the namespace.
It is essential that “.able” be run in the most stable fashion to ensure trust among Internet users who access sites under the “.able” domain name.
3. Secure, Promote, and Strengthen the ABLE Brand.
ABLE originally started operations in the late 1960ʹs as ʺOsaka Constructionʺ and later began doing business as ABLE in the early 90’s, and has since built a strong brand under the ABLE name. Today, ABLE has the largest partner network and sales force in Japan, and has a significant share of the Japanese real estate market, managing nearly two-hundred- thousand apartments and houses.
The Internet has played a major role in re-shaping the way consumers seek rental property and ABLE has always been at the forefront in terms of embracing technology to improve customer satisfaction. The new gTLD program is an exciting phase in the expansion of the Internet, and ABLE plans to be an active participant in embracing the changes with the creation of the “.able” TLD. A TLD owned and operated by ABLE will play a crucial role in securing and promoting the “.able” brand name well into the future.
Until recently, companies, especially Japanese companies have been able to secure their online presence with just a handful of domain extensions. Now a brand must own a domain name for every service and product it provides in order to obtain maximum exposure to potential customers. This is problematic because third parties could potentially cause harm to the brand by registering and using a corresponding domain name in bad faith. With the ability to completely control domain allocations under its own TLD, ABLE, will be able to ensure that only legitimate names are registered and used in the TLD. The TLD will add an extra layer of trust between ABLE, its partners and Internet users. Through a well implemented communications strategy, ABLE can inform consumers that websites resolving with a ʺ.ableʺ extension are official, trusted websites belonging to the ABLE brand.
ABLE is dedicated to operating the TLD with the highest technical standards and industry best practices will ensure that this new platform for services and communications will succeed as a new mode to improve and extend the ABLE brand.
18B. How do you expect that your proposed gTLD will benefit registrants, Internet users, and others?
ICANN has determined that launching the new gTLD program is inline with its mission to increase competition and innovation in the namespace. Brand-specific TLDs such as “.able” will, in many ways cause a shift in how users navigate the web.
The “.able” TLD will add greater specificity to the namespace. In a broad sense, ABLE expects that customers searching for rental properties will type in an area name followed by the “.able” extension to search listings of rental properties; for example, a customer looking to move to Osaka may simply type “osaka.able” into the browser. This would resolve to a page showing potentially thousands of listings as well as information for trusted agents in the area that can assist the customer in finding the perfect property. Customers searching for ABLE’s agents and properties managed by ABLE, will be able to securely navigate a new and intuitive namespace to easily find what they are looking for.
Additionally, by operating its own specialized top-level domain ABLE will be able tailor its online presence with short, custom, memorable names, and have the ability to market its products and services without the concerns of finding an appropriate generic domain name in the existing namespace.
ABLE proposes that second level domain name registrations are limited to ABLE, its subsidiaries, group companies, and representative offices. ABLE plans to implement internal registration policies to ensure that registered names will be used by only authorized personnel in a manner the promotes the mission of the company and abides by the strictest of corporate standards expected by those using the ABLE name. ABLE is confident that “.able” will create an added layer of trust that will greatly benefit property seekers.
i. What is the goal of your proposed gTLD in terms of areas of specialty, service levels, or reputation?
The “.able” top-level domain will be a safe, stable, and secure name space for ABLE, its subsidiaries, partners, and customers. ABLE, has built one of the most respectable real estate businesses in Japan and believes that extending its presence online with a “.able” TLD will be a valuable assets in maintaining its reputation as Japan’s most trusted real estate business.
ABLE will operate its TLD with the aim of meeting or exceeding all ICANN service level requirements, and provide partners and customers with a high-quality, dependable name space.
As stated above, ABLE has enlisted the services of Neustar, the existing registry operator for .BIZ, .US, and the back-end provider for numerous gTLDs and ccTLDs that has historically operated well in excess of the SLAs proposed by ICANN in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook. Neustar has a history of operating a number of mission-critical services in addition to its registry operations, including the maintenance of the North American Numbering Plan and Local Number Portability, each of which ensures the appropriate routing of all telephone calls in North America as well as DNS services for many of the top Fortune 500 companies in the world.
Neustar’s high-quality solution will enhance ABLE’s ability to continue building and administering industry leading rental property related solutions.
ii. What do you anticipate your proposed gTLD will add to the current space, in terms of competition, differentiation, or innovation?
Building a quality namespace is an essential component in building trust with Internet users as well as in adding to the brand value of ABLE Currently there are no TLDs that are specifically for a single brand, nor does a TLD exist for real estate.
ABLE anticipates that there will be other applicants that apply for a “.rent” or “.real” (for real estate). While these TLDs will have tremendous opportunity to serve a wider community, the “.able” TLDʹs mission is to serve its currently extensive network of partners, its customers, and its potential customers. This is an unparalleled opportunity for ABLE to continue its innovative, forward thinking approach to reaching out to consumers. The operation of its own namespace presents a means to enhance the collective experience of its partners and the way they interact with customers.
Rental property seekers, current customers, and Internet users will be able to quickly and easily identify a “.able” name as a trusted online source for rental property. By allocating domain names to its subsidiaries, group companies, and reputable partners, customers will gain an added sense of security and confidence as they transact with the sites under “.able”.
Under its own top-level domain, ABLE will have access to vast amount of creative domain names that will allow it to create shorter, more intuitive and memorable names to help customers locate ABLE’s offices, agents, and properties online. ABLE will have total control over the space, which will enable users to experience a safe web communications channel free of any abusive registrations. ABLE is confident that is customers will experience a much more intuitive way to navigate online property listings as well as other property management services provided by ABLE without having to worry about the legitimacy of the source behind the information or services.
ABLE plans to incorporate “.able” second level registrations into its current marketing strategy to increase the awareness and effectiveness of the new dedicated namespace for rental properties. Marketing communications will include train advertisements, print media, television spots, and other communication outlets.
ABLE has developed a strategic plan for the implementation of the “.able” TLD and understands the time and effort involved in making the launch of its TLD successful. ABLE plans to use existing resources and marketing funds to ensure its TLD receives a great deal of exposure before name allocations begin.
iv. Provide a complete description of the applicant’s intended registration policies in support of the goals listed above.
ABLE will run the TLD as an extension of its valuable brand name, and therefore, in order to protect its investment in branding ABLE, will implement strict requirements for domain holders to adhere to when registering and operating second level domain names under “.able”.
By maintaining a safe, stable, and secure operation ABLE will be able to ensure that the “.able” TLD is a valuable resource for both ABLE’s agents and customers.
The structure of the “.able” TLD differs greatly from current TLDs on the market. However, through observing the benefits and drawbacks of registration policies in use today under current sponsored TLDs, ABLE has developed sound registration policies that will assist the registry in achieving its goals while maximizing user benefits. ABLE will implement the following registration policies:
1. “.able” Domain Name Eligibility Requirements
2. Acceptable Use Policy
3. Reserved Names
4. Rights Protection Mechanisms
1. “.able” Domain Name Eligibility Requirements
“.able” Domain Name Eligibility Requirements defines who or what entities are permitted to register a domain name, the types of names that maybe registered, use requirements, content restrictions, and the technical criteria for allowable labels within the “.able” top-level domain. A brief description of the criteria is briefly outlined below:
ABLE will implement an internal process that will define how second-level registration requests can be submitted and how those requests for registration may be approved. ABLE proposes that domain names on the second level will only be allocated to group companies, subsidiaries, wholly-owned representative offices, franchises, and contracted partners.
ABLE envisions having a domain management department that will be responsible for the receipt of domain name registration requests from specially designated and approved managers (Domain Manager) though a documented internal request form. Once the Domain Manager receives a registration request, a review will be completed to ensure the name complies with internal policies and the technical specifications outlined in the new gTLD Registry Agreement. Once the standard review is completed the name will be approved and submitted for registration.
ABLE believes that it is eligible for an exemption to the ICANN Code of Conduct (Specification 9 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement). If the exemption is granted, ABLE has already enlisted the services of Interlink Co, Ltd, an ICANN accredited registrar since 2006 to act as a registrar partner for “.able” registrations. ABLE believes that limiting the number of registrars is important in order to protect the integrity of the brand, and as such serves the public interest.
The registration terms for second level domain names will match with existing TLDs. The registration term will be allowed for one to ten years. At no point are domain registrations allowed for more years than the maximum registration term of 10 years or the minimum term of one year. Additional details regarding the registration, renewal, and transfer terms can be found in answer to Question 23 regarding Registry Services.
1b Domain Restrictions
A domain name that will be accepted as valid for registration is a domain name that;
• has not been blocked or reserved by the registry (see Reserved Names policy below)
• meets the technical requirements (defined below)
• has not already been registered (registrants will be encouraged to use the WHOIS database provided by the registry to
ensure the availability of a domain)
1c Domain Technical Specifications
The technical specifications for allowable labels will follow the standard criteria briefly outlined below:
• Labels containing the letters ʺaʺ to ʺzʺ or ʺAʺ to ʺZʺ in standard US ASCII character set, the digits ʺ0ʺ to ʺ9ʺ and the hyphen (ʺ-ʺ);
(the minimum character limitation is due to the protection mechanisms for geographic names in relation to Question 22:
Protection of Geographic Names and briefly described below under ʺ2. Reserved Namesʺ below. The ability to register one
and two character strings will be reevaluated at the ABLEʹs discretion.)
• Labels may contain a maximum of 63 characters. (This does not include the ʺ.ableʺ suffix)
• Labels may not begin or end with a hyphen (ʺ-ʺ) and may not include a hyphen (ʺ-ʺ) in the third and fourth positions unless
they represent valid internationalized domain names in their ASCII encoding).
2. Acceptable Use Policy
The Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is a central policy of the “.able” TLD and will be implemented to ensure that ABLE maintains the rights to protect the integrity of its registry and achieve its goal of maintaining a safe and stable operation. The policy further describes the process for applying for and registering, renewing, and transferring a “.able” domain name as well as any restrictions, and how ABLE, the registry, may enforce its policies.
The AUP will clearly delineate the types of activities that constitute ʺabuseʺ and any repercussions associated with abusive domain name registrations. A draft version of the AUP can be found in the answer to Question 28: Abuse Prevention and Mitigation.
3. Reserved Names
ABLE will comply with Specification 5 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement by initially reserving all names as required. These names will include:
• The label ʺEXAMPLEʺ as required by ICANN
• All two character labels will be initially reserved. Provisions for the release of these names are further described in relation to
Question 22: Protection of Geographic Names.
• Tagged domain names (labels with a hyphen (ʺ-ʺ) in the third or fourth positions will only be allowed if they represent a
valid internationalized domain name (IDN) in their ASCII encoding.
• Second level names for registry operations, defined by ICANN as: NIC, WWW, IRIS, and WHOIS.
• Country and territory names listed on the following internationally recognized lists will be initially reserved:
1. the ISO 3166-1 list including the short form and long form English versions,
2. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, Technical Reference manual for the Standardization of
Geographical Names, Part III Names of Countries of the World
3. The list of United Nations member states in 6 official United Nations languages prepared by the Working Group on
Country Names of the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names
ABLE believes that certain 2-letter names and country and territory names may be used in manners unlikely to cause confusion with the country-codes, countries or territories and is therefore exploring ways in which such names may be released in accordance with ICANN policies and in a manner that avoids consumer confusion. Please see ABLE Inc’s response to Question 22 for more information on the protection of Geographic Names.
4. Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs)
ABLE is committed to ensuring that all rights holders have adequate protections for their intellectual property assets in the “.able” TLD. Therefore, ABLE will submit to any rights protection mechanisms or polices that ICANN approves and includes in its consensus polices. ABLE proposes to implement the following rights protection mechanisms. Each RPM is further described in answer to Question 18 Part C.
• Trademark Clearinghouse
• Sunrise and Trademark Claims Process
• Implementation of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)
• Implementation of the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) mechanism
5. ICANN Consensus Policies
ABLE is aware of and understands all current ICANN consensus policies listed at http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄general⁄consensus-policies.htm, and is committed to comply with all policies during its time as a registry operator.
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.
ABLE will allocate domain names to its subsidiaries, group companies, franchises, and other contracted partners for purposes of doing business under ABLE, or under contract with ABLE. Information deemed necessary to fulfill WHOIS requirements will be recorded in the public WHOIS database. All other information will be protected under contractual requirements and such information will be safeguarded from loss, destruction, tampering, leakage, etc. ABLE, is currently in compliance with all relevant laws, regulations and other rules, and will remain in compliance with any changes made by relevant authorities.
vi. Describe whether and in what ways outreach and communications will help to achieve your projected benefits.
As the number one rental agency business in Japan, ABLE manages a substantial sales force and number of franchise offices. As a whole, ABLE handles nearly 200,000 rental agreements per year through some 800 offices nationwide.
ABLE believes managing a successful TLD for the company begins with communicating its strategy to its subsidiaries, group companies, and franchises. This communication period will primarily take place during the ICANN new gTLD evaluation phase. As part of its pre-launch communication strategy ABLE, plans to incorporate the following key messages:
• The Internet is expanding and ABLE is committed enhancing its service to its customers through a New gTLD; ʺ.ableʺ
• Soon customers will be able to access sites such as ʺtokyo.ableʺ to find rental property in their local areas
• ABLE seeks to promote trust, and only reputable partners will be allocated a “.able” name.
The communications process during this phase will take place through already existing marketing channels as well as press releases, and engagement through various social media channels.
ABLE will expose the public to its new domain in a manner that assists users in making a smooth transition from traditional web addresses to its exclusive namespace.
18C. What operating rules will you adopt to eliminate or minimize social costs (e.g., time or financial resource costs, as well as various types of consumer vulnerabilities)? What other steps will you take to minimize negative consequences/costs imposed upon consumers?
ABLE plans to operate the “.able” TLD in the safest, most secure, and most reliable way possible. By selecting a world-class provider ABLE can reduce the risk of downtime in the TLD and ensure that end users can continuously use the TLD without any technical glitches.
ABLE has implemented a strict compliance department for its current business and will ensure that compliance officers are highly trained with regards to operations of “.able” to certify that compliance with technical requirements, ICANN contractual obligations, and registration rules are properly maintained at all times.
By maintaining strict compliance with operational procedures and registration rules, ABLE will be able to effectively improve the relationship of trust with consumers.
i. How will multiple applications for a particular domain name be resolved?
ABLE is currently planning to be the only authorized registrant in the ʺ.ableʺ TLD does not anticipate the need to implement mechanisms to resolve contending applications. ABLE will evaluate options for domain allocation in the event that the TLD is opened up for registration by its customers.
ii. Explain any cost benefits for registrants you intend to implement.
It is anticipated that only ABLE, its subsidiaries, group companies, franchises, and contracted partners will be allocated second-level domain names in the TLD. ABLE expects that owning a proprietary TLD for its brand will provide numerous benefits, including;
• improving the ABLE brand though personalization of property information;
• effectively serving local areas; and
• ongoing marketing and communications activities.
Currently in Japan, web searches are the most widely used method for accessing websites. Many companies spend tens of thousand of dollars to get a keyword search to rank high in a particular search engine to make sure their product gets in front of consumers. For example, a real estate agency looking to find tenants for an apartment in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo will spend upwards of 5,000 US dollars per month on the term ʺShinjuku Apartments.ʺ The agency will begin an advertising campaign using the search term as the central element to finding more information on the property.
This is problematic because SEO costs can accumulate quickly. Additionally, the property manager has to place complete trust that the SEO company can achieve the desired results. Finally, the user must rely on the search engine to retrieve the intended results.
ABLE anticipates, like most other new TLDs, it will take the general public time to get used to the “.able” TLD. The transition period will likely take several years. However, once the user base gets used to the expanded system it is anticipated that users will freely and naturally type in URLs to navigate to find exactly what they are looking for. For example, a user looking for a rental property in a particular area in Tokyo could simply type in ʺshinjuku.ableʺ or ʺ新宿.ableʺ to find the most relevant and up-to-date rental property information.
Other benefits that will be derived from ʺ.ableʺ include:
• A Logical Structure
• Shorter URLs
• More Intuitive URLs
• Better Search Engine Optimization
Intellectual Property Concerns
Numerous parties have expressed concerns over the introduction of the new gTLD program stating that new TLDs could harm consumer welfare due to consumer confusion. Trademark holders have also brought up the issue of new TLDs imposing additional costs due to the necessity of participating in “defensive” registrations.
ABLE is committed to ensuring that all rights holders have adequate protections for their intellectual property assets in the “.able” TLD. Therefore, ABLE will submit to any rights protection mechanisms or polices that ICANN approves and includes in its consensus polices. ABLE proposes to implement the following rights protection mechanisms.
a. Trademark Clearinghouse
b. Sunrise and Trademark Claims Process
c. Implementation of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)
d. Implementation of the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) mechanism
e. Other Rights Protection Mechanisms
a. Trademark Clearinghouse
The trademark clearinghouse is a mandatory RPM, which has been developed in order to serve as a central repository for information to facilitate other RPMs such as the Sunrise Period and Trademark Claims process. Though this RPM is still under development, ABLE’s consulting partner has joined the Implementation Assistance Group (IAG) to monitor the progress and provide feedback on solidifying the policy for its implementation. In addition, the back-end registry services provider, Neustar, is actively playing a key role on the IAG to ensure that protections afforded by the clearinghouse and associated RPMs are feasible and implementable. Further information regarding the implementation of this mechanism can be found in reference to Question 29: Rights Protection Mechanisms.
b. Sunrise and Trademark Claims Process
The Sunrise period is a mandatory launch phase. ABLE, plans to be allocate names internally and will not implement a public launch. If, in the future, ABLE, decides to open registrations to the public, then a Sunrise launch, which adheres to the standards ICANN has defined in Specification 7 of the New gTLD Registry Agreement, will be implemented.
The Trademark claims process is tied into both the Sunrise launch and the Trademark Clearinghouse. The Trademark Claims process is a mandatory RPM, which is intended as means to provide “clear notice” to a registrant if an attempt is made to secure a domain name that matches a trademark that is currently registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse.
ABLE does not anticipate that any disputes with regards to its domain name registrations under “.able” will arise; nonetheless, ABLE will implement a Trademark Claims service that runs throughout the life of the registry. In the event that there is a match with a mark in the Trademark Clearinghouse, ABLE’s internal legal and compliance departments will review the claims to ensure that the proposed use of the matching second level registration is not in violation with the trademark claimant’s intellectual property rights.
c. Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)
The UDRP is an ICANN Consensus Policy that was instituted in 1998 which provides trademark holders an alternative method to resolve domain name disputes. In the event that a dispute arises regarding a domain name registration in the “.able” TLD, ABLE, will abide by the UDRP process. Additional information regarding the UDRP can be found at: http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄udrp⁄udrp.htm.
ABLE does not anticipate that a UDRP proceeding will be initiated against any names registered in its zone due to it being the only registrant in the TLD. In the event that a dispute arises regarding a domain name registration in the “.able” zone, ABLE will work with the complainant to find an agreeable solution. If both parties are unable to come to an agreement, ABLE will abide by the UDRP process.
d. Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS)
The Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) is a Rights Protection Mechanism that was developed to satisfy the legitimate concerns that Trademark owners had regarding the number of New TLDs that would potentially be introduced in the coming years. Trademark owners believed that the level of infringing or abusive domain names would increase as a result of the program. ICANN listened to the concerns that the IP community had and through a diligent process, developed the URS as a more cost effective and speedy mechanism for trademark owners to enforce their rights in clear cases of abuse.
ABLE does not anticipate that infringing registrations will take place in its zone due to the conflict reviews and other internal reviews that will be completed prior to a domain name registration. In the event that a URS case does come about, ABLE will abide by the URS.
e. Other Rights Protection Mechanisms
The “.able” TLD will be used strictly for the ABLE brand. ABLE is confident that no claims will be made against the registry regarding infringing registrations. ABLE will fully comply with the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP) adopted by ICANN as described in the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook and Specification 7 of the Registry Agreement as well as any other Rights Protection Mechanisms that are subsequently approved or altered by ICANN.
iii. Do you intend to make contractual commitments to registrants regarding the magnitude of price escalation?
ABLE is planning to run the proposed TLD to extend its branding online. Pricing schemes such as bulk registration pricing, advantageous pricing, introductory discounts, etc., are not applicable at this time.
19. Is the application for a community-based TLD?
20A. Provide the name and full description of the community that the applicant is committing to serve. In the event that this application is included in a community priority evaluation, it will be scored based on the community identified in response to this question. The name of the community does not have to be formally adopted for the application to be designated as community-based.
20B. Explain the applicant’s relationship to the community identified in 20(a).
20C. Provide a description of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD.
20D. Explain the relationship between the applied- for gTLD string and the community identified in 20(a).
20E. Provide a complete description of the applicant’s intended registration policies in support of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD. Policies and enforcement mechanisms are expected to constitute a coherent set.
20F. Attach any written endorsements for the application from established institutions representative of the community identified in 20(a). An applicant may submit written endorsements by multiple institutions, if relevant to the community.
21A. Is the application for a geographic name?
22. Describe proposed measures for protection of geographic names at the second and other levels in the applied-for gTLD. This should include any applicable rules and procedures for reservation and/or release of such names.
Able Inc. (ABLE) proposes that the registration and use of geographic labels such as ʺjapan.ableʺ or ʺjp.ableʺ will not cause any confusion to Internet users. On the contrary, the use of such labels will make the use of the “.able” top-level domain more intuitive and useful to Internet users.
Able Inc. is aware of the process required to gain approval for the release of such names and will fully comply with Specification 5 of the Registry Agreement to initially reserve the specified country and territory names and two-character labels.
In order to gain approval for the release of these labels, ABLE will work with the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), ICANN, and if necessary, governments and⁄or ccTLD managers. ABLE will only deploy and make use of geographic names and two-character labels identified in Specification 5 after submitting a request to ICANN and gaining subsequent approval.
The following is a description of the applicable rules for reservation and the release of both two-character labels and country and territory names.
Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) are two letter strings on the right side of the dot that correspond to the two-letter country codes for each country listed on the ISO 3166-1 list. For example, “jp” is the two-character code used to represent Japan, and “.jp” is the ccTLD delegated for Japan.
The registry will, at no cost of governments or public authorities, initially reserve all two-letter characters strings, inclusive of the country code names as defined on ISO 3166-1 and mandated by the New gTLD Registry Agreement (see Specification 5).
Use of two-letter strings as second level registrations in the “.able” top-level domain will be permitted after the Registry gains approval from ICANN separate from the approval to run the “.able” top-level domain.
At its discretion, the Registry will propose usage of a limited number of two-letter strings for domain names that include, but are not limited to; company names, brand names, meaningful words, partial phrases, or local abbreviations. The Registry will inform each ccTLD manager and⁄or applicable government of its proposal to use such a name before such a name is registered for use.
Country and Territory Domain Names
In addition to the initial reservation of two-letter country codes pursuant to the ISO-3166-1 list, ABLE will initially reserve country and territory names contained on the following internationally recognized lists:
• ISO 3166-1 lists (including country, territory name, and its short form name in English)
• The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names Technical Reference Manual for the Standardization of
Geographical Names, Part III Names of Countries of the World
• The List United Nations member states in 6 official United Nations member states in 6 official United Nations languages
prepared by the Working Group on Country Names of the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names
ABLE will cooperate with ICANN and the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to expand such a list of reserved⁄protected geographic names at the second level should this be required. Additionally, the list will expand according to updates in any of the lists listed above.
Use of any strings that correspond to country and Territory names in the“.able” top-level domain will be permitted after the Registry gains approval from ICANN separate from the approval to run the “.able” top-level domain.
23. Provide name and full description of all the Registry Services to be provided. Descriptions should include both technical and business components of each proposed service, and address any potential security or stability concerns.
The following registry services are customary services offered by a registry operator:
- Receipt of data from registrars concerning registration of domain names and name servers.
- Dissemination of TLD zone files.
- Dissemination of contact or other information concerning domain name registrations (e.g., port-43 WHOIS, Web- based Whois, RESTful Whois service).
- Internationalized Domain Names, where offered.
- DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC). The applicant must describe whether any of
these registry services are intended to be offered in a manner unique to the TLD.
Additional proposed registry services that are unique to the registry must also be described.
Able Inc., has elected to partner with Interlink Co., Ltd., for the management and operations of the “.able” TLD. Neustar, Inc., in turn, has been selected by Interlink to provide back-end services for the “.able” registry. Able Inc. recognizes that Neustar already possesses a production-proven registry system that can be quickly deployed and smoothly operated over its robust, flexible, and scalable world-class infrastructure. The existing registry services will be leveraged for the “.able” registry. The following section describes the registry services to be provided.
23.2 Standard Technical and Business Components
Neustar will provide the highest level of service while delivering a secure, stable and comprehensive registry platform. Able Inc. will use Neustar’s Registry Services platform to deploy the “.able” registry, by providing the following Registry Services (none of these services are offered in a manner that is unique to “.able”):
• Registry-Registrar Shared Registration Service (SRS)
• Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP)
• Domain Name System (DNS)
• Data Escrow
• Dissemination of Zone Files using Dynamic Updates
• Access to Bulk Zone Files
• Dynamic WHOIS Updates
• IPv6 Support
• Rights Protection Mechanisms
• Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) (in Japanese)
The following is a description of each of the services.
Neustar’s secure and stable SRS is a production-proven, standards-based, highly reliable, and high-performance domain name registration and management system. The SRS includes an EPP interface for receiving data from registrars for the purpose of provisioning and managing domain names and name servers. The response to Question 24 provides specific SRS information.
The “.able” registry will use the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) for the provisioning of domain names. The EPP implementation will be fully compliant with all RFCs. Registrars are provided with access via an EPP API and an EPP based Web GUI. With more than 10 gTLD, ccTLD, and private TLDs implementations, Neustar has extensive experience building EPP-based registries. Additional discussion on the EPP approach is presented in the response to Question 25.
Able Inc. will leverage Neustar’s world-class DNS network of geographically distributed nameserver sites to provide the highest level of DNS service. The service utilizes “Anycast” routing technology, and supports both IPv4 and IPv6. The DNS network is highly proven, and currently provides service to over 20 TLDs and thousands of enterprise companies. Additional information on the DNS solution is presented in the response to Questions 35.
Neustar’s existing standard WHOIS solution will be used for the “.able”. The service provides supports for near real-time dynamic updates. The design and construction is agnostic with regard to data display policy is flexible enough to accommodate any data model. In addition, a searchable WHOIS service that complies with all ICANN requirements will be provided. The following WHOIS options will be provided:
• Standard WHOIS (Port 43)
• Standard WHOIS (Web)
• Searchable WHOIS (Web)
An RFC compliant DNSSEC implementation will be provided using existing DNSSEC capabilities. Neustar is an experienced provider of DNSSEC services, and currently manages signed zones for three large top level domains: .biz, .us, and .co. Registrars are provided with the ability to submit and manage DS records using EPP, or through a web GUI. Additional information on DNSSEC, including the management of security extensions is found in the response to Question 43.
Data escrow will be performed in compliance with all ICANN requirements in conjunction with Iron Mountain. Iron Mountain was the first company ever selected to protect domain name registry data via escrow agreements and currently provides Registry Data Escrow for the majority of gTLDs in operation today.
The data escrow service will:
• Protect against data loss
• Follow industry best practices
• Ensure easy, accurate, and timely retrieval and restore capability in the event of a hardware failure
• Minimizes the impact of software or business failure.
Additional information on the Data Escrow service is provided in the response to Question 38.
Dissemination of Zone Files using Dynamic Updates
Dissemination of zone files will be provided through a dynamic, near real-time process. Updates will be performed within the specified performance levels. The proven technology ensures that updates pushed to all nodes within a few minutes of the changes being received by the SRS. Additional information on the DNS updates may be found in the response to Question 35.
Access to Bulk Zone Files
Able Inc. will provide third party access to the bulk zone file in accordance with specification 4, Section 2 of the Registry Agreement. Credentialing and dissemination of the zone files will be facilitated through the Central Zone Data Access Provider.
Dynamic WHOIS Updates
Updates to records in the WHOIS database will be provided via dynamic, near real-time updates. Guaranteed delivery message oriented middleware is used to ensure each individual WHOIS server is refreshed with dynamic updates. This component ensures that all WHOIS servers are kept current as changes occur in the SRS, while also decoupling WHOIS from the SRS. Additional information on WHOIS updates is presented in response to Question 26.
The “.able” registry will provide IPv6 support in the following registry services: SRS, WHOIS, and DNS⁄DNSSEC. In addition, the registry supports the provisioning of IPv6 AAAA records. A detailed description on IPv6 is presented in the response to Question 36.
Required Rights Protection Mechanisms
Able Inc. will provide all ICANN required Rights Mechanisms, including:
• Trademark Claims Service
• Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP)
• Registration Restriction Dispute Resolution Procedure (RRDRP)
• Sunrise service
More information is presented in the response to Question 29.
Internationalized Domain Names (IDN)
IDN registrations are provided in full compliance with the IDNA protocol. Neustar possesses extensive experience offering IDN registrations in numerous TLDs, and its IDN implementation uses advanced technology to accommodate the unique bundling needs of certain languages. Character mappings are easily constructed to block out characters that may be deemed as confusing to users. A detailed description of the IDN implementation is presented in response to Question 44.
23.3 Unique Services
Able Inc. will not be offering registry services that are unique to “.able”.
23.4 Security or Stability Concerns
All services offered are standard registry services that have no known security or stability concerns. Neustar has demonstrated a strong track record of security and stability within the industry.
24. Shared Registration System (SRS) Performance:
- the plan for operation of a robust and reliable SRS. SRS is a critical registry function for enabling multiple registrars to provide domain name registration services in the TLD. SRS must include
the EPP interface to the registry, as well as any other interfaces intended to be provided, if they are critical to the functioning of the registry. Please refer to
the requirements in Specification 6 (section 1.2) and Specification 10 (SLA Matrix) attached to the Registry Agreement; and
• resourcing plans for the initial implementation of, and ongoing maintenance for, this aspect of the criteria (number and description of personnel
roles allocated to this area).
A complete answer should include, but is not limited to:
- A high-level SRS system description;
- Representative network diagram(s);
- Number of servers;
- Description of interconnectivity with other registry systems;
- Frequency of synchronization between servers; and
- Synchronization scheme (e.g., hot standby, cold standby).
ABLE Inc. (ABLE), has selected Neustar, Inc, an experienced TLD registry operator, for the technical operations of the “.abe” Registry. ABLE is confident that the plan in place for the operation of a robust and reliable Shared Registration System (SRS) as currently provided by Neustar will satisfy the criterion established by ICANN.
Neustar built its SRS from the ground up as an EPP based platform and has been operating it reliably and at scale since 2001. The software currently provides registry services to five TLDs (.BIZ, .US, TEL, .CO and .TRAVEL) and is used to provide gateway services to the .CN and .TW registries. Neustar’s state of the art registry has a proven track record of being secure, stable, and robust. It manages more than 6 million domains, and has over 300 registrars connected today.
The following describes a detailed plan for a robust and reliable SRS that meets all ICANN requirements including compliance with Specifications 6 and 10.
24.2 The Plan for Operation of a Robust and Reliable SRS
High-level SRS System Description
The SRS to be used for “.able” will leverage a production-proven, standards-based, highly reliable and high-performance domain name registration and management system that fully meets or exceeds the requirements as identified in the new gTLD Application Guidebook.
The SRS is the central component of any registry implementation and its quality, reliability and capabilities are essential to the overall stability of the TLD. Neustar has a documented history of deploying SRS implementations with proven and verifiable performance, reliability and availability. The SRS adheres to all industry standards and protocols. By leveraging an existing SRS platform, ABLE is mitigating the significant risks and costs associated with the development of a new system. Highlights of the SRS include:
• State-of-the-art, production proven multi-layer design
• Ability to rapidly and easily scale from low to high volume as a TLD grows
• Fully redundant architecture at two sites
• Support for IDN registrations in compliance with all standards
• Use by over 300 Registrars
• EPP connectivity over IPv6
• Performance being measured using 100% of all production transactions (not sampling).
SRS Systems, Software, Hardware, and Interoperability
The systems and software that the registry operates on are a critical element to providing a high quality of service. If the systems are of poor quality, if they are difficult to maintain and operate, or if the registry personnel are unfamiliar with them, the registry will be prone to outages. Neustar has a decade of experience operating registry infrastructure to extremely high service level requirements. The infrastructure is designed using best of breed systems and software. Much of the application software that performs registry-specific operations was developed by the current engineering team and a result the team is intimately familiar with its operations.
The architecture is highly scalable and provides the same high level of availability and performance as volumes increase. It combines load balancing technology with scalable server technology to provide a cost effective and efficient method for scaling.
The Registry is able to limit the ability of any one registrar from adversely impacting other registrars by consuming too many resources due to excessive EPP transactions. The system uses network layer 2 level packet shaping to limit the number of simultaneous connections registrars can open to the protocol layer.
All interaction with the Registry is recorded in log files. Log files are generated at each layer of the system. These log files record at a minimum:
• The IP address of the client
• Transaction Details
• Processing Time.
In addition to logging of each and every transaction with the SRS Neustar maintains audit records, in the database, of all transformational transactions. These audit records allow the Registry, in support of the applicant, to produce a complete history of changes for any domain name.
The SRS incorporates a multi-layer architecture that is designed to mitigate risks and easily scale as volumes increase. The three layers of the SRS are:
• Protocol Layer
• Business Policy Layer
Each of the layers is described below.
The first layer is the protocol layer, which includes the EPP interface to registrars. It consists of a high availability farm of load-balanced EPP servers. The servers are designed to be fast processors of transactions. The servers perform basic validations and then feed information to the business policy engines as described below. The protocol layer is horizontally scalable as dictated by volume.
The EPP servers authenticate against a series of security controls before granting service, as follows:
• The registrar’s host exchanges keys to initiates a TLS handshake session with the EPP server.
• The registrar’s host must provide credentials to determine proper access levels.
• The registrar’s IP address must be preregistered in the network firewalls and traffic-shapers.
Business Policy Layer
The Business Policy Layer is the “brain” of the registry system. Within this layer, the policy engine servers perform rules-based processing as defined through configurable attributes. This process takes individual transactions, applies various validation and policy rules, persists data and dispatches notification through the central database in order to publish to various external systems. External systems fed by the Business Policy Layer include backend processes such as dynamic update of DNS, WHOIS and Billing.
Similar to the EPP protocol farm, the SRS consists of a farm of application servers within this layer. This design ensures that there is sufficient capacity to process every transaction in a manner that meets or exceeds all service level requirements. Some registries couple the business logic layer directly in the protocol layer or within the database. This architecture limits the ability to scale the registry. Using a decoupled architecture enables the load to be distributed among farms of inexpensive servers that can be scaled up or down as demand changes.
The SRS today processes over 30 million EPP transactions daily.
The database is the third core components of the SRS. The primary function of the SRS database is to provide highly reliable, persistent storage for all registry information required for domain registration services. The database is highly secure, with access limited to transactions from authenticated registrars, trusted application-server processes, and highly restricted access by the registry database administrators. A full description of the database can be found in response to Question 33.
Figure 24-1 (attached) depicts the overall SRS architecture including network components. This multi-layer architecture is EPP compliant, meets all applicable RFCs, and its development follows industry best practices.
Number of Servers
As depicted in the attached SRS architecture diagram referenced above, Neustar operates a high availability architecture where at each level of the stack there are no single points of failures. Each of the network level devices run with dual pairs as do the databases. For the “.able” registry, the SRS will operate with 8 protocol servers and 6 policy engine servers. These expand horizontally as volume increases due to additional TLDs, increased load, and through organic growth. In addition to the SRS servers described above, there are multiple backend servers for services such as DNS and WHOIS. These are discussed in detail within those respective response sections.
Description of Interconnectivity with Other Registry Systems
The core SRS service interfaces with other external systems via Neustar’s external systems layer. The services that the SRS interfaces with include:
• Data Warehouse (Reporting and Data Escrow).
Other external interfaces may be deployed to meet the unique needs of a TLD. At this time there are no additional interfaces planned for “.able”.
The SRS includes an “external notifier” concept in its business policy engine as a message dispatcher. This design allows time-consuming backend processing to be decoupled from critical online registrar transactions. Using an external notifier solution, the registry can utilize “control levers” that allow it to tune or to disable processes to ensure optimal performance at all times. For example, during the early minutes of a TLD launch, when unusually high volumes of transactions are expected, the registry can elect to suspend processing of one or more back end systems in order to ensure that greater processing power is available to handle the increased load requirements. This proven architecture has been used with numerous TLD launches, some of which have involved the processing of over tens of millions of transactions in the opening hours. The following are the standard three external notifiers used the SRS:
WHOIS External Notifier
The WHOIS external notifier dispatches a work item for any EPP transaction that may potentially have an impact on WHOIS. It is important to note that, while the WHOIS external notifier feeds the WHOIS system, it intentionally does not have visibility into the actual contents of the WHOIS system. The WHOIS external notifier serves just as a tool to send a signal to the WHOIS system that a change is ready to occur. The WHOIS system possesses the intelligence and data visibility to know exactly what needs to change in WHOIS. See response to Question 26 for greater detail.
DNS External Notifier
The DNS external notifier dispatches a work item for any EPP transaction that may potentially have an impact on DNS. Like the WHOIS external notifier, the DNS external notifier does not have visibility into the actual contents of the DNS zones. The work items that are generated by the notifier indicate to the dynamic DNS update sub-system that a change occurred that may impact DNS. That DNS system has the ability to decide what actual changes must be propagated out to the DNS constellation. See response to Question 35 for greater detail.
Billing External Notifier
The billing external notifier is responsible for sending all billable transactions to the downstream financial systems for billing and collection. This external notifier contains the necessary logic to determine what types of transactions are billable. The financial systems use this information to apply appropriate debits and credits based on registrar.
The data warehouse is responsible for managing reporting services, including registrar reports, business intelligence dashboards, and the processing of data escrow files. The Reporting Database is used to create both internal and external reports, primarily to support registrar billing and contractual reporting requirement. The data warehouse databases are updated on a daily basis with full copies of the production SRS data.
Frequency of Synchronization between Servers
The external notifiers discussed above perform updates in near real-time, well within the prescribed service level requirements. As transactions from registrars update the core SRS, update notifications are pushed to the external systems such as DNS and WHOIS. These updates are typically live in the external system within 2-3 minutes.
Synchronization Scheme (e.g., hot standby, cold standby)
Neustar operates two hot databases within the data center that is operating in primary mode. These two databases are kept in sync via synchronous replication. Additionally, there are two databases in the secondary data center. These databases are updated real time through asynchronous replication. This model allows for high performance while also ensuring protection of data. See response to Question 33 for greater detail.
Compliance with Specification 6 Section 1.2
The SRS implementation for “.able” is fully compliant with Specification 6, including section 1.2. EPP Standards are described and embodied in a number of IETF RFCs, ICANN contracts and practices, and registry-registrar agreements. Extensible Provisioning Protocol or EPP is defined by a core set of RFCs that standardize the interface that make up the registry-registrar model. The SRS interface supports EPP 1.0 as defined in the following RFCs shown in Table 24-1.
Additional information on the EPP implementation and compliance with RFCs can be found in response to Question 25.
Compliance with Specification 10
Specification 10 of the New TLD Agreement defines the performance specifications of the TLD, including service level requirements related to DNS, RDDS (WHOIS), and EPP. The requirements include both availability and transaction response time measurements. As an experienced registry operator, Neustar has a long and verifiable track record of providing registry services that consistently exceed the performance specifications stipulated in ICANN agreements. This same high level of service will be provided for the “.able” Registry. The following section describes Neustar’s experience and its capabilities to meet the requirements in the new agreement.
To properly measure the technical performance and progress of TLDs, Neustar collects data on key essential operating metrics. These measurements are key indicators of the performance and health of the registry. Neustar’s current .BIZ SLA commitments are among the most stringent in the industry today, and exceed the requirements for new TLDs. Table 24-2 compares the current SRS performance levels compared to the requirements for new TLDs, and clearly demonstrates the ability of the SRS to exceed those requirements.
Neustarʹs ability to commit and meet such high performance standards is a direct result of their philosophy towards operational excellence. See response to Question 31 for a full description of Neustarʹs philosophy for building and managing for performance.
24.3 Resourcing Plans
The development, customization, and on-going support of the SRS are the responsibility of a combination of technical and operational teams, including:
• Database Administration
• Systems Administration
• Network Engineering
Additionally, if customization or modifications are required, the Product Management and Quality Assurance teams will be involved in the design and testing. Finally, the Network Operations and Information Security play an important role in ensuring the systems involved are operating securely and reliably.
The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of operational resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. Neustar’s SRS implementation is very mature, and has been in production for over 10 years. As such, very little new development related to the SRS will be required for the implementation of the “.able” registry. The following resources are available from those teams:
Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees
Database Administration- 10 employees
Systems Administration – 24 employees
Network Engineering – 5 employees
These resources are more than adequate to support the SRS needs of all the TLDs operated by Neustar, including the “.able” registry.
25. Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP): provide a detailed description of the interface with registrars, including how the applicant will comply with EPP in RFCs 3735 (if applicable), and 5730-5734.
If intending to provide proprietary EPP extensions, provide documentation consistent with RFC 3735, including the EPP templates and schemas that will be used.
Describe resourcing plans (number and description of personnel roles allocated to this area).
A complete answer is expected to be no more than 5 pages. If there are proprietary EPP extensions, a complete answer is also expected to be no more than 5 pages per EPP extension.
ABLE Inc.’s (ABLE) back-end registry operator, Neustar, has over 10 years of experience operating EPP based registries. Neustar deployed one of the first EPP registries in 2001 with the launch of .biz. In 2004, they were the first gTLD to implement EPP 1.0. Over the last ten years Neustar has implemented numerous extensions to meet various unique TLD requirements. Neustar will leverage its extensive experience to ensure .“able” is provided with an unparalleled EPP based registry. The following discussion explains the EPP interface which will be used for the “.able” registry. This interface exists within the protocol farm layer as described in Question 24 and is depicted in Figure 25-1. (The protocol layer is responsible for ensuring transactions comply with the appropriate protocol).
25.2 EPP Interface
Registrars are provided with two different interfaces for interacting with the registry. Both are EPP based, and both contain all the functionality necessary to provision and manage domain names. The primary mechanism is an EPP interface to connect directly with the registry. This is the interface registrars will use for most of their interactions with the registry.
However, an alternative web GUI (Registry Administration Tool) that can also be used to perform EPP transactions will be provided. The primary use of the Registry Administration Tool is for performing administrative or customer support tasks.
The main features of the EPP implementation are:
• Standards Compliance: The EPP XML interface is compliant to the EPP RFCs.
As future EPP RFCs are published or existing RFCs are updated, Neustar makes changes
to the implementation keeping in mind of any backward compatibility issues.
• Scalability: The system is deployed keeping in mind that it may be required to grow and shrink
the footprint of the Registry system for a particular TLD.
• Fault-tolerance: The EPP servers are deployed in two geographically separate data centers to provide
for quick failover capability in case of a major outage in a particular data center. The EPP servers adhere
to strict availability requirements defined in the SLAs.
• Configurability: The EPP extensions are built in a way that they can be easily configured to turn on or off for a
• Extensibility: The software is built ground up using object-oriented design. This allows for easy extensibility of the
software without risking the possibility of the change rippling through the whole application.
• Auditable: The system stores detailed information about EPP transactions from provisioning to DNS and WHOIS
publishing. In case of a dispute regarding a name registration, the Registry can provide comprehensive audit
information on EPP transactions.
• Security: The system provides IP address based access control, client credential-based authorization test,
digital certificate exchange, and connection limiting to the protocol layer.
25.3 Compliance with RFCs and Specifications
The registry-registrar model is described and embodied in a number of IETF RFCs, ICANN contracts and practices, and registry-registrar agreements. As shown in Table 25-1, EPP is defined by the core set of RFCs that standardize the interface that registrars use to provision domains with the SRS. As a core component of the SRS architecture, the implementation is fully compliant with all EPP RFCs.
Neustar ensures compliance with all RFCs through a variety of processes and procedures. Members from the engineering and standards teams actively monitor and participate in the development of RFCs that impact the registry services, including those related to EPP. When new RFCs are introduced or existing ones are updated, the team performs a full compliance review of each system impacted by the change. Furthermore, all code releases include a full regression test that includes specific test cases to verify RFC compliance.
Neustar has a long history of providing exceptional service that exceeds all performance specifications. The SRS and EPP interface have been designed to exceed the EPP specifications defined in Specification 10 of the Registry Agreement and profiled in Table 25-2. Evidence of Neustar’s ability to perform at these levels can be found in the .biz monthly progress reports found on the ICANN website.
Toolkits, under open source licensing, are freely provided to registrars for interfacing with the SRS. Both Java and C++ toolkits will be provided, along with the accompanying documentation. The Registrar Tool Kit (RTK) is a software development kit (SDK) that supports the development of a registrar software system for registering domain names in the registry using EPP. The SDK consists of software and documentation as described below.
The software consists of working Java and C++ EPP common APIs and samples that implement the EPP core functions and EPP extensions used to communicate between the registry and registrar. The RTK illustrates how XML requests (registration events) can be assembled and forwarded to the registry for processing. The software provides the registrar with the basis for a reference implementation that conforms to the EPP registry-registrar protocol. The software component of the SDK also includes XML schema definition files for all Registry EPP objects and EPP object extensions. The RTK also includes a “dummy” server to aid in the testing of EPP clients.
The accompanying documentation describes the EPP software package hierarchy, the object data model, and the defined objects and methods (including calling parameter lists and expected response behavior). New versions of the RTK are made available from time to time to provide support for additional features as they become available and support for other platforms and languages.
25.4 Proprietary EPP Extensions
The “.ABLE” registry will not include proprietary EPP extensions. Neustar has implemented various EPP extensions for both internal and external use in other TLD registries. These extensions use the standard EPP extension framework described in RFC 5730. Table 25-3 provides a list of extensions developed for other TLDs. Should the “.ABLE” registry require an EPP extension at some point in the future, the extension will be implemented in compliance with all RFC specifications including RFC 3735.
25.5 Resourcing Plans
The development and support of EPP is largely the responsibility of the Development⁄Engineering and Quality Assurance teams. As an experienced registry operator with a fully developed EPP solution, on-going support is largely limited to periodic updates to the standard and the implementation of TLD specific extensions.
The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:
Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees
Quality Assurance - 7 employees.
These resources are more than adequate to support any EPP modification needs of the “.ABLI” registry.
26. Whois: describe
- how the applicant will comply with Whois specifications for data objects, bulk access, and lookups as defined in Specifications 4 and 10 to the Registry Agreement;
- how the Applicant's Whois service will comply with RFC 3912; and
- resourcing plans for the initial implementation of, and ongoing maintenance for, this aspect of the criteria (number and description of personnel roles allocated to this area).
A complete answer should include, but is not limited to:
- A high-level Whois system description;
- Relevant network diagram(s);
- IT and infrastructure resources (e.g., servers, switches, routers and other components);
- Description of interconnectivity with other registry systems; and
Frequency of synchronization between servers.
To be eligible for a score of 2, answers must also include:
- Provision for Searchable Whois capabilities; and
- A description of potential forms of abuse of this feature, how these risks will be mitigated, and the basis for these descriptions
A complete answer is expected to be no more than 5 pages.
ABLE Inc. (ABLE) recognizes the importance of an accurate, reliable, and up-to-date WHOIS database to governments, law enforcement, intellectual property holders and the public as a whole and is firmly committed to complying with all of the applicable WHOIS specifications for data objects, bulk access, and lookups as defined in Specifications 4 and 10 to the Registry Agreement. ABLE’s back-end registry services provider, Neustar, has extensive experience providing ICANN and RFC-compliant WHOIS services for each of the TLDs that it operates both as a Registry Operator for gTLDs, ccTLDs and back-end registry services provider. As one of the first “thick” registry operators in the gTLD space, Neustar’s WHOIS service has been designed from the ground up to display as much information as required by a TLD and respond to a very stringent availability and performance requirement.
Some of the key features of ABLE’s solution include:
• Fully compliant with all relevant RFCs including 3912
• Production proven, highly flexible, and scalable with a track record of 100% availability over the past 10 years
• Exceeds current and proposed performance specifications
• Supports dynamic updates with the capability of doing bulk updates
• Geographically distributed sites to provide greater stability and performance
• In addition, the thick-WHOIS solution for “.ABLE” also provides for additional search capabilities and mechanisms
to mitigate potential forms of abuse as discussed below. (e.g., IDN, registrant data).
26.2 Software Components
The WHOIS architecture comprises the following components:
• An in-memory database local to each WHOIS node: To provide for the performance needs,
the WHOIS data is served from an in-memory database indexed by searchable keys.
• Redundant servers: To provide for redundancy, the WHOIS updates are propagated to a cluster
of WHOIS servers that maintain an independent copy of the database.
• Attack resistant: To ensure that the WHOIS system cannot be abused using malicious queries or
DOS attacks, the WHOIS server is only allowed to query the local database and rate limits on queries
based on IPs and IP ranges can be readily applied.
• Accuracy auditor: To ensure the accuracy of the information served by the WHOIS servers, a daily audit is
done between the SRS information and the WHOIS responses for the domain names which are updated
during the last 24-hour period. Any discrepancies are resolved proactively.
• Modular design: The WHOIS system allows for filtering and translation of data elements between the SRS
and the WHOIS database to allow for customizations.
• Scalable architecture: The WHOIS system is scalable and has a very small footprint. Depending on the query volume,
the deployment size can grow and shrink quickly.
• Flexible: It is flexible enough to accommodate thin, thick, or modified thick models and can accommodate any future
ICANN policy, such as different information display levels based on user categorization.
• SRS master database: The SRS database is the main persistent store of the Registry information. The Update Agent
computes what WHOIS updates need to be pushed out. A publish-subscribe mechanism then takes these
incremental updates and pushes to all the WHOIS slaves that answer queries.
26.3 Compliance with RFC and Specifications 4 and 10
Neustar has been running thick-WHOIS Services for over 10+ years in full compliance with RFC 3912 and with Specifications 4 and 10 of the Registry Agreement.RFC 3912 is a simple text based protocol over TCP that describes the interaction between the server and client on port 43. Neustar built a home-grown solution for this service. It processes millions of WHOIS queries per day. Table 26-1 (attached) describes Neustar’s compliance with Specifications 4 and 10.
Neustar ensures compliance with all RFCs through a variety of processes and procedures. Members from the engineering and standards teams actively monitor and participate in the development of RFCs that impact the registry services, including those related to WHOIS. When new RFCs are introduced or existing ones are updated, the team performs a full compliance review of each system impacted by the change. Furthermore, all code releases include a full regression test that includes specific test cases to verify RFC compliance.
26.4 High-level WHOIS System Description
26.4.1 WHOIS Service (port 43)
The WHOIS service is responsible for handling port 43 queries. Our WHOIS is optimized for speed using an in-memory database and a master-slave architecture between the SRS and WHOIS slaves.
The WHOIS service also has built-in support for IDN. If the domain name being queried is an IDN, the returned results include the language of the domain name, the domain name’s UTF-8 encoded representation along with the Unicode code page.
26.4.2 Web Page for WHOIS queries
In addition to the WHOIS Service on port 43, Neustar provides a web based WHOIS application (www.whois.ABLE). It is an intuitive and easy to use application for the general public to use. WHOIS web application provides all of the features available in the port 43 WHOIS. This includes full and partial search on:
• Domain names
• Registrant, Technical and Administrative Contacts
It also provides features not available on the port 43 service. These include:
1. Redemption Grace Period calculation: Based on the registry’s policy, domains in pendingDelete can
be restorable or scheduled for release depending on the date⁄time the domain went into pendingDelete.
For these domains, the web based WHOIS displays “Restorable” or “Scheduled for Release” to clearly
show this additional status to the user.
2. Extensive support for international domain names (IDN)
3. Ability to perform WHOIS lookups on the actual Unicode IDN
4. Display of the actual Unicode IDN in addition to the ACE-encoded name
5. A Unicode to Punycode and Punycode to Unicode translator
6. An extensive FAQ
7. A list of upcoming domain deletions
26.5 IT and Infrastructure Resources
As described above the WHOIS architecture uses a workflow that decouples the update process from the SRS. This ensures SRS performance is not adversely affected by the load requirements of dynamic updates. It is also decoupled from the WHOIS lookup agent to ensure the WHOIS service is always available and performing well for users. Each of Neustar’s geographically diverse WHOIS sites use:
• Firewalls, to protect this sensitive data
• Dedicated servers for MQ Series, to ensure guaranteed delivery of WHOIS updates
• Packetshaper for source IP address-based bandwidth limiting
• Load balancers to distribute query load
• Multiple WHOIS servers for maximizing the performance of WHOIS service.
Additional hardware details can be found in the response to Question 32.
Figure 26-1 (attached) depicts the different components of the WHOIS architecture. WHOIS is decoupled from the architecture to protect production databases and increased overall systems security.
26.6 Interconnectivity with Other Registry System
As described in Question 24 about the SRS and further in response to Question 31, “Technical Overview”, when an update is made by a registrar that impacts WHOIS data, a trigger is sent to the WHOIS system by the external notifier layer. The update agent processes these updates, transforms the data if necessary and then uses messaging oriented middleware to publish all updates to each WHOIS slave. The local update agent accepts the update and applies it to the local in-memory database. A separate auditor compares the data in WHOIS and the SRS daily and monthly to ensure accuracy of the published data.
26.7 Frequency of Synchronization between Servers
Updates from the SRS, through the external notifiers, to the constellation of independent WHOIS slaves happens in real-time via an asynchronous publish⁄subscribe messaging architecture. The updates are guaranteed to be updated in each slave within the required SLA of 95% ≤ 60 minutes. Please note that Neustar’s current architecture is built towards the stricter SLAs (95% ≤ 15 minutes) of .BIZ. The vast majority of updates tend to happen within 2-3 minutes.
26.8 Provision for Searchable WHOIS Capabilities
ABLE will implement a new web-based service to address the new search features based on requirements specified in Specification 4 Section 1.8. The application will enable users to search the WHOIS directory using any one or more of the following fields:
• Domain name
• Contacts and registrant’s name
• Contact and registrant’s postal address, including all the sub-fields described in EPP (e.g., street, city, state or province, etc.)
• The system will also allow search using non-Latin character sets which are compliant with IDNA specification.
The user will choose one or more search criteria, combine them by Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) and provide partial or exact match regular expressions for each of the criterion name-value pairs. The domain names matching the search criteria will be returned to the user.
Figure 26-2 (attached) shows an architectural depiction of the new service. Neustar’s web-based service provides new search features based on requirements specified in Specification 4 Section 1.8.
To mitigate the risk of this powerful search service being abused by unscrupulous data miners, a layer of security will be built around the query engine which will allow the registry to identify rogue activities and then take appropriate measures. Potential abuses include, but are not limited to:
• Data Mining
• Unauthorized Access
• Excessive Querying
• Denial of Service Attacks
To mitigate the abuses noted above, ABLE will implement any or all of these mechanisms as appropriate:
• Username-password based authentication
• Certificate based authentication
• Data encryption
• CAPTCHA mechanism to prevent robo invocation of Web query
• Fee-based advanced query capabilities for premium customers.
The searchable WHOIS application will adhere to all privacy laws and policies of the “.ABLE” registry.
26.9 Resourcing Plans
As with the SRS, the development, customization, and on-going support of the WHOIS service is the responsibility of a combination of technical and operational teams. The primary groups responsible for managing the service include:
• Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees
• Database Administration – 10 employees
• Systems Administration – 24 employees
• Network Engineering – 5 employees
Additionally, if customization or modifications are required, the Product Management and Quality Assurance teams will also be involved. Finally, the Network Operations and Information Security play an important role in ensuring the systems involved are operating securely and reliably. The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. Neustar’s WHOIS implementation is very mature, and has been in production for over 10 years. As such, very little new development will be required to support the implementation of the “.ABLE” registry. The resources are more than adequate to support the WHOIS needs of all the TLDs operated by Neustar, including the “.ABLE” registry.
27. Registration Life Cycle: provide a detailed description of the proposed registration lifecycle for domain names in the proposed gTLD. The description must:
- explain the various registration states as well as the criteria and procedures that are used to change state;
- describe the typical registration lifecycle of create/update/delete and all intervening steps such as pending, locked, expired, and transferred that may apply;
- clearly explain any time elements that are involved - for instance details of add-grace or redemption grace periods, or notice periods for renewals or transfers; and
- describe resourcing plans for this aspect of the criteria (number and description of personnel roles allocated to this area).
The description of the registration lifecycle should be supplemented by the inclusion of a state diagram, which captures definitions, explanations of trigger points, and transitions from state to state.
If applicable, provide definitions for aspects of the registration lifecycle that are not covered by standard EPP RFCs.
A complete answer is expected to be no more than 5 pages.
27.1 Registration Life Cycle
ABLE Inc. (ABLE) will follow the lifecycle and business rules found in the majority of gTLDs today. ABLE’s back-end operator, Neustar, has over ten years of experience managing numerous TLDs that utilize standard and unique business rules and lifecycles. This section describes the business rules, registration states, and the overall domain lifecycle that will be use for “.ABLE”.
Domain Lifecycle - Description
The registry will use the EPP 1.0 standard for provisioning domain names, contacts and hosts. Each domain record is comprised of three registry object types: domain, contacts, and hosts Domains, contacts and hosts may be assigned various EPP defined statuses indicating either a particular state or restriction placed on the object. Some statuses may be applied by the Registrar; other statuses may only be applied by the Registry. Statuses are an integral part of the domain lifecycle and serve the dual purpose of indicating the particular state of the domain and indicating any restrictions placed on the domain. The EPP standard defines 17 statuses, however only 14 of these statuses will be used in the “.ABLE” registry per the defined “.ABLE” business rules.
The following is a brief description of each of the statuses. Server statuses may only be applied by the Registry, and client statuses may be applied by the Registrar.
• OK – Default status applied by the Registry.
• Inactive – Default status applied by the Registry if the domain has less than 2 nameservers.
• PendingCreate – Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Create command,
and indicates further action is pending. This status will not be used in the “.ABLE” registry.
• PendingTransfer – Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Transfer request command,
and indicates further action is pending.
• PendingDelete – Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Delete command that does
not result in the immediate deletion of the domain, and indicates further action is pending.
• PendingRenew – Status applied by the Registry upon processing a successful Renew command that does
not result in the immediate renewal of the domain, and indicates further action is pending. This status will not
be used in the “.ABLE” registry.
• PendingUpdate – Status applied by the Registry if an additional action is expected to complete the update,
and indicates further action is pending. This status will not be used in the “.ABLE” registry.
• Hold – Removes the domain from the DNS zone.
• UpdateProhibted – Prevents the object from being modified by an Update command.
• TransferProhibted – Prevents the object from being transferred to another Registrar by the Transfer command.
• RenewProhibted – Prevents a domain from being renewed by a Renew command.
• DeleteProhibted – Prevents the object from being deleted by a Delete command.
The lifecycle of a domain begins with the registration of the domain. All registrations must follow the EPP standard, as well as the specific business rules described in the response to Question 18 above. Upon registration a domain will either be in an active or inactive state. Domains in an active state are delegated and have their delegation information published to the zone. Inactive domains either have no delegation information or their delegation information in not published in the zone. Following the initial registration of a domain, one of five actions may occur during its lifecycle:
• Domain may be updated
• Domain may be deleted, either within or after the add-grace period
• Domain may be renewed at anytime during the term
• Domain may be auto-renewed by the Registry
• Domain may be transferred to another registrar.
Each of these actions may result in a change in domain state. This is described in more detail in the following section. Every domain must eventually be renewed, auto-renewed, transferred, or deleted. A registrar may apply EPP statuses described above to prevent specific actions such as updates, renewals, transfers, or deletions.
27.2 Registration States
Domain Lifecycle – Registration States
As described above the “.ABLE” registry will implement a standard domain lifecycle found in most gTLD registries today. There are five possible domain states:
• Pending Transfer
• Pending Delete.
All domains are always in either an Active or Inactive state, and throughout the course of the lifecycle may also be in a Locked, Pending Transfer, and Pending Delete state. Specific conditions such as applied EPP policies and registry business rules will determine whether a domain can be transitioned between states. Additionally, within each state, domains may be subject to various timed events such as grace periods, and notification periods.
The active state is the normal state of a domain and indicates that delegation data has been provided and the delegation information is published in the zone. A domain in an Active state may also be in the Locked or Pending Transfer states.
The Inactive state indicates that a domain has not been delegated or that the delegation data has not been published to the zone. A domain in an Inactive state may also be in the Locked or Pending Transfer states. By default all domain in the Pending Delete state are also in the Inactive state.
The Locked state indicates that certain specified EPP transactions may not be performed to the domain. A domain is considered to be in a Locked state if at least one restriction has been placed on the domain; however up to eight restrictions may be applied simultaneously. Domains in the Locked state will also be in the Active or Inactive, and under certain conditions may also be in the Pending Transfer or Pending Delete states.
Pending Transfer State
The Pending Transfer state indicates a condition in which there has been a request to transfer the domain from one registrar to another. The domain is placed in the Pending Transfer state for a period of time to allow the current (losing) registrar to approve (ack) or reject (nack) the transfer request. Registrars may only nack requests for reasons specified in the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy.
Pending Delete State
The Pending Delete State occurs when a Delete command has been sent to the Registry after the first 5 days (120 hours) of registration. The Pending Delete period is 35-days during which the first 30-days the name enters the Redemption Grace Period (RGP) and the last 5-days guarantee that the domain will be purged from the Registry Database and available to public pool for registration on a first come, first serve basis.
27.1.2 Typical Registration Lifecycle Activities
Domain Creation Process
The creation (registration) of domain names is the fundamental registry operation. All other operations are designed to support or compliment a domain creation. The following steps occur when a domain is created.
1. Contact objects are created in the SRS database. The same contact object may be used for each
contact type, or they may all be different. If the contacts already exist in the database this step may be skipped.
2. Nameservers are created in the SRS database. Nameservers are not required to complete the registration
process; however any domain with less than 2 name servers will not be resolvable.
3. The domain is created using the each of the objects created in the previous steps. In addition, the term
and any client statuses may be assigned at the time of creation.
The actual number of EPP transactions needed to complete the registration of a domain name can be as few as one and as many as 40. The latter assumes seven distinct contacts and 13 nameservers, with Check and Create commands submitted for each object.
Registry objects may be updated (modified) using the EPP Modify operation. The Update transaction updates the attributes of the object.
For example, the Update operation on a domain name will only allow the following attributes to be updated:
• Domain statuses
• Registrant ID
• Administrative Contact ID
• Billing Contact ID
• Technical Contact ID
• Additional Registrar provided fields.
The Update operation will not modify the details of the contacts. Rather it may be used to associate a different contact object (using the Contact ID) to the domain name. To update the details of the contact object the Update transaction must be applied to the contact itself. For example, if an existing registrant wished to update the postal address, the Registrar would use the Update command to modify the contact object, and not the domain object.
The term of a domain may be extended using the EPP Renew operation. ICANN policy general establishes the maximum term of a domain name to be 10 years, and Neustar recommends not deviating from this policy. A domain may be renewed⁄extended at any point time, even immediately following the initial registration. The only stipulation is that the overall term of the domain name may not exceed 10 years. If a Renew operation is performed with a term value will extend the domain beyond the 10 year limit, the Registry will reject the transaction entirely.
The EPP Transfer command is used for several domain transfer related operations:
• Initiate a domain transfer
• Cancel a domain transfer
• Approve a domain transfer
• Reject a domain transfer.
To transfer a domain from one Registrar to another the following process is followed:
1. The gaining (new) Registrar submits a Transfer command, which includes the AuthInfo code of
the domain name.
2. If the AuthInfo code is valid and the domain is not in a status that does not allow transfers the domain is
placed into pendingTransfer status
3. A poll message notifying the losing Registrar of the pending transfer is sent to the Registrar’s message queue
4. The domain remains in pendingTransfer status for up to 120 hours, or until the losing (current) Registrar Acks
(approves) or Nack (rejects) the transfer request
5. If the losing Registrar has not Acked or Nacked the transfer request within the 120 hour timeframe, the Registry
auto-approves the transfer
6. The requesting Registrar may cancel the original request up until the transfer has been completed. A transfer
adds an additional year to the term of the domain. In the event that a transfer will cause the domain to exceed
the 10 year maximum term, the Registry will add a partial term up to the 10 year limit. Unlike with the Renew
operation, the Registry will not reject a transfer operation.
A domain may be deleted from the SRS using the EPP Delete operation. The Delete operation will result in either the domain being immediately removed from the database or the domain being placed in pendingDelete status. The outcome is dependent on when the domain is deleted. If the domain is deleted within the first five days (120 hours) of registration, the domain is immediately removed from the database. A deletion at any other time will result in the domain being placed in pendingDelete status and entering the Redemption Grace Period (RGP). Additionally, domains that are deleted within five days (120) hours of any billable (add, renew, transfer) transaction may be deleted for credit.
27.1.3 Applicable Time Elements
The following section explains the time elements that are involved.
There are six grace periods:
• Add-Delete Grace Period (AGP)
• Renew-Delete Grace Period
• Transfer-Delete Grace Period
• Auto-Renew-Delete Grace Period
• Auto-Renew Grace Period
• Redemption Grace Period (RGP).
The first four grace periods listed above are designed to provide the Registrar with the ability to cancel a revenue transaction (add, renew, or transfer) within a certain period of time and receive a credit for the original transaction.
The following describes each of these grace periods in detail.
Add-Delete Grace Period
The AGP is associated with the date the Domain was registered. Domains may be deleted for credit during the initial 120 hours of a registration, and the Registrar will receive a billing credit for the original registration. If the domain is deleted during the Add Grace Period, the domain is dropped from the database immediately and a credit is applied to the Registrar’s billing account.
Renew-Delete Grace Period
The Renew-Delete Grace Period is associated with the date the Domain was renewed. Domains may be deleted for credit during the 120 hours after a renewal. The grace period is intended to allow Registrars to correct domains that were mistakenly renewed. It should be noted that domains that are deleted during the renew grace period will be placed into pendingDelete and will enter the RGP (see below).
Transfer-Delete Grace Period
The Transfer-Delete Grace Period is associated with the date the Domain was transferred to another Registrar. Domains may be deleted for credit during the 120 hours after a transfer. It should be noted that domains that are deleted during the renew grace period will be placed into pendingDelete and will enter the RGP. A deletion of domain after a transfer is not the method used to correct a transfer mistake. Domains that have been erroneously transferred or hijacked by another party can be transferred back to the original registrar through various means including contacting the Registry.
Auto-Renew-Delete Grace Period
The Auto-Renew-Delete Grace Period is associated with the date the Domain was auto-renewed. Domains may be deleted for credit during the 120 hours after an auto-renewal. The grace period is intended to allow Registrars to correct domains that were mistakenly auto-renewed. It should be noted that domains that are deleted during the auto-renew delete grace period will be placed into pendingDelete and will enter the RGP.
Auto-Renew Grace Period
The Auto-Renew Grace Period is a special grace period intended to provide registrants with an extra amount of time, beyond the expiration date, to renew their domain name. The grace period lasts for 45 days from the expiration date of the domain name. Registrars are not required to provide registrants with the full 45 days of the period.
Redemption Grace Period
The RGP is a special grace period that enables Registrars to restore domains that have been inadvertently deleted but are still in pendingDelete status within the Redemption Grace Period. All domains enter the RGP except those deleted during the AGP.
The RGP period is 30 days, during which time the domain may be restored using the EPP RenewDomain command as described below. Following the 30day RGP period the domain will remain in pendingDelete status for an additional five days, during which time the domain may NOT be restored. The domain is released from the SRS, at the end of the 5 day non-restore period. A restore fee applies and is detailed in the Billing Section. A renewal fee will be automatically applied for any domain past expiration.
Neustar has created a unique restoration process that uses the EPP Renew transaction to restore the domain and fulfill all the reporting obligations required under ICANN policy. The following describes the restoration process.
27.2 State Diagram
Figure 27-1 provides a description of the registration lifecycle.
The different states of the lifecycle are active, inactive, locked, pending transfer, and pending delete. Please refer to section 27.1.1 for detail description of each of these states. The lines between the states represent triggers that transition a domain from one state to another.
The details of each trigger are described below:
• Create: Registry receives a create domain EPP command.
• WithNS: The domain has met the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy in order to
published in the DNS zone.
• WithOutNS: The domain has not met the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy. The
domain will not be in the DNS zone.
• Remove Nameservers: Domainʹs nameserver(s) is removed as part of an update domain EPP command.
The total nameserver is below the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy in order to
be published in the DNS zone.
• Add Nameservers: Nameserver(s) has been added to domain as part of an update domain EPP command.
The total number of nameservers has met the minimum number of nameservers required by registry policy in
order to be published in the DNS zone.
• Delete: Registry receives a delete domain EPP command.
• DeleteAfterGrace: Domain deletion does not fall within the add grace period.
• DeleteWithinAddGrace: Domain deletion falls within add grace period.
• Restore: Domain is restored. Domain goes back to its original state prior to the delete command.
• Transfer: Transfer request EPP command is received.
• Transfer Approve⁄Cancel⁄Reject: Transfer requested is approved or cancel or rejected.
• TransferProhibited: The domain is in clientTransferProhibited and⁄or serverTranferProhibited status.
This will cause the transfer request to fail. The domain goes back to its original state.
• DeleteProhibited: The domain is in clientDeleteProhibited and⁄or serverDeleteProhibited status.
This will cause the delete command to fail. The domain goes back to its original state.
Note: the locked state is not represented as a distinct state on the diagram as a domain may be in a locked state in combination with any of the other states: inactive, active, pending transfer, or pending delete.
27.2.1 EPP RFC Consistency
As described above, the domain lifecycle is determined by ICANN policy and the EPP RFCs. Neustar has been operating ICANN TLDs for the past 10 years consistent and compliant with all the ICANN policies and related EPP RFCs.
The registration lifecycle and associated business rules are largely determined by policy and business requirements; as such the Neustar Product Management and Policy teams, as well as Interlink’s consultants will play a critical role in working with ABLE to determine the precise rules that meet the requirements of “ABLE”. Implementation of the lifecycle rules will be the responsibility of Development ⁄ Engineering team, with testing performed by the Quality Assurance team. Neustar’s SRS implementation is very flexible and configurable, and in many case development is not required to support business rule changes.
The “.ABLE” registry will be using standard lifecycle rules, and as such no customization is anticipated. However should modifications be required in the future, the necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams
Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees
Registry Product Management – 4 employees
These resources are more than adequate to support the development needs of all the TLDs operat
28. Abuse Prevention and Mitigation: Applicants should describe the proposed policies and procedures to minimize abusive registrations and other activities that have a negative impact on Internet users. A complete answer should include, but is not limited to:
- An implementation plan to establish and publish on its website a single abuse point of contact responsible for addressing matters requiring expedited attention and providing a timely response to abuse complaints concerning all names registered in the TLD through all registrars of record, including those involving a reseller;
- Policies for handling complaints regarding abuse;
- Proposed measures for removal of orphan glue records for names removed from the zone when provided with evidence in written form that the glue is present in connection with malicious conduct (see Specification 6); and
- Resourcing plans for the initial implementation of, and ongoing maintenance for, this aspect of the criteria (number and description of personnel roles allocated to this area).
To be eligible for a score of 2, answers must include measures to promote Whois accuracy as well as measures from one other area as described below.
- Measures to promote Whois accuracy (can be undertaken by the registry directly or by registrars via requirements in the Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA)) may include, but are not limited to:
- Authentication of registrant information as complete and accurate at time of registration. Measures to accomplish this could include performing background checks, verifying all contact information of principals mentioned in registration data, reviewing proof of establishment documentation, and other means
- Regular monitoring of registration data for accuracy and completeness, employing authentication methods, and establishing policies and procedures to address domain names with inaccurate or incomplete Whois data; and
- If relying on registrars to enforce measures, establishing policies and procedures to ensure compliance, which may include audits, financial incentives, penalties, or other means. Note that the requirements of the RAA will continue to apply to all ICANN-accredited registrars.
- A description of policies and procedures that define malicious or abusive behavior, capture metrics, and establish Service Level Requirements for resolution, including service levels for responding to law enforcement requests. This may include rapid takedown or suspension systems and sharing information regarding malicious or abusive behavior with industry partners;
- Adequate controls to ensure proper access to domain functions (can be undertaken by the registry directly or by registrars via requirements in the Registry-Registrar Agreement (RRA)) may include, but are not limited to:
- Requiring multi-factor authentication (i.e., strong passwords, tokens, one-time passwords) from registrants to process update, transfers, and deletion requests;
- Requiring multiple, unique points of contact to request and/or approve update, transfer, and deletion requests; and
- Requiring the notification of multiple, unique points of contact when a domain has been updated, transferred, or deleted.
A complete answer is expected to be no more than 20 pages.
28.1 Abuse Prevention and Mitigation
Strong abuse prevention of a new gTLD is an important benefit to the internet community. As such, ABLE Inc. (ABLE) and its back-end registry services provider, Neustar, agree that a registry must not only aim for the highest standards of technical and operational competence, but also needs to act as a steward of the space on behalf of the Internet community and ICANN in promoting the public interest. Neustar brings extensive experience establishing and implementing registration policies. This experience will be leveraged to help ABLE combat abusive and malicious domain activity within the new gTLD space.
One of those public interest functions for a responsible domain name registry includes working towards the eradication of abusive domain name registrations, including, but not limited to, those resulting from:
• Illegal or fraudulent actions
• Distribution of malware
• Fast flux hosting
• Distribution of child pornography
• Online sale or distribution of illegal pharmaceuticals.
More specifically, although traditionally botnets have used Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers to control registry and the compromised PCs, or bots, for DDoS attacks and the theft of personal information, an increasingly popular technique, known as fast-flux DNS, allows botnets to use a multitude of servers to hide a key host or to create a highly-available control network. This ability to shift the attacker’s infrastructure over a multitude of servers in various countries creates an obstacle for law enforcement and security researchers to mitigate the effects of these botnets. But a point of weakness in this scheme is its dependence on DNS for its translation services. By taking an active role in researching and monitoring these sorts of botnets, ABLE’s partner, Neustar, has developed the ability to efficiently work with various law enforcement and security communities to begin a new phase of mitigation of these types of threats.
Policies and Procedures to Minimize Abusive Registrations
A Registry must have the policies, resources, personnel, and expertise in place to combat such abusive DNS practices. Neustar is at the forefront of the prevention of such abusive practices and is one of the few registry operators to have actually developed and implemented an active “domain takedown” policy. We also believe that a strong program is essential given that registrants have a reasonable expectation that they are in control of the data associated with their domains, especially its presence in the DNS zone. Because domain names are sometimes used as a mechanism to enable various illegitimate activities on the Internet often the best preventative measure to thwart these attacks is to remove the names completely from the DNS before they can impart harm, not only to the domain name registrant, but also to millions of unsuspecting Internet users.
Removing the domain name from the zone has the effect of shutting down all activity associated with the domain name, including the use of all websites and e-mail. The use of this technique should not be entered into lightly. ABLE, in conjunction with Neustar, has an extensive, defined, and documented process for taking the necessary action of removing a domain from the zone when its presence in the zone poses a threat to the security and stability of the infrastructure of the Internet or the registry.
Abuse Point of Contact
As required by the Registry Agreement, ABLE will establish and publish on its website a single abuse point of contact responsible for addressing inquiries from law enforcement and the public related to malicious and abusive conduct. ABLE will also provide such information to ICANN prior to the delegation of any domain names in the TLD. This information shall consist of, at a minimum, a valid e-mail address dedicated solely to the handling of malicious conduct complaints, and a telephone number and mailing address for the primary contact. We will ensure that this information will be kept accurate and up to date and will be provided to ICANN if and when changes are made. In addition, with respect to inquiries from ICANN-Accredited registrars, our registry services provider, Neustar, shall have an additional point of contact, as it does today, handling requests by registrars related to abusive domain name practices.
28.2 Policies Regarding Abuse Complaints
One of the key policies each new gTLD registry will need to have is an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly delineates the types of activities that constitute “abuse” and the repercussions associated with an abusive domain name registration. In addition, the policy will be incorporated into the applicable Registry-Registrar Agreement and reserve the right for the registry to take the appropriate actions based on the type of abuse. This will include locking down the domain name preventing any changes to the contact and nameserver information associated with the domain name, placing the domain name “on hold” rendering the domain name non-resolvable, transferring to the domain name to another registrar, and⁄or in cases in which the domain name is associated with an existing law enforcement investigation, substituting name servers to collect information about the DNS queries to assist the investigation.
ABLE will adopt an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly defines the types of activities that will not be permitted in the TLD and reserves the right to lock, cancel, transfer or otherwise suspend or take down domain names violating the Acceptable Use Policy and allow the Registry where and when appropriate to share information with law enforcement. Each ICANN-Accredited Registrar must agree to pass through the Acceptable Use Policy to its Resellers (if applicable) and ultimately to the TLD registrants. Below is the Registry’s initial Acceptable Use Policy that we will use in connection with “.ABLE”.
Draft Language for ABLE’s Acceptable Use Policy
This Acceptable Use Policy gives the Registry the ability to quickly lock, cancel, transfer or take ownership of any “.ABLE” domain name, either temporarily or permanently, if the domain name is being used in a manner that appears to threaten the stability, integrity or security of the Registry, or any of its registrar partners – and⁄or that may put the safety and security of any registrant or user at risk. The process also allows the Registry to take preventive measures to avoid any such criminal or security threats.
The Acceptable Use Policy may be triggered through a variety of channels, including, among other things, private complaint, public alert, government or enforcement agency outreach, and the on-going monitoring by the Registry or its partners. In all cases, the Registry or its designees will alert Registry’s registrar partners about any identified threats, and will work closely with them to bring offending sites into compliance.
The following are some (but not all) activities that may be subject to rapid domain compliance:
• Phishing: the attempt to acquire personally identifiable information by masquerading as a
website other than its own.
• Pharming: the redirection of Internet users to websites other than those the user intends to visit,
usually through unauthorized changes to the Hosts file on a victim’s computer or DNS records in DNS servers.
• Dissemination of Malware: the intentional creation and distribution of ʺmaliciousʺ software designed to infiltrate
a computer system without the owner’s consent, including, without limitation, computer viruses, worms,
key loggers, and Trojans.
• Fast Flux Hosting: a technique used to shelter Phishing, Pharming and Malware sites and networks from
detection and to frustrate methods employed to defend against such practices, whereby the IP address
associated with fraudulent websites are changed rapidly so as to make the true location of the sites difficult to find.
• Botnetting: the development and use of a command, agent, motor, service, or software which is implemented:
(1) to remotely control the computer or computer system of an Internet user without their knowledge or consent,
(2) to generate direct denial of service (DDOS) attacks.
• Malicious Hacking: the attempt to gain unauthorized access (or exceed the level of authorized access) to a computer,
information system, user account or profile, database, or security system.
• Child Pornography: the storage, publication, display and⁄or dissemination of pornographic materials depicting
individuals under the age of majority in the relevant jurisdiction.
The Registry reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any administrative and operational actions necessary, including the use of computer forensics and information security technological services, among other things, in order to implement the Acceptable Use Policy. In addition, the Registry reserves the right to deny, cancel or transfer any registration or transaction, or place any domain name(s) on registry lock, hold or similar status, that it deems necessary, in its discretion; (1) to protect the integrity and stability of the registry; (2) to comply with any applicable laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement, or any dispute resolution process; (3) to avoid any liability, civil or criminal, on the part of Registry as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, and employees; (4) per the terms of the registration agreement or (5) to correct mistakes made by the Registry or any Registrar in connection with a domain name registration. Registry also reserves the right to place upon registry lock, hold or similar status a domain name during resolution of a dispute.
Taking Action Against Abusive and⁄or Malicious Activity
The Registry is committed to ensuring that those domain names associated with abuse or malicious conduct in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy are dealt with in a timely and decisive manner. These include taking action against those domain names that are being used to threaten the stability and security of the TLD, or is part of a real-time investigation by law enforcement.
Once a complaint is received from a trusted source, third-party, or detected by the Registry, the Registry will use commercially reasonable efforts to verify the information in the complaint. If that information can be verified to the best of the ability of the Registry, the sponsoring registrar will be notified and be given a predetermined amount of time defined in the Registry-Registrar Agreement to investigate the activity and either take down the domain name by placing the domain name on hold or by deleting the domain name in its entirety or providing a compelling argument to the Registry to keep the name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the timeframe expires (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), the Registry will place the domain on “ServerHold”. Although this action removes the domain name from the TLD zone, the domain name record still appears in the TLD WHOIS database so that the name and entities can be investigated by law enforcement should they desire to get involved.
Coordination with Law Enforcement
With the assistance of Neustar as its back-end registry services provider, the Registry can meet its obligations under Section 2.8 of the Registry Agreement where required to take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to reports from law enforcement and governmental and quasi-governmental agencies of illegal conduct in connection with the use of its TLD. The Registry will respond to legitimate law enforcement inquiries within one business day from receiving the request. Such response shall include, at a minimum, an acknowledgement of receipt of the request, questions or comments concerning the request, and an outline of the next steps to be taken by the Registry for rapid resolution of the request.
In the event such request involves any of the activities which can be validated by the Registry and involves the type of activity set forth in the Acceptable Use Policy, the sponsoring registrar is then given a predetermined amount of time defined in the Registry-Registrar Agreement to investigate the activity further and either take down the domain name by placing the domain name on hold or by deleting the domain name in its entirety or providing a compelling argument to the registry to keep the name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the timeframe expires (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), the Registry will place the domain on “serverHold”.
28.3 Measures for Removal of Orphan Glue Records
As the Security and Stability Advisory Committee of ICANN (SSAC) rightly acknowledges, although orphaned glue records may be used for abusive or malicious purposes, the “dominant use of orphaned glue supports the correct and ordinary operation of the DNS.” See http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄committees⁄security⁄sac048.pdf.
While orphan glue often support correct and ordinary operation of the DNS, we understand that such glue records can be used maliciously to point to name servers that host domains used in illegal phishing, bot-nets, malware, and other abusive behaviors. Problems occur when the parent domain of the glue record is deleted but its children glue records still remain in DNS. Therefore, when the Registry has written evidence of actual abuse of orphaned glue, the Registry will take action to remove those records from the zone to mitigate such malicious conduct.
Neustar run a daily audit of entries in its DNS systems and compares those with its provisioning system. This serves as an umbrella protection to make sure that items in the DNS zone are valid. Any DNS record that shows up in the DNS zone but not in the provisioning system will be flagged for investigation and removed if necessary. This daily DNS audit serves to not only prevent orphaned hosts but also other records that should not be in the zone.
In addition, if either ABLE or Neustar become aware of actual abuse on orphaned glue after receiving written notification by a third party through its Abuse Contact or through its customer support, such glue records will be removed from the zone.
28.4 Resourcing Plans
Responsibility for abuse mitigation rests with a variety of functional groups. The Abuse Monitoring team is primarily responsible for providing analysis and conducting investigations of reports of abuse. The customer service team also plays an important role in assisting with the investigations, responded to customers, and notifying registrars of abusive domains. Finally, the Policy⁄Legal team is responsible for developing the relevant policies and procedures.
The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:
• Customer Support – 12 employees
• Policy⁄Legal – 2 employees
The resources are more than adequate to support the abuse mitigation procedures of the “.ABLE” registry.
29. Rights Protection Mechanisms: Applicants must describe how their registry will comply with policies and practices that minimize abusive registrations and other activities that affect the legal rights of others, such as the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system, and Trademark Claims and Sunrise services at startup.
A complete answer should include:
- A description of how the registry operator will implement safeguards against allowing unqualified registrations (e.g., registrations made in violation of the registry’s eligibility restrictions or policies), and reduce opportunities for behaviors such as phishing or pharming. At a minimum, the registry operator must offer a Sunrise period and a Trademark Claims service during the required time periods, and implement decisions rendered under the URS on an ongoing basis; and
- A description of resourcing plans for the initial implementation of, and ongoing maintenance for, this aspect of the criteria (number and description of personnel roles allocated to this area).
>To be eligible for a score of 2, answers must also include additional measures specific to rights protection, such as abusive use policies, takedown procedures, registrant pre-verification, or authentication procedures, or other covenants.
A complete answer is expected to be no more than 10 pages.
29.1 Rights Protection Mechanisms
ABLE Inc. (ABLE) is firmly committed to the protection of Intellectual Property rights and to implementing the mandatory rights protection mechanisms contained in the Applicant Guidebook and detailed in Specification 7 of the Registry Agreement. ABLE recognizes that although the New gTLD program includes significant protections beyond those that were mandatory for a number of the current TLDs, a key motivator for ABLE’s selection of Neustar as its registry services provider is Neustar’s experience in successfully launching a number of TLDs with diverse rights protection mechanisms, including many of the ones required in the Applicant Guidebook. More specifically, ABLE will implement the following rights protection mechanisms in accordance with the Applicant Guidebook as further described below:
• Trademark Clearinghouse: a one-stop shop so that trademark holders can protect their trademarks
with a single registration.
• Sunrise and Trademark Claims processes for the TLD.
• Implementation of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy to address domain names that have been
registered and used in bad faith in the TLD.
• Uniform Rapid Suspension: A quicker, more efficient and cheaper alternative to the Uniform Dispute
Resolution Policy to deal with clear cut cases of cybersquatting.
• Implementation of a Thick WHOIS making it easier for rights holders to identify and locate infringing parties
A. Trademark Clearinghouse Including Sunrise and Trademark Claims
The first mandatory rights protection mechanism (“RPM”) required to be implemented by each new gTLD Registry is support for, and interaction with, the trademark clearinghouse. The trademark clearinghouse is intended to serve as a central repository for information to be authenticated, stored and disseminated pertaining to the rights of trademark holders. The data maintained in the clearinghouse will support and facilitate other RPMs, including the mandatory Sunrise Period and Trademark Claims service. Although many of the details of how the trademark clearinghouse will interact with each registry operator and registrars, ABLE is actively monitoring the developments of the Implementation Assistance Group (“IAG”) designed to assist ICANN staff in firming up the rules and procedures associated with the policies and technical requirements for the trademark clearinghouse. In addition, ABLE’s back-end registry services provider is actively participating in the IAG to ensure that the protections afforded by the clearinghouse and associated RPMs are feasible and implementable.
Utilizing the trademark clearinghouse, all operators of new gTLDs must offer: (i) a sunrise registration service for at least 30 days during the pre-launch phase giving eligible trademark owners an early opportunity to register second-level domains in new gTLDs; and (ii) a trademark claims service for at least the first 60 days that second-level registrations are open. The trademark claim service is intended to provide clear noticeʺ to a potential registrant of the rights of a trademark owner whose trademark is registered in the clearinghouse.
ABLE’s registry service provider for “.ABLE,” Neustar, has already implemented Sunrise and⁄or Trademark Claims programs for numerous TLDs including .biz, .us, .travel, .tel and .co and will implement the both of these services for “.ABLE”.
Neustar’s Experience in Implementing Sunrise and Trademark Claims Processes
In early 2002, Neustar became the first registry operator to launch a successful authenticated Sunrise process. This process permitted qualified trademark owners to pre-register their trademarks as domain names in the .us TLD space prior to the opening of the space to the general public. Unlike any other “Sunrise” plans implemented (or proposed before that time), Neustar validated the authenticity of Trademark applications and registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Subsequently, as the back-end registry operator for the .tel gTLD and the .co ccTLD, Neustar launched validated Sunrise programs employing processes. These programs are very similar to those that are to be employed by the Trademark Clearinghouse for new gTLDs.
Below is a high level overview of the implementation of the .co Sunrise period that demonstrates Neustar’s experience and ability to provide a Sunrise service and an overview of Neustar’s experience in implementing a Trademark Claims program to trademark owners for the launch of .BIZ. Neustar’s experience in each of these rights protection mechanisms will enable it to seamlessly provide these services for “.ABLE” on behalf of ABLE as required by ICANN.
a) Sunrise and .co
The Sunrise process for .co was divided into two sub-phases:
-- Local Sunrise giving holders of eligible trademarks that have obtained registered status from the Colombian trademark office the opportunity apply for the .CO domain names corresponding with their marks
-- Global Sunrise program giving holders of eligible registered trademarks of national effect, that have obtained a registered status in any country of the world the opportunity apply for the .CO domain names corresponding with their marks for a period of time before registration is open to the public at large.
Like the new gTLD process set forth in the Applicant Guidebook, trademark owners had to have their rights validated by a Clearinghouse provider prior to the registration being accepted by the Registry. The Clearinghouse used a defined process for checking the eligibility of the legal rights claimed as the basis of each Sunrise application using official national trademark databases and submitted documentary evidence.
Applicants and⁄or their designated agents had the option of interacting directly with the Clearinghouse to ensure their applications were accurate and complete prior to submitting them to the Registry pursuant to an optional “Pre-validation Process”. Whether or not an applicant was “pre-validated”, the applicant had to submit its corresponding domain name application through an accredited registrar. When the Applicant was pre-validated through the Clearinghouse, each was given an associated approval number that it had to supply the registry. If they were not pre-validated, applicants were required to submit the required trademark information through their registrar to the Registry.
As the registry level, Neustar, subsequently either delivered the:
• Approval number and domain name registration information to the Clearinghouse
• When there was no approval number, trademark information and the domain name registration
information was provided to the Clearinghouse through EPP (as is currently required under the
Information was then used by the Clearinghouse as either further validation of those pre-validated applications, or initial validation of those that did not go through pre-validation. If the applicant was validated and their trademark matched the domain name applied-for, the Clearinghouse communicated that fact to the Registry via EPP.
When there was only one validated sunrise application, the application proceeded to registration when the .co launched. If there were multiple validated applications (recognizing that there could be multiple trademark owners sharing the same trademark), those were included in the .co Sunrise auction process. Neustar tracked all of the information it received and the status of each application and posted that status on a secure Website to enable trademark owners to view the status of its Sunrise application.
Although the exact process for the Sunrise program and its interaction between the trademark owner, Registry, Registrar, and IP Clearinghouse is not completely defined in the Applicant Guidebook and is dependent on the current RFI issued by ICANN in its selection of a Trademark Clearinghouse provider, Neustar’s expertise in launching multiple Sunrise processes and its established software will implement a smooth and compliant Sunrise process for the new gTLDs.
b) Trademark Claims Service Experience
With Neustar’s biz TLD launched in 2001, Neustar became the first TLD with a Trademark Claims service. Neustar developed the Trademark Claim Service by enabling companies to stake claims to domain names prior to the commencement of live .biz domain registrations.
During the Trademark Claim process, Neustar received over 80,000 Trademark Claims from entities around the world. Recognizing that multiple intellectual property owners could have trademark rights in a particular mark, multiple Trademark Claims for the same string were accepted. All applications were logged into a Trademark Claims database managed by Neustar.
The Trademark Claimant was required to provide various information about their trademark rights, including the:
• Particular trademark or service mark relied on for the trademark Claim
• Date a trademark application on the mark was filed, if any, on the string of the domain name
• Country where the mark was filed, if applicable
• Registration date, if applicable
• Class or classes of goods and services for which the trademark or service mark was registered
• Name of a contact person with whom to discuss the claimed trademark rights.
Once all Trademark Claims and domain name applications were collected, Neustar then compared the claims contained within the Trademark Claims database with its database of collected domain name applications (DNAs). In the event of a match between a Trademark Claim and a domain name application, an e-mail message was sent to the domain name applicant notifying the applicant of the existing Trademark Claim. The e-mail also stressed that if the applicant chose to continue the application process and was ultimately selected as the registrant, the applicant would be subject to Neustar’s dispute proceedings if challenged by the Trademark Claimant for that particular domain name.
The domain name applicant had the option to proceed with the application or cancel the application. Proceeding on an application meant that the applicant wanted to go forward and have the application proceed to registration despite having been notified of an existing Trademark Claim. By choosing to “cancel,” the applicant made a decision in light of an existing Trademark Claim notification to not proceed.
If the applicant did not respond to the e-mail notification from Neustar, or elected to cancel the application, the application was not processed. This resulted in making the applicant ineligible to register the actual domain name. If the applicant affirmatively elected to continue the application process after being notified of the claimant’s (or claimants’) alleged trademark rights to the desired domain name, Neustar processed the application.
This process is very similar to the one ultimately adopted by ICANN and incorporated in the latest version of the Applicant Guidebook. Although the collection of Trademark Claims for new gTLDs will be by the Trademark Clearinghouse, many of the aspects of Neustar’s Trademark Claims process in 2001 are similar to those in the Applicant Guidebook. This makes Neustar uniquely qualified to implement the new gTLD Trademark Claims process.
B. Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS)
Neustar’s Vice President of Business Affairs, Jeff Neuman, was a key contributor to the development of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) in 1998 prior to joining Neustar. This became the first “Consensus Policy” of ICANN and has been required to be implemented by all domain name registries since that time. The UDRP is intended as an alternative dispute resolution process to transfer domain names from those that have registered and used domain names in bad faith. Although there is not much of an active role that the domain name registry plays in the implementation of the UDRP, Neustar has closely monitored UDRP decisions that have involved the TLDs for which it supports and ensures that the decisions are implemented by the registrars supporting its TLDs. When alerted by trademark owners of failures to implement UDRP decisions by its registrars, Neustar either proactively implements the decisions itself or reminds the offending registrar of its obligations to implement the decision.
In response to complaints by trademark owners that the UDRP was too cost prohibitive and slow, and the fact that more than 70 percent of UDRP cases were “clear cut” cases of cybersquatting, ICANN adopted the IRT’s recommendation that all new gTLD registries be required, pursuant to their contracts with ICANN, to take part in a Uniform Rapid Suspension System (“URS”). The purpose of the URS is to provide a more cost effective and timely mechanism for brand owners than the UDRP to protect their trademarks and to promote consumer protection on the Internet.
The URS is not meant to address questionable cases of alleged infringement (e.g., use of terms in a generic sense) or for anti-competitive purposes or denial of free speech, but rather for those cases in which there is no genuine contestable issue as to the infringement and abuse that is taking place.
Unlike the UDRP which requires little involvement of gTLD registries, the URS envisages much more of an active role at the registry-level. For example, rather than requiring the registrar to lock down a domain name subject to a UDRP dispute, it is the registry under the URS that must lock the domain within 24hours of receipt of the complaint from the URS Provider to restrict all changes to the registration data, including transfer and deletion of the domain names.
In addition, in the event of a determination in favor of the complainant, the registry is required to suspend the domain name. This suspension remains for the balance of the registration period and would not resolve the original website. Rather, the nameservers would be redirected to an informational web page provided by the URS Provider about the URS.
Additionally, the WHOIS reflects that the domain name will not be able to be transferred, deleted, or modified for the life of the registration. Finally, there is an option for a successful complainant to extend the registration period for one additional year at commercial rates.
ABLE is fully aware of each of these requirements and will have the capability to implement these requirements for new gTLDs. In fact, during the IRT’s development of the URS, Neustar began examining the implications of the URS on its registry operations and provided the IRT with feedback on whether the recommendations from the IRT would be feasible for registries to implement.
Although there have been a few changes to the URS since the IRT recommendations, Neustar continued to participate in the development of the URS by providing comments to ICANN, many of which were adopted. As a result, Neustar is committed to supporting the URS for all of the registries that it provides back-end registry services.
3. Implementation of Thick WHOIS
The “.ABLE” registry will include a thick WHOIS database as required in Specification 4 of the Registry agreement. A thick WHOIS provides numerous advantages including a centralized location of registrant information, the ability to more easily manage and control the accuracy of data, and a consistent user experience.
4. Policies Handling Complaints Regarding Abuse
In addition the Rights Protection mechanisms addressed above, ABLE will implement a number of measures to handle complaints regarding the abusive registration of domain names in its TLD as described in ABLE’s response to Question 28.
Registry Acceptable Use Policy
One of the key policies each new gTLD registry requires is an Acceptable Use Policy that clearly delineates the types of activities that constitute “abuse” and the repercussions associated with an abusive domain name registration. The policy must be incorporated into the applicable Registry-Registrar Agreement and reserve the right for the registry to take the appropriate actions based on the type of abuse. This may include locking down the domain name preventing any changes to the contact and nameserver information associated with the domain name, placing the domain name “on hold” rendering the domain name non-resolvable, transferring to the domain name to another registrar, and⁄or in cases in which the domain name is associated with an existing law enforcement investigation, substituting name servers to collect information about the DNS queries to assist the investigation. ABLE’s Acceptable Use Policy, set forth in our response to Question 28, will include prohibitions on phishing, pharming, dissemination of malware, fast flux hosting, hacking, and child pornography. In addition, the policy will include the right of the registry to take action necessary to deny, cancel, suspend, lock, or transfer any registration in violation of the policy.
Monitoring for Malicious Activity
ABLE plans to use the TLD internally for its own branding purpose, and though it does not anticipate any issues regarding malicious activities in its zone, ABLE is committed to ensuring that those domain names associated with abuse or malicious conduct in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy are dealt with in a timely and decisive manner. These include taking action against those domain names that are being used to threaten the stability and security of the TLD, or is part of a real-time investigation by law enforcement.
Once a complaint is received from a trusted source, third-party, or detected by the Registry, the Registry will use commercially reasonable efforts to verify the information in the complaint. If that information can be verified to the best of the ability of the Registry, the sponsoring registrar will be notified and be given 12 hours to investigate the activity and either take down the domain name by placing the domain name on hold or by deleting the domain name in its entirety or providing a compelling argument to the Registry to keep the name in the zone. If the registrar has not taken the requested action after the 12-hour period (i.e., is unresponsive to the request or refuses to take action), the Registry will place the domain on “ServerHold”. Although this action removes the domain name from the TLD zone, the domain name record still appears in the TLD WHOIS database so that the name and entities can be investigated by law enforcement should they desire to get involved.
29.2 Safeguards against Unqualified Registrations
An approved manager will be able to submit domain registration request to the Domain Name managing department though a written internal request form. Once the Domain Manager receives a registration request, an internal review will be completed to ensure the name complies with internal policies and procedures as well as the technical specifications outlined below. Once the name has undergone the standard review, and is deemed in compliance with internal rules and procedures, the name will be approved and submitted for registration thorugh an ICAN accredited registrar.
ABLE, its group companies, and subsidiaries will be the only eligible registrants in the zone, and therefore, we believe the internal process coupled with compliance with all consensus policies, including the UDRP, and the URS will be sufficient in safeguarding against unqualified registrations.
29.3 Resourcing Plans
The rights protection mechanisms described in the response above involve a wide range of tasks, procedures, and systems. The responsibility for each mechanism varies based on the specific requirements. In general the development of applications such as sunrise and IP claims is the responsibility of the Engineering team, with guidance from the Product Management team. Customer Support and Legal play a critical role in enforcing certain policies such as the rapid suspension process. These teams have years of experience implementing these or similar processes.
The necessary resources will be pulled from the pool of available resources described in detail in the response to Question 31. The following resources are available from those teams:
Development⁄Engineering – 19 employees
Product Management- 4 employees
Customer Support – 12 employees
The resources are more than adequate to support the rights protection mechanisms of the “.ABLE” registry.
30A. Security Policy: provide a summary of the security policy for the proposed registry, including but not limited to:
- indication of any independent assessment reports demonstrating security capabilities, and provisions for periodic independent assessment reports to test security capabilities;
- description of any augmented security levels or capabilities commensurate with the nature of the applied for gTLD string, including the identification of any existing international or industry relevant security standards the applicant commits to following (reference site must be provided);
- list of commitments made to registrants concerning security levels.
To be eligible for a score of 2, answers must also include:
- Evidence of an independent assessment report demonstrating effective security controls (e.g., ISO 27001).
A summary of the above should be no more than 20 pages. Note that the complete security policy for the registry is required to be submitted in accordance with 30(b).
ABLE Inc. (ABLE) and its back-end operator, Neustar, recognize the vital need to secure the systems and the integrity of the data in commercial solutions. The “.ABLE” registry solution will leverage industry-best security practices including the consideration of physical, network, server, and application elements.
Neustar’s approach to information security starts with comprehensive information security policies. These are based on the industry best practices for security including SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), and Center for Internet Security (CIS). Policies are reviewed annually by Neustar’s information security team.
The following is a summary of the security policies that will be used in the “.ABLE” registry, including:
1. Description of independent security assessments
2. Description of security features that are appropriate for “.ABLE”
3. List of commitments made to registrants regarding security levelssecuri
4. Summary of the security policies used in the registry operations
All of the security policies and levels described in this section are appropriate for “.ABLE”.
30.(a).1 Summary of Security Policies
Neustar, Inc. has developed a comprehensive Information Security Program in order to create effective administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for the protection of its information assets, and to comply with Neustarʹs obligations under applicable law, regulations, and contracts. This Program establishes Neustarʹs policies for accessing, collecting, storing, using, transmitting, and protecting electronic, paper, and other records containing sensitive information.
The Program defines:
• The policies for internal users and our clients to ensure the safe, organized and fair use of information resources.
• The rights that can be expected with that use.
• The standards that must be met to effectively comply with policy.
• The responsibilities of the owners, maintainers, and users of Neustar’s information resources.
• Rules and principles used at Neustar to approach information security issues
The following policies are included in the Program:
1. Acceptable Use Policy
The Acceptable Use Policy provides the “rules of behavior” covering all Neustar Associates for using Neustar resources or accessing sensitive information.
2. Information Risk Management Policy
The Information Risk Management Policy describes the requirements for the on-going information security risk management program, including defining roles and responsibilities for conducting and evaluating risk assessments, assessments of technologies used to provide information security and monitoring procedures used to measure policy compliance.
3. Data Protection Policy
The Data Protection Policy provides the requirements for creating, storing, transmitting, disclosing, and disposing of sensitive information, including data classification and labeling requirements, the requirements for data retention. Encryption and related technologies such as digital certificates are also covered under this policy.
4. Third Party Policy
The Third Party Policy provides the requirements for handling service provider contracts, including specifically the vetting process, required contract reviews, and on-going monitoring of service providers for policy compliance.
5. Security Awareness and Training Policy
The Security Awareness and Training Policy provide the requirements for managing the on-going awareness and training program at Neustar. This includes awareness and training activities provided to all Neustar Associates.
6. Incident Response Policy
The Incident Response Policy provides the requirements for reacting to reports of potential security policy violations. This policy defines the necessary steps for identifying and reporting security incidents, remediation of problems, and conducting “lessons learned” post-mortem reviews in order to provide feedback on the effectiveness of this Program. Additionally, this policy contains the requirement for reporting data security breaches to the appropriate authorities and to the public, as required by law, contractual requirements, or regulatory bodies.
7. Physical and Environmental Controls Policy
The Physical and Environment Controls Policy provides the requirements for securely storing sensitive information and the supporting information technology equipment and infrastructure. This policy includes details on the storage of paper records as well as access to computer systems and equipment locations by authorized personnel and visitors.
Neustar supports the right to privacy, including the rights of individuals to control the dissemination and use of personal data that describes them, their personal choices, or life experiences. Neustar supports domestic and international laws and regulations that seek to protect the privacy rights of such individuals.
9. Identity and Access Management Policy
The Identity and Access Management Policy covers user accounts (login ID naming convention, assignment, authoritative source) as well as ID lifecycle (request, approval, creation, use, suspension, deletion, review), including provisions for system⁄application accounts, shared⁄group accounts, guest⁄public accounts, temporary⁄emergency accounts, administrative access, and remote access. This policy also includes the user password policy requirements.
10. Network Security Policy
The Network Security Policy covers aspects of Neustar network infrastructure and the technical controls in place to prevent and detect security policy violations.
11. Platform Security Policy
The Platform Security Policy covers the requirements for configuration management of servers, shared systems, applications, databases, middle-ware, and desktops and laptops owned or operated by Neustar Associates.
12. Mobile Device Security Policy
The Mobile Device Policy covers the requirements specific to mobile devices with information storage or processing capabilities. This policy includes laptop standards, as well as requirements for PDAs, mobile phones, digital cameras and music players, and any other removable device capable of transmitting, processing or storing information.
13. Vulnerability and Threat Management Policy
The Vulnerability and Threat Management Policy provides the requirements for patch management, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, threat management (modeling and monitoring) and the appropriate ties to the Risk Management Policy.
14. Monitoring and Audit Policy
The Monitoring and Audit Policy covers the details regarding which types of computer events to record, how to maintain the logs, and the roles and responsibilities for how to review, monitor, and respond to log information. This policy also includes the requirements for backup, archival, reporting, forensics use, and retention of audit logs.
15. Project and System Development and Maintenance Policy
The System Development and Maintenance Policy covers the minimum security requirements for all software, application, and system development performed by or on behalf of Neustar and the minimum security requirements for maintaining information systems.
30. (a).2 Independent Assessment Reports
Neustar IT Operations is subject to yearly Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Statement on Auditing Standards #70 (SAS70) and ISO audits. Testing of controls implemented by Neustar management in the areas of access to programs and data, change management and IT Operations are subject to testing by both internal and external SOX and SAS70 audit groups. Audit Findings are communicated to process owners, Quality Management Group and Executive Management. Actions are taken to make process adjustments where required and remediation of issues is monitored by internal audit and QM groups.
The External Penetration Test is conducted by a third party on a yearly basis. As authorized by Neustar, the third party performs an external Penetration Test to review potential security weaknesses of network devices and hosts and demonstrate the impact to the environment. The assessment is conducted remotely from the Internet with testing divided into four phases:
• A network survey is performed in order to gain a better knowledge of the network that was being tested
• Vulnerability scanning is initiated with all the hosts that are discovered in the previous phase
• Identification of key systems for further exploitation is conducted
• Exploitation of the identified systems is attempted.
Each phase of the audit is supported by detailed documentation of audit procedures and results. Identified vulnerabilities are classified as high, medium and low risk to facilitate management’s prioritization of remediation efforts. Tactical and strategic recommendations are provided to management supported by reference to industry best practices. Please reference the attached individual assesment reports.
Please reference the confidential individual assessment reports attached to Question 30b.
30.(a).3 Augmented Security Levels and Capabilities
There are no increased security levels specific for “.ABLE”. However, Neustar will provide the same high level of security provided across all of the registries it manages.
A key to Neustar’s Operational success is Neustar’s highly structured operations practices. The standards and governance of these processes:
• Include annual independent review of information security practices
• Include annual external penetration tests by a third party
• Conform to the ISO 9001 standard (Part of Neustar’s ISO-based Quality Management System)
• Are aligned to Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and CoBIT best practices
• Are aligned with all aspects of ISO IEC 17799
• Are in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requirements (audited annually)
• Are focused on continuous process improvement (metrics driven with product scorecards reviewed monthly).
A summary view to Neustar’s security policy in alignment with ISO 17799 can be found in section 30.(a).4 below.
30.(a).4 Commitments and Security Levels
ABLE commits to high security levels that are consistent with the needs of the TLD. These commitments include:
Compliance with High Security Standards
• Security procedures and practices that are in alignment with ISO 17799
• Annual SOC 2 Audits on all critical registry systems
• Annual 3rd Party Penetration Tests
• Annual Sarbanes Oxley Audits
Highly Developed and Document Security Policies
• Compliance with all provisions described in section 30.(a).4 below and in the attached security policy document.
• Resources necessary for providing information security
• Fully documented security policies
• Annual security training for all operations personnel
High Levels of Registry Security
• Multiple redundant data centers
• High Availability Design
• Architecture that includes multiple layers of security
• Diversified firewall and networking hardware vendors
• Multi-factor authentication for accessing registry systems
• Physical security access controls
• A 24x7 manned Network Operations Center that monitors all systems and applications
• A 24x7 manned Security Operations Center that monitors and mitigates DDoS attacks
• DDoS mitigation using traffic scrubbing technologies
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