|Parked Domain %:||83.33 %|
|Delegation:||04 May 2016|
The following is excerpted from the applicant's response to question #18:
"The .next gTLD will be closely controlled by Next plc (Next) for registration of domain names where information, services and resources of the brand, its affiliates and partners that are associated with the brand will provide an authoritative internet space for its end users. The majority of the anticipated domain name registrations in the .next gTLD will be used in the promotion and communication of the Next brand and its online retail services serving the interest of its end users by providing assurance of brand authenticity.
Next is a UK based retailer offering quality clothing, footwear, accessories and homewares. Next distributes its products through three main channels, a chain with more than 500 stores in the UK and Eire (Ireland), a home shopping catalogue and a website with nearly 3 million active customers. Next also operates an international division with more than 180 stores worldwide and a growing website capability in more than 45 countries. In this regard, customer trust, brand recognition and continuous innovation are paramount considerations in all of its business activities.
Since the inception of the current domain name system, business activities conducted on the internet are constantly changing and evolving with increased complexity. The volume of commercial transactions conducted over the internet is constantly growing and bringing benefits of simplicity and lowered transaction costs to businesses and consumers. However, at the same time, criminal activities over the internet including data breach, hacking and phishing activities have also become more sophisticated resulting in loss of consumer confidence beyond mere monetary harm. The introduction of the .next gTLD seeks to promote greater user confidence in the security of its transactions with Next, particularly the online retail services operations. The .next gTLD will allow for greater brand recognition and assurance of brand authenticity for Next customers and internet users.
Next’s mission and purpose of the proposed new gTLD share ICANN’s initiatives to promote public interest. Next is committed to contribute towards achieving such initiatives in line with ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, which includes:
- consumer trust: the .next gTLD registry will be operated in a centralised manner with a restrictive registration policy. Registration of domain names will only be available to Next and its affiliate entities, at this stage, which will provide added consumer trust that .next domain names are trustworthy. As .next domain names are subject to registration standards, policies and procedures under Next’s control, this eliminates the possibility of malicious conduct within the .next domain space and promotes the authenticity of the Next brand;
- competition: the proposed new gTLD is not intended to instigate competition and consumer choice, at the lelvel of registration of domain names among prospective registrants. Instead it is anticipated to contribute to such initiatives through its operation focussed on promoting consumer trust. Increased trust in the .next gTLD will drive existing and new top level domain (TLD) registry operators to make improvements in mechanisms to improve consumer trust of their TLDs; and
- consumer choice: the proposed new gTLD will enable user-driven improvements and innovations assisting Next’s marketing efforts through its ability to create new second and third level domain names on demand. These names will provide the consumers with more choices for interacting with Next. As Next has effective control over the registration and use of domain names under .next domain space, this will also contribute towards general service innovations on the internet.
Given the restricted nature of the .next gTLD, the projected number of registration is likely to be limited. It is anticipated that 100 to 200 registrations will occur in the initial implementation period over the next 3 years, as Next develops and applies its services and marketing campaigns to operate under the new .next gTLD.
As the new .next gTLD expands and evolves, Next will continue to comply with all operational, technical and policy requirements, as well as maintaining consumer trust and the stability of the internet. Next will keep ICANN reasonably informed of any material developments relating to .next gTLD including compliance with the continued operations instrument obligations as set out in Specification 8 of the Registry Agreement."