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Status: Withdrawn
Registry Provider: Neustar
Type: Brand TLD
Priority #: 880 - Safeway Inc.

More information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.vons was a Brand TLD that was proposed in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The applicant was Safeway Inc.[1]

Safeway withdrew its application for .vons in September 2014 along with the other three New TLDs the company had applied for; .safeway, .justforu and .grocery.[2]

Application Details

The following is excerpted from the applicant's resposne to question #18:

"Safeway Inc. (ʺSafewayʺ) is one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America. As of December 31, 2011, the company operated 1,678 stores in the Western, Southwestern, Rocky Mountain, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States and in western Canada. Safeway content is accessible in multiple TLDs, including the .BIZ, .COM, .INFO, .NET, and .ORG gTLDs, and the .CA, .CO.UK, and .US ccTLDs.

VONS, a division of Safeway, began as a 20-foot wide neighborhood store in downtown Los Angeles that catered to the needs of local families. Its founder, Charles Von der Ahe pioneered ʺcash and carryʺ as an alternative to ʺcharge and deliveryʺ. VONSʹ growth and innovation over the years has been non-stop. Thanks to the introduction of pre-packaged perishables, VONS was able to offer some of the first self-service produce, meat and deli departments. This milestone marked the advent of the first true supermarkets as we know them today. The most explosive growth occurred during the 1970ʹs when VONS branched out to 159 stores with 16,000 employees, making it firmly the #1 grocery retailer in Southern California.

Today the VONS operation, which includes Pavilions stores, is now a part of the Safeway family of companies. VONS stretches from San Diego to Fresno, from Clark County, Nevada to the Pacific. Its 325 stores serve millions of Southern Californians and Nevadans. The marketing area that Vons covers comprises some of the most affluent, forward thinking, culturally mixed communities in the U.S. The VONS business strategy has always been to provide for the needs of these communities with the highest quality meat and produce at competitive prices.

Safeway will analyze and evaluate other .BRAND gTLD applications as well as general market adoption to determine short- and long-term potential best-in-class use case options to more effectively service and enhance its online strategy. Safewayʹs current operating strategy is to provide outstanding value to consumers by offering a unique shopping experience in its stores and online, with a wide selection of high quality products at low, everyday prices and attractive Club Card specials. Safeway is also taking a brand management approach to building high quality proprietary Consumer brands with significant innovation and new product development work.

The intended future mission and purpose of the .VONS gTLD is to serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace provided by Safeway and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates for consumers. Safeway will be the entity to bring the .VONS gTLD to market and is also applying for .SAFEWAY, .JUSTFORU, and .GROCERY (“Safeway Family of gTLDs”).

Although ICANN has not recognized a .BRAND gTLD specification in the current version of the Applicant Guidebook, it is widely anticipated within the brand owner community that this will become a specialty subset of new gTLDs. The .VONS gTLD was planned as a .BRAND gTLD, with the goal of protecting VONSʹ online presence and identity, expanding its marketing and promotional efforts, providing a secure channel for products and information online, and offering a platform on which to consolidate many of the intellectual property activities of VONS. Safeway intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .VONS gTLD to Safeway and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates. This initial use will allow Safeway to establish its operations and achieve full sustainability. This limited distribution, coupled with the other requirements set forth in Specification 9 of the template Registry Agreement, is intended to exempt Safeway from its annual Code of Conduct Compliance requirements."[3]